Monday, May 2, 2011

How to talk so husbands will listen: brainstorm session

Communication in marriage--let's put our heads together!

Note: every relationship is different. Our marriages and especially our roles as wife and mother are related, but not identical, to each other. So no hurtful assumptions, "Men always . . . " or "Husbands never . . ."

The best thing for opening communication in my marriage has been family council. Josh and I set aside Sunday evenings to have an open session. Anything can be discussed or planned. Notes are kept. Our basic outline is as follows:
Review the week and journal anything of interest
Review goals and resolutions (week, month, long-term)
Set or revise goals and resolutions
Next week's schedule
How can we help each other next week?
What can we do to help the kids learn?
Additional topics

This helps us in our goal of "being one" in marriage. It gives us a safe space to discuss more difficult issues we may be facing. If anything comes up during the week that might be a hard conversation to have, or if we're struggling to be kind to each other during a discussion, we can always table it for Sunday night by making a note in our journal.

I have one more note, and it echoes Michelle's comment on a former post. NEVER underestimate stress! Your husband may not realize he's stressed until the pressure is off; he might not be aware that stress or even simply being very busy is affecting his moods, or his ability to sleep, or his interest in you or in the children.

Wives, be kind to your husbands! Remember that there are unique burdens they shoulder, and their drives to care for their families and to do good are a gift from God.

Please chime in with your own advice in the comments.


  1. Family council has helped us SO MUCH! And I love how you phrase "how can we help each other?" making it about service instead of "you have to do this for me this week!"
    I'm formulating my own post right now, but we're reroofing this week so I may be a few days ;)
    The main thing I've learned though is to set an example, practice what you preach. If you're telling your husband he spends too much time on his playstation but you're spending just as much time on Facebook, the meaning is lost.

  2. By the way, Mrs Small House is Kris, just using my other google account. Ooops!!!

  3. I find myself talking to my husband when I know he is not ready to listen. He's doing something else or has a plan to get something done. We've had a few discussions about it so now he is aware of it and I'm aware of it. I hate talking to him when I know he's not listening- and I usually know. I'm trying harder to check and make sure he is ready to listen to me. If it's not life or death that I tell him "right now" I ask if it is an okay time and then try to keep it short. If it isn't a good time he's honest and I try not to be annoyed and try to be patient. I also try harder to be ready to listen to him when he needs/wants to tell me something. I'll close my book. I'll tell the kids that daddy and Mommy are talking and ask them to wait. It has helped our relationship to be able to admit that we're not always ready to talk to each other and give each other a break until the timing is better.

  4. Cameron's so good at not showing his stress, it's hard to remember how much pressure he's at every day. I like the idea of having a weekly time set aside to chat about anything random or specific, that's a nice idea.

  5. Maybe 3rd time's the charm? I've posted a comment on this one twice already...
    I found something that has really helped my communication with my husband is to recognize that he's not always ready to listen when I'm ready to talk. Most of what I have to say isn't life or death so I can wait. I get mad when I talk and know he's not listening... but I know he's not so that's kind of silly. He and I have talked about it so he's aware of it now. When he's obviously doing something already- whether it looks important to me or not-I'll say to him, "I'd like to tell you something, do you have time to listen right now?" He'll say "No" -then I have to try not to be frustrated- and a few minutes later he'll ask me what I wanted to say. It saves me repeating things and being frustrated 3 days later when he didn't hear what the plans were for the week. I've also been trying harder to listen when he is ready to talk. I'll put down my book, pause the TV, tell the kids I'm talking to Daddy. Just like it's polite to not answer the phone when you don't have time to talk it's polite to wait until your spouse has "time" to talk. IT really helped that he recognized that I was frustrated that he wasn't listening to me and we talked about it in a non-confrontational way and then we have both been trying to make it so it's not an issue. I recognize he's human and a man and has many more things on his to do list than I do. He recognizes that if he want's a happy wife he should tell me when he's not listening instead of just letting it go and missing what I'm saying because I'll figure it out sooner or later.