How to Talk So Your Husband Will Listen

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Differences Between Men and Women

Men

  •  A man’s sense of self is defined through his ability to achieve results through success and accomplishment. Achieve goals and prove his competence and feel good about himself.
  • To feel good about themselves, men must achieve goals by themselves.
  • For men, doing things by themselves is a symbol of efficiency, power, and competence.
  • In general, men are more interested in objects and things rather than people and feelings.
  • Men rarely talk about their problems unless they are seeking “expert” advice; asking for help when you can do something yourself is a sign of weakness.
  • Men are more aggressive than women; more combative and territorial.
  • Men’s self-esteem is more career-related.
  • Men feel devastated by failure and financial setbacks; they tend to obsess about money much more than women.
  • Men hate to ask for information because it shows they are failures.

Women

  • Women value love, communication, beauty, and relationships.
  • A woman’s sense of self is defined through their feelings and the quality of their relationships. They spend much time supporting, nurturing, and helping each other. They experience fulfillment through sharing and relating.
  • Personal expression, in clothes and feelings, is very important. Communication is important. Talking, sharing and relating is how a woman feels good about herself.
  • For women, offering help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength; it is a sign of caring to give support.
  • Women are very concerned about issues relating to physical attractiveness; changes in this area can be as difficult for women as changes in a man’s financial status.
  • When men are preoccupied with work or money, women interpret it as rejection.

 Ten Keys to Successful Communication with a Man

So what are some good tips for communicating with men? After all, men are always the last to know when communication is a problem—probably because no one ever tells them.

Give Him Space

One strategy that works well with men is to tell them some thing you want their feedback on and then ask them to think about it for a day before answering. This takes much of the stress and pressure off him to respond immediately—especially to an emotionally charged issue.

Simplify

Learn to simplify the conversation. If you talk to your man like you do your girlfriends, he will just stop listening.

One Topic at a Time, Please

Stick to one topic at a time and let a man know when you’re changing topics. I tell moms to speak in sound bites to their boys. This is probably not bad advice when speaking to men either.

Be Consistent

Consistency is very important when communicating with men.

Say What You Really Mean

Men are much more literal in their conversations than women. For instance when he asks, “What’s wrong ?” and you say, “Nothing,” you might mean, There is a problem, and if you really loved me, you’d stay and ask me more questions. But he takes you at your word and figures you just need some time to yourself to work through your problems like he does. Likely, he will walk away to honor your request, like he would appreciate you doing if the situation were reversed.

Give Him a Problem to Solve

Men love to problem-solve and are often able to disassociate themselves emotionally from the issue under those pretenses. You can get much more cooperation from a man if you present your concerns as a problem that you’d like his help solving. Rather than nagging him about an issue that’s troubling you, say something like, “Honey, I have a problem that I’d really like to get your help with.” He will be much more willing to address the problem under those circumstances.

Get Physical

Since men are action oriented, take a walk or go hiking, play a round of golf, or even drive on a deserted highway together (so he’s not distracted by traffic) when you want to talk with your man. Talk with him while he’s working on a household project or fixing the car (unless he needs to concentrate or is frustrated with what he is doing—remember men generally don’t multitask very well). He will enjoy your company and you can hand him the tools he needs—that is always appreciated!

Get more — Free! e-book — Les & Leslie Parrott's, The Good Fight

Timing Is Everything

If you bombard him with complaints the minute he walks in the door from a hard day at work, he’s not likely to be willing to listen. He needs time to unwind and recharge his batteries.

Fight Fair

 Men forgive easier and are more easily corrected in their behaviors with positive feedback than women are.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

Men and women argue differently. You cannot take to heart much of what a man verbalizes when he is upset. He doesn’t think about what comes out of his mouth, especially in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately for men, women do.

Speak Plainly

Men and women can learn to communicate, but it takes effort and patience from both genders. Help him understand that verbal communication is an important part of the relationship to you.

 

Adapted from How to Talk So Your Husband Will Listen, by Rick Johnson.

Copyright © 2013 Rick Johnson, Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without written permission from Baker Publishing Group

 

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