You’re sitting together on the couch and your husband is watching his favorite TV show. You’re trying to have an important conversation with him, but he just doesn’t seem to care what you have to say. He’s lost in his own little world.
Maybe there are a variety of different scenarios in which you feel like you’re trying to communicate with him, but he just never seems interested in your feelings. It hurts. I know.
I can guarantee that basically every woman has felt this way in her relationship/marriage at least once. It seems to be a very common thing actually. Men are pretty much known these days for being horrible listeners. Then, because they aren’t listening, we get on them about things and come across as a nagger/complainer.
It feels like we just can’t win right?
What if I told you that there are ways to get better communication with our men, no matter how impossible it may seem?
What if you could get your husband to WANT to listen help out with the things that you ask him to do? Or to sit and engage with you in conversation more?
He Does Care For You
Firstly, I want to put the reminder out there that if you and your husband are in a relationship where you both have mutual love for each other, but this has become an issue over time, know that he DOES care for you. Whether it may look like it or not.
It is in our nature as women to want to feel cared for and loved. We feel loved when our men listen, hold us, protect us and cherish us. And when they are not doing those things, we perceive it as them not loving us. And I will be the first to admit that there have been many times when I haven’t felt loved, so I start to pull away and get sad and angry. My pride clearly loves to take over during those times. In my mind I would think “Well, if he wants to act like that, then I won’t even bother trying, he doesn’t care anyway”, or if he’d try talking to me, I’d show with my actions that I am angry with him.
Can you see either of these ways of responding as a healthy solution to the problem? Yeah, me neither. But, if I were to change, and respond differently, wouldn’t that just be better for him? What would I get out of it? Well, let’s look a little deeper at what is going on.
He Could Be Stressed Out
Instead of putting the blame on us, by saying that he’s not listening because he doesn’t care for you, let’s try a different approach.
One thing I have learned from my husband over these years is that men process stress differently than women. They tend to need time to themselves to process their emotions in a healthy way. A lot of us women are wired in a way where we need to talk out our feelings in order to get through them. So naturally, we expect everyone else to do the same.
He could be dealing with a ton of stress at work, trying to handle the pressure of providing for his family, worrying about being a good husband and/or father, and maybe hasn’t been getting proper sleep. Imagine going through all of those things, but never talking to anyone about them, trying to push through everyday without acknowledging the issues at hand. Just trying to stay strong for the people around you.
Personally, I would go insane. Once I realized everything that my husband has had on his plate while still trying to be the rock in our home, I really started gaining a better appreciation for him and what he does, which was slowly helping me see things differently.
He May Have No Idea What You Actually Need
What do I mean by this? Well, another nifty thing that I learned from my husband is that, men don’t always know HOW we want them to listen. There were times where I would sit and talk to my husband about something that happened to me, and he wouldn’t say much in response. I thought he just never had any interest in what I had to say. But, after talking with him about it, I found out that he was always listening, but he didn’t know that I needed any sort of response from him. He thought he was doing the right thing by letting me vent. Or he would try to find a solution for the issue, rather than just being there and comforting me like I wanted him to.
Maybe you’re in a situation where your husband barely ever makes eye contact with you when you are speaking. He just seems to be wrapped up in his work or what is on the television. He may still be hearing every word you are saying, but because he is not giving you his full attention, it seems like he is not making you a priority.
For me, I need confirmation and reassurance of my feelings on things when I am speaking. But he didn’t know this because I never brought it up to him. This is where we started realizing that we needed to work on our communication. We do things very differently, and have different needs. And that is okay! It’s really good and healthy actually, and gives it’s own little way of glorifying God, which I will get to shortly.
He May Feel Disrespected
Just like how we as women long to feel loved and desired by our husbands, men long to be respected and appreciated by their wives. When we feel a lack of love by our husband, our natural instinct may be to take back our respect. We might go silent when they want to speak with us, put them down, be passive aggressive, or roll our eyes when they’re speaking.
When men feel a lack of respect from their wives, their natural response is usually to get angry. They’re human too, so they do have the right to their feelings. And when you are angry, do you feel like being loving?
You may have been unknowingly treating him in ways that he feels are disrespectful, and has been pulling away as a response. Some things that we may do without realizing could be:
- Telling him what to do/how to do it
- Having a critical spirit and putting him down the things he tries to do
- Joking at his expense
- Complaining about something that he spent time doing for you
- Bringing up past sins that have already been forgiven
- Answering for him
These things can set a man off and make him feel insulted and disrespected.
He May Not Be Ready To Talk About It
Some men, my husband included, need time to think about weighty topics. We tend to want to talk with our husbands RIGHT then and there when something comes to our minds. But a lot of times, men need some time to reflect on what the problem is so that they can respond properly.
There have been times where I would just come out of nowhere trying to have a very important conversation with my husband. It would be in the heat of the moment, and normally it was when I was in the height of my emotions. I would be asking questions and putting him on the spot. He would try to answer, but quickly get stressed out.
