How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You
- Friday, November 15, 2013
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Bob and Cheryl Moeller's new book, Getting Your Husband to Talk to You: Secrets to Helping Him Share His Heart (Harvest House, 2013).
Do you wish your husband would talk to you more about his thoughts and feelings? If so, you’re not alone. Many wives are frustrated by a lack of good conversations with their husbands, since men tend to talk less than women do. But men do talk, and there’s hope for you to start enjoying better discussions with your husband – once you learn how God wants you to encourage your husband to open up to you.
Here’s how you can get your husband to talk to you:
Keep in mind that talking isn’t a matter of ability, but of opportunities. The cultural image of a strong, silent man who doesn’t know how to talk to women is a myth. Even if your husband seems impenetrable, he does have the God-given ability to talk well when he feels comfortable doing so. What stops your husband from talking is a lack of the right opportunities to open up to you. He may feel uncomfortable talking to you because he believes that you won’t listen to him in loving and respectful ways. Once you figure out how to relate to him differently, however, he’s perfectly capable of talking to you.
Consider the most common reasons why men don’t talk to their wives. Men often don’t talk because: they’re afraid their thoughts and ideas will be criticized and rejected, they don’t believe they’re as verbally skilled as their wives, they’re convinced they’ll lose the conversational exchange, they were taught as boys to shut up or face unpleasant consequences for talking freely, they’re uncomfortable talking about their feelings, they don’t want to appear emotionally weak, or they don’t believe they’ll be listened to well. Ways to address these reasons include: listening with a nonjudgmental and honoring attitude even if you don’t agree with everything your husband says, being patient with him so he has the time and space he needs to figure out and express his feelings and thoughts, focusing on understanding him rather than on winning arguments with him, accepting him unconditionally, and responding to his emotional pain with physical affection (rather than words) that will encourage him to process that pain and pursue the healing that God offers him.
Avoid the most common mistakes wives make trying to get their husbands to talk. The mistakes that wives often make include: pressuring their husbands for an immediate response to their questions; assuming men enjoy conversations just as much as they do; failing to understand that men talk as a result of an activity, whereas women see talking as the activity itself; interrupting, evaluating, or criticizing their husbands’ thoughts as soon as he shares them; and becoming uncomfortable with dead air during conversations and trying to fill the awkward silence. Ways to avoid these mistakes include: giving your husband time and space to walk through his thoughts rather than trying to force him to answer your questions right away, talking with your husband when the two of you are doing an activity together that he enjoys (such as eating a meal or taking a walk), being patient and accepting when your husband risks sharing his thoughts and feelings with you, and listening to your husband more than you talk to him.
Ask your husband seven key questions that encourage him to talk. Since men enjoy talking about what they know or do best, ask your husband: “What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?”. Since men like to talk about their core values, ask your husband: “Who is the one person you admire most and why?”. Since men need respect and enjoy talking about times when they’ve felt respected, ask your husband: “What the best compliment anyone ever paid you?”. Since it’s important for you to discover what love language your husband speaks (so you can express your love in that way, which will encourage him to open up to you), ask your husband: “Growing up, who made you feel the most loved, and why?”. Since men consider their legacies to be important, ask your husband: “What would you most like to be remembered for?”. Since men like to talk about their dreams and aspirations, ask your husband: “If you could spend the rest of your life doing what you enjoy most, what would that be?”. Since men need serenity and enjoy talking about times when they’ve felt at peace, ask your husband: “Tell me about two or three of the best days of your life.”
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