Monday, December 1, 2014

Just Ask Joyce: “How can I get my husband to talk?”

Q: “I’ve heard you talk on your radio show about communicating with your spouse. Your ideas are great, and I have tried all of them to evoke conversation with my husband. In more than 20 years, nothing has ever gone undone as far as financial obligations, planning events, picking up kids, and juggling schedules. But I want to talk and share my deepest thoughts and emotions. When he doesn’t engage conversationally, it’s difficult for me to engage intimately. I love him, but I would also love to know how it feels to exchange more than looking and touching.”

Joyce: It sounds as though your husband has been this way since the two of you married. This begs the question: Did he talk before the wedding day? My guess would be he wasn’t someone who would share deeply with you then any more than he would now. Yet, your heart was content to marry a man who was shy on the side of conversation. Now the two of you carry on life in tandem, yet with you feeling worlds apart.

Men are by nature not talkers. (Unless they’re trying to sell you something!) Nevertheless, they are, contrary to many women’s thinking, emotionally driven creatures. They need affection, attention, and applause. The great majority of them desire to please the ones they love, and some men express that desire better than others. Those who don’t most often wish the fit was more comfortable for them. The “shutdown” could be a genetic trait or perhaps an acquired one. For whatever reason, “his world” has not modeled the idea of conveying heartfelt emotions or sharing deepest thoughts.

Don’t give up hope, however. Old dogs can learn new tricks. I find that often women give in to the TV remote. Men get detached from the world in front of electronics, whether it’s television, power tools, the Internet, or videogames. And when we gals are busy about our agendas and allow ourselves to get lost in a book, social networking, household chores, or hobbies, nearly every man will be satisfied to stay in his isolated world of escape. Invite him into your world, or join him in his by clearing off a place to sit beside one another. Dive into his interests and begin talking about those matters as a way to loosen his tongue. Then, slide the conversation over to a matter of your heart once the flow begins.

If you haven’t shared your innermost heart with him regarding how lonely you feel inside or how much you would enjoy sharing with him about a particular issue, why not try that on for size? Timing is everything, so make sure you adequately prepare him. Write him a letter and tuck it his pocket telling him to read it during lunch. Or perhaps give him a call at work or leave a voicemail on his phone. Whichever manner you choose, let him know there’s something you really need to share with him. He’ll be curious most of his day regarding what that might possibly be. When he asks, seize the opportunity to let him understand the void that is in your heart. You must also be honest with him about your reservation of intimacy due to lack of verbal connection, and then be willing to prove that sharing emotionally ignites you sexually. If you haven’t shared those deepest thoughts with him, your silence is as inequitable as his.

It could be that you must learn to be content in whatsoever state you’re in, as the Apostle Paul so eloquently stated. Your husband seems to be a good provider, life is working for you two, and he’s not been unfaithful. Count those blessings! If things have been this way since you married him, he probably feels you were happy with the way he was then, so why should he change? But life and love could definitely be better.

Change your life… NOW! Write Joyce Oglesby, Family-Life Fitness Pro™, at joyce@justaskjoyce.com. I’m here to help! Check out my books and other resources today at JustAskJoyce.com. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and get connected to great family nourishing ideas.

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