A general observation that I've seen floated before: that men tend to want to make up for hurting someone by doing something, whereas women generally want to fix it by talking or listening instead. I've posted here before about having conflicts with my wife and being at a loss for words — how to show the right kind of empathy, for example? So I wind up doing something instead... more often than not now, it's something small and stupid. "Busy-work", she calls it when she's upset. But how else to work on my own flooding without stewing in my own negative thoughts?
Our first really serious fight several years ago, and two nights spent away from our house, my wife came home to find some fresh flowers in a vase... and me upstairs, ripping the old caulk out of the shower and re-caulking it. (Hadn't she complained about it before, feeling certain that I wasn't hearing her?)
On the rare occasion we can call time-out on a heated discussion, I'll zip into the other room to make sure the bed is made nice and neat, or tidy up the drawers in the kitchen. (She asks, does that make you feel better about the stupid things you said 15 minutes ago?)
If I wake up somewhere other than next to her in bed, I'll set aside a small breakfast for her and then get right on to cleaning the house. (She's probably stressed and behind on her other stuff... doesn't that show that I care if I take the lead on this?)
Well hey, I don't know if there's a point to this post, other than to share my general thoughts, and see if anyone else has observations, critiques, or stories of their own on this topic. Certainly I'd be curious to know what females think of all this, as they sit and watch their men mow the yard, or help fold the laundry, or whatever.