I often have female clients ask me, “how do I talk to my husband?” I think the real question they’re trying to ask me is, “How can I get my husband to listen to what I am saying?”
It is so frustrating for women when their husbands don’t listen to them. They feel like nags. They feel insignificant. They feel invisible. Most importantly, they don’t feel respected. There are things that women can do to increase the likelihood that their husbands will listen to them. Below are a few suggestions.
1. When you try to talk to your husband, ask him for his undivided attention so that there is no cell phone, laptop, or children there to interrupt the conversation. Multi-tasking is a communication killer for everyone.
2. Make sure that you express yourself in a way that contains no direct criticism. Though it might not often feel that way, men don’t like to disappoint their wives and they feel discouraged more easily than you know. Shame is a painful emotion for men and the criticism of a wife makes them feel badly.
3. Ask your husband to summarize what he thought he heard you say. Ask him if he has any questions. Then ask him what he thinks and feels about what you just said.
4. If you have difficult information to convey to your husband, start and end with a positive note or reasonably good news. Sandwich the difficult news in between the good or positive.
5. If you would like your husband to share more of his thoughts and feelings with you, ask him open questions. These are sentences that start with the words What, When, How and Who. If you start your sentence with the words Are or Did, you will likely get an answer that is yes or no.
6. Be a good listener for him in return.
I must admit, it has been my experience that women are far more comfortable communicating than men are. Over the course of many years I have often asked men why that is so.
Right or wrong, then have explained to me that they feel that their wives often hit them with things that need to be done or fixed before they have a chance to breathe. Some feel their wives only share negative thoughts. Many husbands feel that their wives repeat themselves. And yes, I have explained that women wouldn’t need to repeat themselves if their husbands had been responsive the first time!
You can talk to your husband better by staying well informed on world events.
It’s just more interesting sometimes to have a conversation with somebody about something larger than just the family. Lastly, men report to me that they feel badly when their wives are disappointed in them. They get rid of the guilt by tuning their wives out.