How do I get my husband to listen to me?
I'm always listening to my husband, but it feels like he never listens to me.
How do I get my husband to listen to me instead of me listening to him all the time?
Thanks for writing. There are many different house of things that may be helpful here. I can give you some general ideas, but if some of these things don't get you to where you would like to go, consider seeing a therapist who specializes in couples:
- Remember that you can only guarantee change in yourself. You can ask him to make changes, but you can't control whether he does or not. You can control your reactions and what you do about your own thoughts, feelings, and actions in the relationship.
- If you're going to talk about something important or you really want him to listen, first ask whether this is a good time.
- Try to talk to him without blaming, finger-pointing, or asking him to change (this can be difficult, but it also opens a lot of doors for effective discussions).
- Be mindful of your packaging. By that, I mean that you may have a very important message that you're trying to get across. If you able to say it in a way that is clear and wrapped in such a way that he can hear what you're actually saying, that is helpful. If you are talking in ways that are angry, or as I sometimes say, wrapped in spikes, that can be difficult to hear and receive. Rather than hearing what you're actually trying to get across, he may just hear the fact that you are angry.
- If your husband is able to listen to you and/or restate what you are saying and get it right or close to right, let him know what that feels like to you and how important it is.
- If you're asking questions, try to avoid "why" question and use "what makes, how, when, where, who" instead. Questions starting with "why" can not only be difficult to answer, but can also trigger a lot of emotions that some people are not ready to deal with right away.
- Also, keep in mind that listening and being able to reflect what you are saying does not imply agreement. This may be something that would be good to discuss with your husband – just because he is hearing what you're saying doesn't mean that he's agreeing with you.
- Lastly, but importantly, some people really don't know how to listen effectively. There are people who just are not taught to do that until much later in their lives. Sometimes listening to someone can actually be very vulnerability-producing. It may be helpful to ask your husband if he knows what makes him struggle with being able to listen if you notice that he's really struggling.
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