“It took me five years to learn how to be married,” my friend Jacy, a 32 year old banker who has been married for 12 years, recently confided in me.
“A good marriage demands a lot. From my experience, communication is the only way that will help you to sustain your relationship as time goes on. However, you must make sure you learn how to communicate with your partner,” she adds.
“It may be hard in the beginning, but as time goes on it becomes easier as you spend time together and learn each other’s character,” she encourages.
A common complaint from women is that when they ask their partners, “Is something bothering you?” most men often reply, “I don’t know,” or “Nothing.”
Yet the signs are clear that something is definitely wrong. And of course he knows what it is! But as a matter of fact most men unlike women do not work through problems verbally.
When a woman is facing a difficult issue or trying to sort through her emotions, she will want to talk to a friend about it. Men normally prefer to think through their problems before they talk. If your man is not ready to talk yet, give him time.
If you get contentious with him, he will shut up for good.
Another major challenge in husband–wife communication is that a woman may want to have conversations with her husband that resemble conversations with her girlfriends. This isn’t going to happen. Your husband is a man, and men talk differently.
For instance, men by and large don’t like their choices to be challenged. Women “should” on men a lot, yet most men don’t like to be “should” on.
You can improve the quality of your relationship with your partner if you avoid saying, “You should …..” to your husband. Instead use phrases like, “please …..I was wondering ……..”
Quite frankly, to talk to a man, you need to learn to shut up, be non judgmental, and quit trying to interpret what he means. If you think all this sounds unfair or sexist lets not argue, give it a try and you will confirm what has been suggested.
If you keep judging your man and talk at him instead of with him, it’s only a matter of time until your man shuts up for good. A man is never going to talk if he thinks his wife will put him down.
More so, what you communicate outside your marriage will greatly impact the communication within your marriage. How often does your husband hear something about himself from one of your friends?
If the answer is “never”, you are doing a good job. If the answer is once a month, you are looking for trouble or divorce. As soon as a man suspects that his wife is not trustworthy with what he shares or who he is, the intimacy of that marriage is as good as over.
One of the cruellest things you can do to your man is to spread his secrets around. Also remember that while you may feel a need to talk things through, your husband may view talking as more of an additional burden than a possible cure.
Common blocks to marital conversation include “shoulding” on your husband and betraying his confidence. While it is a natural desire for you to want to communicate more effectively with your husband, don’t try to turn him into your girlfriend. Save some things, such as fashion, to discuss with your friends.