While researching for this post, I came across an interesting quote by Danny Silk:
"The Fear of truth, is the great hijacker of communication."
My desire is to help you open wide the doors of heart-felt, free-flowing conversation. Authentic communication for a marriage occurs when both spouses respect each other and are willing to listen and respond to the other's needs.
When you read through my other posts on Happy Marriage 101, you will discover a large volume of suggestions to help you lovingly pry open your husband's heart, which develop strong bridges for effective, honest, and open verbal communication.
Let me briefly share powerful, essential differences, how men and women process information. Note how I add valuable targeted key words which reach his heart although you may not perceive how these are so effective to unlock his mind.
This post has three major sections to assist your journey into his heart, to weave your together into a happy couple and always ward off going to couple's therapy.
1 - Carefully consider these few basic male/female differences to engender healthy talking and active listening of your words:
Women often speak often using the word feel, while men use the word think instead.
To apply another illustration, a woman's language is expressive like art and a man's is more direct like science or math oriented. I am conferring style, not intelligence.
Men create lists or want to "fix" a situation = with an ear to adjust, correct or conquer.
Women easily listen = that is hearing with an ear of sensitivity to the friend who is speaking.
Men typically process one issue at a time and move on.
Women process multiple layers of ideas, and allow those thoughts in your mind to connect to other ideas. You can share your solutions or you express compassion for the person sharing their heart without need to "handle the situation".
Men normally feel pressed to arrive at an agreed upon solution and a plan to execute those steps for completion.
It sounds more convoluted in print as both genders move rapidly towards their desired ends.
So let me oversimplify and illustrate a similar problem presented to first a group of women and then to men.
Imagine a small group of ladies listening to one woman telling a recent negative pain inducing problem. After listening for a while, each woman in the group, thoughtfully smiles, gives hugs to the lady expressing helping her overcome issue or at least, each lady pleasantly agrees, nodding her head. Each woman in the circle is emotionally connected with each other.
On the other hand, in a similar discussion, a small group of men listens to one guy tell of some issues he is having where he was injured. IN their normal behavior, each other man begins to roll up sleeves or pant legs and says one by one "You think that is something, let me tell you about this time …!" Men are competitive and want to one-up the other. By the way, if you observe the first man who shared, he sees the scars and bruises and may nod his approval, as his pain was not as bad as some of the others.
Similar situations, and yet two very different responses. Guess what? They are both RIGHT! It is how men and women process information and deal with issues.
With those male/female distinctions in mind, let's see how to draw your husband into active conversations on topics you feel are necessary to improve your relationship. We will start with reflective questions to him, about you.
2 - Here is a set of questions for you to ask your husband which target and appeal to his male inner being concerning you:
(Sprinkle these questions into your conversations over a month or 6 weeks as an "Oh by the way, I was wondering" helpful format)
1 - Honey, what are four ways I can show you this week, how much I appreciate you?
2 - What are three of your goals or dreams I can help encourage you to accomplish?
3 - Is there any habit I do, which irritates you?
4 - What do you wish I would help you accomplish more often?
5 - What really great place would you like to travel to in the next five years?
6 - If you could spend two weeks doing something exciting, what would that be?
7 - If you started your own business or designed your own app, what would it look like?
8 - Whose one person you want to have a conversation with? And why would you like to talk to him or her?
3 - Ask these probing questions to dig a bit into his mind:
a - Honey, I need your advice on something, tell me what you think about …
What would you like him to help you overcome, work out, conquer, or resolve? Then lay it on his heart to consider how to serve you in this manner.
b - This you need to set up with a good friend of yours you share some personal info with.
Imagine what topic you would like to discuss with your husband which you will get feedback from your friend first? By the way, this is not to share your secret problems with your friend. That is never a good idea. If you are having problems and want to get help, seek out couples counseling or couples' therapy. Start the conversation with your good friend on the topic you chose.
However, let me suggest you start with a soft, easy question for your friend and to then pose the same idea to your husband: for instance your date nights. Many couples fail to maintain a quality, weekly scheduled date night for just the two of them. Ask your trusted friend how often and what sort of dates they have?
Then you can honestly talk to your husband and follow with this question: I was talking with my friend ______, about how they (subject - dating, getting away from the kids for a weekend, how to handle an issue, …) and I want to get your input as well."
Depending on how good your relationship is with your husband, you can start off on the surface and rapidly or gently, get deeper into the subject to draw your husband out for conversation. If you two talk about surface things such as work, kids, vacations, you might start to go a bit deeper and encourage your husband to participate in the idea.
You can use this technique to draw your husband into a variety of topics. The key is to use part of your question as I mentioned above "I want to get your input…", or you can say something like "can you give me your opinion about …" or even "I am having trouble deciding on ______, what do you THINK?"
- Do not use "feel" even though that fits your vocabulary, feelings do not tickle your husband's ears.
c - Another approach is you can ask him outright, "Honey, is there something we should talk about that you think I am not open to discussing?"
d - Gather some thoughts you have when you think about your husband:
Ask yourself, what do I value about my husband?
Then lovingly share with him "Honey, May I tell you a couple ways I value you as my husband?" Convey to him a few items from your list. Again, you can save some of the ideas you formed on this special list, to text him or write notes on the mirrors of how why you respect him as your husband.
Apply these three delightful ideas which reach your husband's heart and open incredible honest communication with him. Your husband most likely does not use active verbal communication as you do. Several of my posts here at Happy Marriage 101 are written to assist you in probing into his heart and mind.
Effective communication where mutual respect is practiced you can become a healthy couple. And avoid marriage counseling to establish a happy married life.
Get in touch with my wife & me with personal subjects where you want some suggestions.
When you feel an issue is rising in your marriage, shoot me an email at PepUpYourMarriage@hotmail.com
Your friend and relationship coach - Jerry Stumpf
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