He would tell me that he needed some time to think about it. I used to think that he just didn’t want to talk about the problem, so he was trying to put it off. But after bringing it up to him, he explained to me that he legitimately just needs some time to gather his thoughts in those moments.
So, after looking at why he may not be listening, and seeing that it most likely has nothing to do with his lack of love for you, let’s see what can be done about it.
Set Up Appropriate Times for Important Conversations
In the beginning of our relationship, I used to get angry about something that I was thinking about while my then boyfriend was at work. I would immediately text him this text about something he did and why I was upset with him. I would accuse him of things that I wasn’t sure he even did yet. Ladies, DON’T DO THIS. The worst time to start an argument is over the phone because it doesn’t get properly solved. Then he gets stressed out at work, while you’re just building up resentment because he isn’t getting back to you quick enough.
If you want to make sure that your husband is ALL there when you want to have an important conversation, let him know in advance that you’d like to talk with him about something on your heart. Not a demand of “We NEED to talk later” and then leaving him to guess what he did wrong. Instead, invite him in to speak with you. If he has done something that you’re angry about, express your anger to God, and ask Him to help you speak to your husband in love. Then, go for a run, write in a journal, whatever you have to do to have a clear mind when you speak to him.
When it is time to talk, and if he seems distracted, let him know that this talk is important to you and you’d like if he would give you the same courtesy that you are giving to him. No finger pointing, eye-rolling or “see, you ALWAYS do this!”. Again, you want to invite him in for a conversation with you, not demand it. He will be much more likely to respond the way you would like him to if you show respect. (I mean, you wouldn’t want him acting like that with you right?)
Give Him Space
If lately he has been spending all of his time either working or with you during his free time, it might be time to give him some space. He may not say it because he doesn’t want to hurt you, but every man needs his space once in a while just to think and do..nothing! It might not make sense to us, but those times for them are precious.
So, if he seems to be extra quiet lately, or distracted when you try to speak to him, try suggesting that he take some time to watch his favorite show, play a game or whatever it is he likes doing. I guarantee he will appreciate this so much and will come back recharged, ready and WANTING to hear what you have to say.
When I started doing this with my husband, he felt that I respected him and his needs. He would actually include me into his activities and talk with me while playing his games.
So, it may sound counter intuitive to have him go off and do his thing when you want to talk with him, but in reality, it will have him wanting to make you happy in the way you desire in the end without you having to try to get his attention.
Tell Him What You Need
When you’re talking with him, if he is looking at his phone or is barely engaging back with you, now is the time to let him know what makes you feel loved. Now, this is not meant to be an effort to make him feel guilty, and point out everything he has been doing wrong.
Let him know that when he is looking at other things while you are talking, it makes you feel unwanted and not a priority. Use phrases like “I feel that..” instead of “You make me angry when you..”. Having an accusatory tone does nothing but put the other person on the defense. But when we use phrases like the first one, it shows them that we are simply explaining our feelings about something that is happening. He may have no idea that you are feeling hurt by his actions, because it may be something that he’s been doing for years or even grew up doing, and there was never an issue before.
Men love to fix things. Not just tangible things, but I mean everything. They do actually want to fix whatever issue is making you upset. So, if you let them know in a loving, non-accusatory way, they will want to change their behaviors for you because they want to know that they are making their lady happy.
Let Him Know That You Appreciate Him
If you know that you’ve both been at each other a lot lately. Or maybe you’ve been doing some of the things I mentioned earlier that can be a sign of disrespect to a husband. Try telling him what you appreciate about him more often. I know, this can be hard when we’re upset, maybe you don’t feel like he deserves for you to tell him those things right now.
Ask God to help you see your husband through His eyes. I have had to do this quite a few times in the past. I knew there were so many amazing things about him, but during those moments where I was hurt, it was hard to come up with any. But, sure enough, God would give me peace and help me to see my husband in a new light. And now, I take every opportunity I can to let him know how proud I am of him and how much I appreciate everything he does for us.
The more you show him your appreciation and respect, the more he will search for ways to show you love. You may still need to let him know how you would like for him to engage with you during conversations, but going into a talk when both people are feeling loved and appreciated makes communication that much better.
I want to put this out there. I am not condoning acting in certain ways just so that you can get something in return. I believe that marriage should not be 50/50 but 100/100. Giving your all to each other. Not just meeting half way and waiting for the other person to do what you want them to. If we allow God to fill us and meet our needs, then we can pour out our love and respect for each other selflessly.
Like I said in the beginning, I guarantee your husband loves and cares for you very much. You just have different love languages and ways of doing things. This is why communication is SO important. So that you can learn what those things are and respond in ways that will make your marriage stronger, healthier and happier.
I hope you enjoyed reading and were able to get some helpful tips. Thanks so much for stopping by! Don’t forget to subscribe to get updated on new posts and freebies!