Let’s Not Talk About It! Part 1 of Resolution Solutions
There’s no faster way to get a woman to open up…
… or a man to shut down…
…than these 2 little words.
Although both are created to be relational, women typically are more verbal than men. Conversing is one of the ways women bond with other women, but we make a terrible assumption if we think this is the best way to connect with our men.
Yes, precious wife, I share your frustration. I have a communications degree and still don’t always know how to get my husband to talk.
Herein lays the problem. I can’t force my husband to do or say anything. Pressing him to talk is disrespectful, ineffective, and uncomfortable.
Don’t despair, dear lady friend! When in doubt, go to God. Jesus offers us the best advice: put love in action. Often, this means closing my mouth and opening my heart.
Let’s walk through this – why scheduling conversations and following a pre-scripted formula hurts marital intimacy, the motivation behind wanting to communicate, and building a deeper connection.
Why Schedules and Formulas Hurt Marital Intimacy
1) Men don’t want to talk; they want to do.
While talking may be an “activity” for a woman, men often don’t want the only “activity” to be talking. This is why my husband prefers having a conversation while driving or walking. Your husband probably feels more comfortable talking if he’s also doing something with you. The last thing you want to do is create a situation where your husband feels ashamed because he can’t measure up, or trapped because he has to open up and doesn’t know what to say. This creates disconnect where you wanted to connect.
2) Fixing (doing) and talking (communicating) are two very different things.
When couples have an issue in marriage, the wife typically wants to talk and the man wants to fix it. You can talk forever and your husband still won’t understand. Similarly, the man can try to “fix” the situation and never make a difference. Neither is more important than the other, but recognize there’s a difference between taking action (completing/ participating in a task, deed, or motion) and communicating (imparting knowledge/information).
3) Forcing him to talk the way you talk isn’t healthy or helpful.
My husband often says in 3 words what I say in 10. Men don’t typically want to share every little detail about their day or their feelings. Asking him questions to get more details isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but remember he doesn’t need to communicate in the same way you do. Appreciate your man’s communication style and work with it, not against it.
4) What works for my marriage won’t necessarily work for yours, and vice versa.
I often advocate involving a third party when marital problems arise. Those with more experience, both professionally and personally, often offer great guidance. However, you can’t approach your spouse like a therapy session. Reading all the books in the marriage section isn’t going to improve your communication. You know best how to communicate with your spouse. While there’s nothing wrong with reading marriage books, talking to professionals, or wanting to implement suggestions I offer, ultimately, you know your husband. You know what he likes and dislikes, when he feels most comfortable or uncomfortable, what he needs, and how he likes to communicate.
5) Communication with your husband isn’t a chore.
Your husband isn’t a robot. He’s a dynamic individual. Memorizing communication techniques and tips isn’t going to improve the “communication situation” because most likely you’ll be thinking about those things in your head while talking with your husband instead of focusing on loving him. Listen to when your husband wants to initiate conversation. Pay attention to when and where he feels most comfortable.
What’s Your Root Desire?
Most likely, if you desire improved communication, you desire the intimate connection with your husband more. While it’s true that I experience my husband’s love when he talks with me, I experience the depth of his love through what he does for me and with me.
Jesus says in John 13:35, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Jesus never forced a conversation. Jesus never approached someone with a list of things to say. Jesus loved others through His actions – by listening, caring, eating meals, walking, traveling, healing, working alongside, and serving.
Skip the “Let’s Talk” Moment
What should we do instead?
1. Focus on nonverbal communication through physical touch.
When you physically touch your husband, you communicate acceptance, affirmation, and affection. Physical touch can be shown in a variety of ways such as starting each day with a kiss, embracing, holding his hand, helping him dress or undress, and snuggling.
2. Focus on nonverbal communication through sexual touch.
When you make sex a priority in your marriage, you communicate to your husband that you find him attractive, you desire him, and you need him. Sexual touch includes kissing him passionately, massaging his body, and moving his hands where you want them in addition to intercourse.
3. Focus on nonverbal communication through doing an activity together.
Spending time with your husband communicates your love and offers him relaxation, rejuvenation, pleasure, joy, and even sometimes comfort and healing.
Last Friday night, Adam was feeling stressed so I stopped what I was doing and stretched out on the couch to watch our favorite TV program. We cuddled and kissed, and by the end of 45 minutes, without me having to say a word, he was feeling much better.
Spend time with your guy by playing a game, snuggling while watching a movie, exercising, reading, cooking a meal, playing a sport, dancing, doing a project, or creating art.
Choose to Be Connected
Communication is important in a marriage, but forcing a conversation or following a formula won’t improve your intimate connection. Forget precise timing and perfect techniques. Let the conversation grow out of the time you spend together and your nonverbal communication. Resolve to actively love your husband through intimate connection in this New Year!
The solution to staying motivated and keeping your resolutions is relationship with God, spouse, and self. This post is Part 1, Priority #3b – Improving Intimate Connection, not Just Communication in marriage. Come back next Monday for Part 2, Priority #3a – Do You Want a REAL Marriage?