Whenever my wife would come to me with a problem, whether it was a "fix something around the house," or a personal issue, I went straight into "fix it" mode, because I'm a guy, and that's just what we do - we fix things!
Unbeknownst to me, sometimes when she came to me with a problem, she didn't want me to fix anything - she just wanted me to listen. However, I couldn't tell the difference between when she wanted me to act or when she just wanted me to listen. So she suggested that I simply ask her.
So now when she comes to me with a problem, the first thing I ask is "is this a fix-it problem or a 'listen to' problem?" And she tells me. I either help fix it or I give her my undivided attention and listen to her as long as she needs.
It has helped a lot with these specific communications. We met when I was already 41 years old, and while old dogs can learn new tricks, sometimes all we need is simple instructions and a reminder!
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