“All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest–never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principle of equal partnership.” –Ann Landers
Gender conflicts have always plagued men. Women and men are different, and modern marriages present new challenges.
Miscommunication is a leading cause conflict and divorce, so learning how to talk to your wife is necessary for a happy and successful marriage.
Talking to your wife might seem easy, but if you get it wrong, it can mean a life of strive instead of a peaceful home.
The Difference Between Results and Relationships
Men and women think differently. That is a basic fact of life.
Understanding these differences can bring reconciliation to your marriage and improve communication with your wife.
Men are action oriented. They like to have a task with clear parameters and processes. Men enjoy following a step by step process that is consistent every time the task comes up. They look at work in this manner, and also at their relationships. It is often said that men operate on only two planes. They are either on or off, engaged or disengaged.
Women are more like control panels with dozens of switches and dials. What works one day may not work the next. This often frustrates result-oriented men.
Understanding this difference can help lower the frustration of how to talk to your wife.
Women are relationship oriented. The journey is more important than the destination.
Women like to talk for the sake of talking, not necessarily in order to bring resolution to a situation.
This frustrates men, who feel the need to fix the problem that is being discussed. Understanding what your wife wants can lead to better understanding and more effective communication. If you are unsure of what she wants, just ask her what she is looking for. If she just wants a listening ear, she’ll let you know.
Plugging into Her Interests
Everybody wants to feel valued, and this is an especially important part of any marital relationship. Years of togetherness can make spouses lazy.
Don’t let this get in the way of effective communication. One of best ways to talk to your wife is to find out about the hobbies and causes that interest her. Ask her about what she is doing and what is going on in her life.
While her hobbies might not interest you, your wife does interest you. So talk to her about the things that she cares about.
You don’t need to take up sewing or protest for human rights, but at least learn enough about it so that you can talk about human rights and sewing.
When Talking to Your Wife, Timing Is Everything
Women multitask a lot. This is great for your wife’s productivity, but lousy for your marriage’s communication.
Casual conversation can fit into a busy schedule, but the important subjects should be kept for times when she can focus more. If the kids are noisy, the bills need to paid, or dinner in burning, it’s unlikely that you will be able to talk to your wife.
Wait until the timing is better. It can also help to pitch in to ease her burden so that she’ll be more available later.
Knowing the Difference Between Communication vs. Control
A healthy marriage is built on the principle that both partners hold equal consideration. This doesn’t mean that you both have the same jobs. Traditional marriage roles can be healthy in a home.
But if you’re using position or clout to have a heavy hand, that isn’t the best way to nurture the relationship. When you talk to your wife, you shouldn’t go into the experience expecting that your opinion will always rule supreme.
That isn’t communication.
It’s control, and controlling relationships can be dangerous to families and children. If your wife knows that you care about her opinion, she will much more open when you talk to her about any subject, whether it’s casual or serious.
What about Intimacy?
Besides money and children, sex is the biggest factor that influences the quality of a relationship. Talking to your wife about sex can be sensitive. Have a good understanding of the issue before ever broaching the subject with your wife.
Most women don’t understand the value that a healthy sex life has for a man. This doesn’t mean they are jerks.
It does mean, however, that you have to tread carefully until you have reached an understanding. With men, sex is the way that they experience bonding and emotional connection. Women do not need that physical bond near as much.
Emotional closeness and other areas of the relationship are more valuable to a woman.
But each partner can learn to give and take to make sure that the other’s needs are met. Discussing this with your wife should be done when the relationship is healthy and no other issues are present. Timing is important here.
Don’t place blame on any one person, but rather, seek to find common ground and a point of understanding with your wife.
Dos and Don’ts of Talking to Your Wife
While it can seem complicated, keeping a basic list of dos and don’ts on hand can give you a good point of reference if you find yourself struggling to talk to your wife effectively.
- Don’t treat her like your child. You are a partner, not a parent.
- Don’t use threats to get your way.
- Don’t try to talk to her when the children are active or she is busy.
- Focus on what you have in common.
- Spend time remembering the positive parts of your relationship.
- Be considerate in general and communication will come easier.
- Don’t try to fix everything.\
- Pick your battles. Be willing to let some things go that aren’t really important to the bigger picture.
The Emotional Bank Account
When a couple gets to the point where they seek counseling, there are many tricks and techniques that the counselor has up their sleeve. While you can certainly pay to have someone help you talk to your wife, you can also learn these things on your own.
One common counseling tool is explaining the principle of the emotional bank account. This theory states that every person has an internal measure of the value of a relationship in their life. For each positive interaction, a deposit is made. Each time something troublesome happens, an emotional withdrawal is made. When the account is in the red, problems occur.
Healthy relationships have emotional bank accounts that stay in the black.
Keep this in mind when you talk to your wife.
Your goal should be to fill that emotional bank with warm fuzzies as much as possible.
This can include helping around the house, being a good provider, caring for children, or being emotionally available. If you anticipate needing to discuss a sensitive subject, take extra time to make deposits in your wife’s emotional account to make up for the possible impact of a sensitive discussion.
Talking to your wife isn’t always easy. If it were, marriages wouldn’t end in divorce.
Even so, by taking the time to understand gender differences and how they contribute to marital relationships, you can find techniques and tools that will ensure that you have healthy and frequent communication with your wife.