Q&A: Getting my husband to talk

Q: Do you have any advice on how I can get my husband to talk with me? He has plenty to say around his friends, but I can’t get more than seven words out of him.

A: Have you heard of the horse whisperer, Nicholas Evans? Well, we’re going to make you a “husband whisperer” by helping you decode the mystery of male communication. Here are some tips that should help encourage him to open up:

  1. Evaluate your expectations: Generally, women communicate to connect relationally, while guys are wired to give advice and troubleshoot. Understanding your different styles can defuse conflict and enhance communication.
  2. Learn his communication pattern: How does he engage others and what things are discussed? When is he most attentive and receptive to a conversation?
  3. Use conversational foreplay: Women can usually share their feelings more quickly than men. If you’re wanting a deep conversation, ask some “warm-up” questions first. 
  4. Timing: Most guys don’t want to discuss their day right after work, when there’s “chaos,” when they’re tired and hungry, or watching a sporting event. We’re sometimes more receptive to the conversation when tied to an activity like walking or driving.
  5. Don’t multitask: Keep it simple for men. One thing and one topic at a time.
  6. Offer him a “diet story”: Men process information differently than ladies. Trimming away some of the details or words will keep him engaged.
  7. Soften your approach: Guys are highly sensitive to criticism, disrespect, or failure, and a harsh start-up emotionally shuts us down. Kicking off a discussion with a gentle voice, relaxed body language, and kind words and facial expressions will keep us in the game.
  8. Accept “fine” as a reasonable answer: No matter the language or culture, women have a universal distaste for this word. But men tend to communicate factually with less emotion and description. So for us, “fine” means – perfectly fine.
  9. Be direct in asking for what you want: Women can usually pick up subtle messages, but hints don’t work well for men. 

​​© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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