Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of David Murrow's book, What Your Husband Isn't Telling You: A Guided Tour of a Man's Body, Soul, and Spirit (Bethany House, 2012).

Your husband has a lot going on inside his mind. But you may not know much about it, because many men are unwilling or unable to express their thoughts and feelings openly and honestly to their wives. Instead, they communicate in ways they think will protect them from pain, hoping to get what they want in marriage while sabotaging that goal with ineffective communication.

Here’s how you can discover what your husband isn’t telling you and respond in ways that will strengthen your marriage:

Start with prayer. Jesus promises that when you know the truth, the truth will set you free. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the wisdom you need to understand and relate to your husband well. Pray also for the compassion you need to appreciate how hard it is for your husband to deal with a barrage of pressures and temptations every day while trying to live faithfully in his relationships with God, you, and others. Ask God to help you view your husband from the right perspective every day.

Understand your husband’s need to provide. All men derive joy from providing for their family’s financial needs, and if they can’t do so, they become frustrated and depressed. Your husband needs to feel secure and balanced as a protector. If this role is underdeveloped in his life, he can become a lazy slacker. If it’s overdeveloped, he can become a workaholic or a person who is greedy or stingy. Realize that your husband may be struggling with how to best provide for you, figuring out issues such as: how much to work and how much to rest, what to spend and what to save, and what kind of job to choose to balance his need to earn a good income with his desire to follow his dreams. In the process, your husband must deal with fear that his job will be eliminated, his skills will atrophy, or his contributions will be unwanted.

Understand your husband’s need to protect. Men have a strong need to protect themselves, their loved ones, their honor, and their property. Your husband needs to feel secure and balanced as a provider. If this role is underdeveloped in his life, he can become cowardly or passive. If it’s overdeveloped, he can become defensive, controlling, or emotionally remote. Realize that your husband is dealing with the effects of childhood pain that he must identify, confess, and pursue healing from so he can stop trying to protect himself and use his energy to protect you and others, as God intends.

Understand his need to be needed. Society often gives the men the message that their contributions aren’t really needed, and that’s incredibly discouraging to men. If your husband is feeling as if he’s not needed, he may be drawn toward unhealthy coping methods like addiction (to alcohol, video games, or something else that numbs his pain), pornography, passive or antisocial behavior, or even suicide.

Understand the male brain. Men tend to think about the different aspects of their lives in a compartmentalized way rather than holistically, as women do. Since men don’t multitask well, they feel pressured by the demands of modern life. Your husband needs peace and quiet at home to rest from the pressures he faces every day.

Understand how testosterone affects your husband. The testosterone hormone makes men driven, aggressive, competitive, and strongly interested in sex. Younger men have higher testosterone levels than older men do. Realize that, as your husband ages, he will likely feel badly about the changes that less testosterone brings to his life (from experiencing less physical energy and stamina to feeling less motivated). Encourage him by showing him that you still see him as a competent and strong man.