Is your husband happy to discuss difficult issues with you? Probably not. But it is not just you. Because all through their childhood, men are socialised to keep their thoughts to themselves. So, your husband probably does not reveal all that much to his male friends either.
And even if he can be persuaded to talk, he probably isn’t as comfortable discussing personal matters as you are.
His perspective on the world is also very different from yours. So do not assume that you understand his point of view. Or assume that he shares yours. Because he probably doesn’t. Men just don’t get subtle hints and suggestions either.
And ‘if he loved me, he would know what I was thinking’ does not apply to men at all. Instead, always be 100 percent clear. He really does not know what you are thinking, so if you want him to know something, come right out and tell him.
And do not wait too long. Because most problems in a marriage get worse rather than better if you do not tackle them.
Open up about a problem
So, if there is something on your mind, start thinking about how to get him talking. Step one is to avoid ambushing him. Because while women feel better once they open up about a problem, for men, it is exactly the reverse.
They need time to sort out their thoughts before they discuss an issue. So, give him plenty of time to think things through. Pressing a man to talk before he is ready rarely works out well.
Instead, set up a meeting. Say something like: ‘I think we should talk about this, that, and the other. Can we sit down together tomorrow evening?’ Agree on the agenda, and he will come prepared. And be less likely to try to wriggle out of the conversation.
Things might still get tense, of course, but do not meet anger with anger or you will both end up yelling and not listening. Instead talk about how the two of you can lower the temperature.
Men often feel that their views are not respected by their partners. So, ask yourself if you tend to give him a hard time in your discussions. Because he will soon stop talking to you if you do. Or start telling you an edited version of the truth, rather than the real thing.
So, work on being less judgmental and easier to talk to. And be really nice to him any time he opens up, especially if he is listening to you without criticising or offering advice. If talking with you is a pleasant experience, he will gradually do it more often. But if you always give him a hard time, he will go on keeping quiet.
By Chris Hart