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Why Husbands and Wives Don’t Listen in a Marriage– and How to Get Them To
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Many complain that their spouse doesn’t (or won’t) listen to them! If you are in that situation too, and you feel that you are often “talking to a brick” wall, you’ll know how frustrating it is. It is even more frustrating when your husband or wife doesn’t seem aware that you’re not getting through to them. They think that they are listening, but they’re not getting the message you’re trying to give them.

Before you begin to think you are going crazy (and that there is something wrong with you) there are several things that you can do to dramatically improve the communication between you and your spouse. Give these a try and see if they don’t suddenly seem to be hearing you better!

Pick your time

People are more or less responsive to receiving messages from others depending on the ‘mental space’ they are in and what is currently holding their attention. When your husband walks in the door after a long day (and their mind is still full of the problems and issues of their work environment), it may not be the right time to confront them with your biggest issues. Also, if they are engrossed in doing something else, it might be unreasonable to expect them to drop everything instantly and really hear what you are saying to them.

You are most likely to get your spouse’s full attention when they are relaxed and their mind is relatively clear of ‘clutter’. Give them a chance to hear you by picking the right time.

Realize it’s not what you say but what they hear

This means that you have to take responsibility for the communication and for hearing you ‘right’. You might want to blame them for not getting the message (or even hearing you at all) but if you do – you lose the game. When you take responsibility for ‘getting through’ to your spouse, you give yourself the opportunity to really understand how they take in information, and your communication will be far more effective as a result.

This is, of course, unless you know that your spouse is intentionally not wanting to hear you. However, even in that case, if you learn to communicate with them better, they are more likely to want to engage in communication back with you.

Don’t push it

Nagging or laboring the point does not help in improving communication. You may be frustrated by the lack of response you are getting. However, rather than being frustrated, use the same energy to figure out effective ways to really get through to them. Frustration will only take you further away from your goal.

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Mary G., Oregon

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