Marriage Missions International

For Husbands: What You Say and What She Hears

What you say and what your wife hears can be two entirely different things (which you have probably already figured out by now). And what she says and what she means can be two different things also (which you’ve probably figured out also or you wouldn’t be reading this article). It can be truly puzzling and perplexing!

It’s almost as if you’re operating in a different language system from each other. And essentially you are! It’s possible that:

“Your wife has been telling you dozens of things, and most of them have little to do with the words she has been speaking. Since you aren’t a mind reader, you probably feel baffled by the whole thing. But there are secrets to this business of loving and understanding your wife.”

Do you want to know what those “secrets” are?

That’s what writer Kyle Minor would like to help you with, as he aims to clue you in on “14 ways to sharpen your language skills” with your wife so you better understand each other.

The article he writes appeared on the web site for New Man Magazine. To help you in your understanding and to learn some important keys to improve your communication with your wife, click onto the link below:

WHAT YOU SAY, WHAT SHE HEARS

Dr David Stoop wrote a helpful article that husbands and wives should take to heart on this issue of talking to and hearing each other:

THE PERILS OF GIVING ADVICE

— ALSO — 

Paul Byerly, from The-generous-husband.com web site, explains some additional things you may benefit from considering, as far as what you say to your wife. Please read the following article so that what your wife hears you say will not slam her ears shut:

4 WORDS YOU SHOULD NEVER USE WITH YOUR WIFE

If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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3 Responses to “For Husbands: What You Say and What She Hears”
  1. Tony says:

    (USA)  I’m about at the point where I’m just not going to say anything at all. My wife has been on my case about how I don’t comfort her when she’s obviously sad, citing how her son comes over and gives her a hug when he notices she’s sad.

    So I try this a few weeks ago and say I’m sorry she’s having a bad day, and she yells at me telling me it’s not a bad day, but a bad year, in a tone that says, “what kind of idiot are you, can’t you see it’s more than just a bad day?”

    I’m sorry, I’m just going to keep my mouth shut and let her work it out herself if she cannot make it safe for me to do what she “says” she wants. It seems no matter what technique I try, it’s never good enough. There’s never any thanks for trying, or I can see you are trying. It’s always about how I fall short of the mark.

    She walked out yesterday when the marriage counselor told her the same, that I was demonstrating great care for her.

    I think it’s stories just like the one I’ve told that drive men into silence. We may be in trouble for silence, but there is little chance of having our words twisted or mis-interpreted if we simply keep our mouths shut.

    Wives, if you want your husbands to share openly, then make is safe for them to do so. Don’t yell, judge, belittle or complain when he does share. Ask him what he means instead of jumping to conclusions. Otherwise, he’ll simply shut down as you are making it unsafe for him to express his love and concern for you.

    If your husband is shutdown or emotionally closed, don’t assume the defect is his. It’s more likely that if he was open when dating and now closed, you drove him into that cave and he’ll come out when you make a credible case that you are an emotionally safe partner.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Hi Tony, I’m so sorry about the communication problems you’re having with your wife. You’re right in saying that a lot of wives shut their husbands down because they don’t make it “safe” for them to communicate in different ways. I see it happen quite often where a man will step outside of his comfort zone to make an attempt to bridge a communication gap that has been brought to their attention in some way, and/or open up to confess or talk about something important and/or personal, only to be shut down by the wife. This of course, quite often makes them feel defeated and come to the conclusion that they just can’t trust their wife in this way. How sad! I’ve also seen the reverse where the wife makes the attempt only to have her feelings and trust crushed. It definitely goes both ways.

      I have to confess that I didn’t “get it” for so many years (& can still be dense on this at times), but God has been opening my eyes and opening my husband Steve’s eyes so we both are doing SO MUCH better on this aspect of our marriage. It has taken some heroism on both of our parts at times to keep at it when everything inside our heads tell us that we’re fools to keep trying. And yet it’s at those times when we experience real break-throughs in our relationship journey together. There have been times when I have kept trying and trying, thinking to myself that “he will never get it” but knowing I needed to keep trying, only to find that eventually he WILL “get it”… but he needed grace to be given and perseverance to be given on my part to get there. Other times I find out that I was actually the one who didn’t “get it” and all my attempts eventually opened MY eyes to the truth. The reverse has been also true for my husband. How blessed I am that he doesn’t give up on me (& he says the same about me)!

      I say all this to say that you may or may not get to a safe place with your wife in this area of your marriage. It depends upon so many factors. And sometimes it takes years and years of trying before the eyes that needed to be opened will be. But I encourage you to keep asking God to guide you and give you wisdom as to how you can express care where your wife will finally realize that you ARE supportive — to the degree that you can be and that you do love her.

      As a former military person, you know how unsafe some places can be where you need to go and how you still have to find a way to persevere and make it work. If one way won’t work, maybe another way or another day will. Don’t let temporary defeat, cause you to fall back from loving your wife in extravagant ways that exhibit grace at its best — at Christ’s best. Ask God to help you look behind her eyes, to be His colleague in loving her… and help you to reach out in the ways it is possible. And pray for her that eventually she will be able to look behind your eyes and reach out to you in the ways you need it. Pray this, not only for your sake, but especially for hers. She and both of you will miss out on so much if you aren’t able to make your marriage a safe one where BOTH of you are able to be the people God created you to be.

      Again Tony, it took me years and it took my husband Steve years, to finally “get it” — to stop the stinking thinking and hurtful ways in which we treated each other. But eventually we did get it. Thank God, neither of us quit before the getting got good in our communication and our marriage. I pray this for you and your wife.

    • Kwagala says:

      (UGANDA) That is very much true on the side of the men. Sometimes we women do not make it possible for them to get involved in our moody world. A woman is truly a delicate creature and she needs all the attention yet sometimes or most of the times she will not allow that attention to be given to her. Lets say, she comes back home tired and her loving husband asks “Honey, Are you Okay?” That is simple a question but for the woman, it is not caring. In her mind she is like, you see I am not fine and you a asking insteady of cuddling, her answer will be “I am Fine’. After that a man will assume you are fine, yet you are not.

      Women, lets try to make it easier for our dear husbands get involved in our complicated world. Thank you.

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