How can I get my husband to talk to me?

Our first question is from Shelley. Shelly says: “My husband hardly ever talks to me anymore, at least not about anything meaningful. I feel like I’m the one doing all the talking. How can I get him to open up?”

First of all, Shelly, I can totally feel your pain because I know how important it is to have that connection with your husband and when he shuts down and when you feel like he’s not communicating, that can be really scary. The advice I’m going to give you is this: If you want your husband to talk more, you may need to talk less.

What that looks is, you ask your husband a question: “Michael, where do you want to go on vacation?” and then you need to give him time to answer. Because men actually commit to an answer. When they’re asked a question, they think about it. A lot of times as women, I know myself, I’ll just throw any old answer out there, because I know if I change my mind that’s fine. We change our mind a lot. Men literally commit to an answer so they don’t just throw any old thing out there. This causes a lot of confusion and frustration, but I’m going to let Michael say a little bit more about that from a man’s point of view.

Michael: Yeah. I think when I’ve been reluctant to share my thoughts it’s because I’ve felt some time pressure. I either was going to be rushed into an answer and not really have time to formulate an opinion or to consider the question. Or, I start talking and right away I get some feedback that interrupts my train of thought. Once you ask us a question, we really do commit to answer your question, so you need to let us do that in a way that works for us.

Sometimes, Bette will ask me a question, I’ll need to think about it; she lets me ponder that and gives me some time to think; doesn’t prompt, doesn’t suggest an answer, And, then I’ll think about the question; I’ll answer the question. If I need to think some more…

Bette: Yeah, I try… I really try to but it’s so unnatural. I have to really be conscious of it because it is not what comes naturally, but I know it helps tremendously.

So, Shelly, I hope that helps you. If you have questions or comments, please go to our Contact page and “Suggest a 'Love Notes' Topic or Question.”