The man speaks to the woman and makes his point. When he is talking, he is simply exchanging info assuming she is doing the same.
She is talking to get closer and assumes he is doing the same. Until you know the possible explanations, this could stymie you.
Exercise: Listen to yourself when you communicate with someone today. When did it go well and when did it not? Are you more masculine or feminine in your communication?
The man hears the woman tell about how horrible her day is. Feeling compassionate, sharing in her pain, he protects her and demonstrates his love for her by solving her problem. She feels misunderstood by his problem solving. She simply wanted him to listen and be there with her.
Does this lead to the kind of passion they want?
Hearing him tell about his day, she demonstrates her interest in him and in their relationship by following up with questions and requesting detail. He feels interrogated and now wants to have some space. She feels rejected and wants to talk about the relationship and he retreats further. Does this lead to an intimate encounter?
The above is from Deb Tannen, PhD, who also notes (I am paraphrasing) that about a third of what people say is just not heard/processed. Maybe a third is heard through the listener’s filter and maybe a third of what the talker said is actually received accurately. Imagine how much is lost in translation.
When you have a challenging conversation, I usually ask couples to stop and ask themselves if it could be an easy, stylistic problem like stereotypical gender communication. Could it be introvert/extravert differences? Are there other style challenges that should not be taken personally? Try those first.
When couples have difficulty talking about sex or being sexual, I usually ask them to consider talking about their understanding of their gender role and responsibility. Oftentimes, they do not see eye to eye about who does what or what the expectations are. Talking about expectations can do a world of good and then follow up with what you prefer from the other person and negotiate a win-win.