The article, written by Deborah Tannen, talks about sex, lies, and conversations that men and women have in a marriage. It was posted on the Washington Post on June 24, 1990. The author begins by asking why married couples find it so hard to communicate with each other. Tannen further asserts that the lack of conversation in marriage has wrecked havoc, thus leading to a high rate of divorce in most American families.
According to Tannen, the lack of conversation between married couples stems from the fact that they hold exceedingly different thoughts and expectations. There is a prevalent discrepancy in terms of expectations and interests, hence leading to diverse topics of communication. The underlying factor, associated with these differences, is the socialization process, through which men and women undergo as they grow up. Men and women have extremely divergent views as regards conversation and communication.
Tannen asserts that from tender age women value the aspect of the conversation as a cornerstone in their lives. During their communication, women share their deepest secrets, feelings and impressions, and build intimate relationships. On the other hand, young boys do not develop intimacy during their conversations. Instead, they tend to be more inclusive and competitive to avoid any form of subordination.
Another significant factor that comes out from Tannen’s article is the way women and men switch topics while conversing. When talking about problems, women tend to be extremely inquisitive. They overlap and interrupt each other, since they are eager to express their points of view. On the other hand, men quickly dismiss each other’s problems, since they feel masculine enough to find solutions on their own.
In conclusion, Tannen advocates for “mechanical engineering” as a solution to the communication problems in marriage. Instead of advancing the blame game of lack of assertiveness on women and lack of intimacy from men, there is a need to understand the gender differences. I think that Tannen’s article raises and address pertinent issues in the institution of marriage. In tandem with the article’s assumptions, I agree with the findings that conversation problems can be solved by understanding the differences and expectations among men and women, hence improving communication.