One of the most common laments I hear from wives during counseling sessions is, “I can’t get my husband to talk to me”. In this article, I want to offer three simple suggestions for husbands: “Do these to begin communicating with your wife.”
Intimate, emotionally-connected conversations with their spouse is one of the most compelling needs that wives have and when they are not getting that, bad things can happen.
In other posts, I have referenced the “Love & Respect” book by Eggerichs, and I want to presume that if you are a husband, and have a willing heart, you will want to learn this important skill. It’s not as difficult as you might expect, but it does take some effort. It’s also important to understand how differently husbands and wives view the topic of conversation.
Most men see conversation as a means to an end: Tell me what the problem is, and I will fix it (or tell you how to fix it. Dealing with household problems is important but conversations with wives need to rise to a higher level.
They view intimate conversation as a means to an end also, but the end is that it meets an emotional need for them that helps build and strengthen the bond. It’s also a pathway to the physical intimacy that husbands are focused on. The bottom line is this: they need to talk, and they have a need for their husbands to listen.
If the lack of communication in the marriage has already caused serious damage, a couple may need competent pastoral/Christian counseling help to move forward. Conversation sessions that lead to angry flare-ups, disrespectful behaviors and dwelling on past mistakes are not helpful.
3 Steps For Husbands To Become Better Communicators
The suggestions for husbands that follow are starting points only. Every successful journey begins with a single step in the right direction.
- Schedule the time
Men are usually good at scheduling meetings and golf matches. Waiting for a good time is not the way to demonstrate openness to your spouse. Carving out time between quarters or innings doesn’t work well either. Conversation time needs to be a priority so making a date out of it is a great way to start. It doesn’t have to involve a great cash outlay but time out of the house at a park, restaurant or coffee shop will work just fine. Take the lead. Pick a date and time. Arrange for babysitting if you need it. Just do it.
- Talk about issues that are important to her
Wives are very good at telling you what’s important to them. Ask questions seek to understand and learn. If you don’t know what’s important, this is a good time to ask. It’s not a time to get defensive or to have an answer at the tip of your tongue. Simply expressing the desire to know her issues, hopes and plans can open the floodgate.
- Listen and don’t try to fix her
Wives frequently just want you to listen to them without trying to be a problem solver. Women fall in love (and more deeply in love) when their husbands take the time to listen and respond to them in conversation.Most of the time, just listening reflectively and not trying to offer up solutions is going to be the best approach.I’m not advocating a robotic script, but simple encouragements such as, “I’m not sure I understand what you are saying, can you elaborate?” or “I understand what you are saying (or feeling), how can I help?”. Be prepared to push yourself to respond in kind. Your wife needs you to be open and honest with her also because this is what builds connectedness for her.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these simple and basic suggestions. Take the leap and give it a try, husbands, and I believe you will be happy with the start.
Stay tuned. The next post is for wives. It will offer suggestions on things they can do to encourage their husband to open up to them.