We at Good Husbanding really believe in Communication. We talk about it in almost every article on here. The real question is – what does communication mean? It is not just letting her talk, or deciphering what she is trying to say. Communication also means that YOU have to talk, and help her decipher what YOU mean.
Communication is a game of Catch. You either have the ball to toss to the other person, or you have to wait to catch the ball. Too many times, husbands just sit and try to avoid what his wife is tossing his way – not passing anything back in the form of a response or indication that he’s listening. If you don’t get a good volley going, the other person has to go find other things to toss… Suddenly, random things get tossed harder and faster until she’s slinging whatever she can at your face to get you to pay attention. Sound familiar? It’s probably because you weren’t paying attention to her ‘riveting story’. Save your wife’s throwing arm – and your face. Toss something back! Acknowledge that you heard what she said. Don’t leave her hanging.
As with most games of catch, if you’re out of practice, you miss things. This is where “Catch” becomes “chase after whatever was just thrown, pick it up, and toss it back – hoping the other person can catch things better than you can”. These are the times when most people just tune out of the conversation and give a series of grunts, sighs, and nods. Sure, it may seem to get through the conversation, but it’s not communicating – you’re not playing Catch anymore. The only way you’re going to get better is if you chase after the ball and toss it back. It is really okay to ask your wife “What does that mean?” or say “I don’t understand what you just said.” You may be afraid that if you ask these questions, she’ll get mad at you and start throwing things at your face again. I promise you – if you are truly letting her know that you are making an effort to understand and communicate with her, she will cut you some slack and break things down for you.
In order to show that you are truly listening, ask specific questions. “Huh?” is NOT a question. “Why did you say that to them?” or “What did they do when you did that?” are specific questions. This is going to take practice. You need to be in the game for this to work. Chase after what she’s throwing – toss it back (gently) and be prepared for her next throw. Make eye contact with her to show her that you are listening. Don’t look at your phone, or the monitor, or the TV, or a book. Look at HER.
With that in mind – there may be times when you are in the middle of something, and really are not in a position to pay attention to her. Let her know that. “Honey, I want to hear your story, but I’m in the middle of this thing. Can you give me 5 minutes?” is totally acceptable – as long as you actually talk to her in 5 minutes. Set an expectation and meet it.
If you maintain constant communication with your spouse, your relationship will get stronger – and there are always benefits to that. 😉
About the Author: Abby Dryer's goal in life is to bridge the communication gap between men and women. She finds herself giving lots of marital advice to her guy friends whose wives don’t want to have to explain *everything* to their husbands. “Women are hard to understand. I’m a woman, and *I* don’t even get us sometimes! Goodhusbanding is a great guide to help men understand their women, and hopefully communicate with a little more confidence, because that’s what works… communication!”