Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man.” Iain Duncan Smith
Amen! When my husband doesn’t feel like talking, nothing and no one will change his mind. That said, there are times when I really need his attention, his input and his advice.
Important topics do not always wait for a convenient opportunity. There are inevitably days when as soon as my husband walks in from a long day at work, I simply need to talk to him. There will be times when I need to interrupt his hobby, his movie or his sport. Over the course of ten years, God has taught me five principles that enable me to bend my husband’s ear, even when it seems like a bad time. Even better, God is teaching me how to listen and how to wait, for an answer.
1. If it is an important topic, schedule a time for conversation.
We are facing another military move. Being the responsible homemaker, I began scoping out our options in the new city weeks ago. On a Saturday morning, I popped open my laptop and began showing him all the houses I had bookmarked, giving him detailed statistics on the distance to work, grocery stores and the estimated utility costs. It didn’t go over well.
“Can we talk about this later,” he asked? “I really don’t want to think about it right now.”
Fortunately, my husband was patient with his request. But I knew better. I know that if I want him to discuss something with me, I need to prepare him.
Also, it helps to sometimes schedule talk time that is completely unimportant. It keeps him from dreading the line, “We need to talk.”
2. Don’t take that tone.
Come on ladies, admit it, our tone of voice can be unconsciously altered by our emotions. The only solution is to consciously take it down a notch.
I remember my father telling me, “Abby, I know you’re excited but your voice keeps getting louder and higher. Calm down.”
Minnie Mouse’s voice can be very annoying. A high pitched squeal is enough to get on anyone’s nerves. You will get your point across with much better results by speaking in a lower tone of voice.
3. Just leave.
No, I’m not giving you permission to walk out and never return. But sometimes stopping in the middle of an argument is very effective.
My husband and I disagreed about whether to accept his parents’ invitation to join them at the Grand Canyon. Both of us had valid opinions and refused to relent. Finally, I stood up and grabbed the dog’s leash.
“I’m going for a walk.” Without further adieu, I calmly walked out the door. Usually, I’m the one who pushes and pushes for resolution. In that moment I chose to leave the question unanswered and trust God and time to untangle the situation. When I returned, my husband and I did not pick up where we left off, the subject just became a non-issue for a while. A few days later I heard him on the phone with his parents explaining my own opinion to them and politely declining the invitation.
Of course, stopping mid-argument won’t always persuade my husband to take my side, but whatever the outcome, the peace that rules in our home will be worth the time out.
4. Let him decompress.
Women don’t have “nothing boxes.” That’s the mysterious place your husband enters frequently, where you can ask him what he is thinking or doing and he simply, honestly answers, “Nothing.”
Because we don’t have a nothing box, it’s hard to understand the significance. But ladies, there is no place more sacred to a man. If you really want to engage him in conversation, give him some time in the nothing box, he’ll open up more easily later.
5. Be inquisitive.
Much of what I’ve learned about getting my husband to talk to me involves shutting my mouth. The Bible is clear about the dangers of talking too much. However, this tact for meaningful conversation with your husband allows you to speak first.
I have no interest in video games. My husband loves the historical war games and college football games. Once in a few Saturdays, I put aside my to-do list and join him on the couch. At first, he hardly seems to notice that I’m there, but as soon as I ask about his team’s touchdown, he comes to life, animated and ready to give me a play-by-play of his season.
Another example is his Jeep. I’m not car savvy, but I can put on a hoody and join him leaning over the hood of the car or flipping through, All Things Jeep, in search of a specific gadget. When I show interest in his things, Patrick becomes like an enthusiastic ten-year-old.
Men don’t talk as much as women do, it’s been scientifically documented. But the balance of communication shouldn’t tip too heavily toward the wife, leaving the man to communicate through grunts and body language. Learn to engage your man. Learn how he works and work with him. The benefits are beyond imagination.