Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can be a Problem

286892_1436-1

I asked some husbands about how they feel about trying to have an important discussion with their wives”on the fly.”  Here is one husband’s answer.  

I appreciate his willingness to share with us.  As we study how men think, process, feel and see the world – my prayer is that we might have a much greater understanding for their perspective, their insights, their wisdom,that we might be able to appreciate the differences between masculinity and femininity and extend grace much more easily to our own husbands.

FROM A HUSBAND:

Yes that is very uncomfortable. If it’s a topic I already know quite alot about then I have no issues. I can talk or add my 2 cents in based on what I already know. If it’s something I know very little about and have a passing interest I’m happy to listen, but rarely will I speak up because it might make me look foolish and no guys wants to look like a fool in front of people he knows.

The hardest is when it comes to a discussion on a topic you are not ready to discuss with your spouse. You can’t just bow out of the conversation as it’s usually just the 2 of you. Depending on how critical it is to her you may not have the choice of delaying it until you can process it a little yourself.

Chances are if you are just hearing about it a guy tends to make it fairly low priority so they can figure out where to go with it, but if your wife brought it to you now with a sense of urgency she thinks it’s critical and you already know that you are going to talk this out one way or the other right now and that is a VERY SCARY place to be.

Sometimes it’s not even about being made to look like a fool, but:

  • what happens if it’s important and you make the wrong decision?
  • Will it be held against you even though you made the best choice you could given the details and time frame?
  • Will it be the wrong decision once you get past the problem and see you were missing something key that would have led you down a different path?

I can’t speak for all men, but I know when my wife came to me with something super important that had to be discussed right now and I could tell from the start that she was very tense about it I usually went into the conversation thinking I did something wrong because there is nothing else that could be that important in life that we couldn’t work out with a little time. So I tended to start the conversation like I was already under the microscope.

I will also add that a conversation between a husband/wife is hard on the husband because the wife likes talking and he discovery from talking it out.

  • The husband usually will try to pause and think about what he’s heard and formulate an opinion on the topic.
  • Once he has the opinion formed then he also has to figure out what words can explain that.
  • It usually leads to an awkward pause where the wife is waiting on the husband to say something and then it’s like we don’t care because we are “waiting too long” to think up an answer.

I honestly never even really thought of it this way but now that I read it in writing I can completely agree with it. If I look back to the conversations I’ve had with my wife over the past year when I wanted to talk about something – I would usually send her a text or an email or just let her know hey when you get a few minutes at some point this week I would like to have a conversation about X.

I was making sure she had time to think about it and come prepared.

On the other hand when she wanted to talk about something it was usually walking up to me and saying hey we need to talk about Y right now. Let’s go to another room. I’m not sure either is the right solution maybe there is a happier middle ground, but I think it more men and women realized that’s how each side feels and communicates and change their expectations when there is a different level of communication needed it might help solve alot of problems before they ever started.

FROM PEACEFUWIFE:

I’d love to hear some other husbands’ thoughts on this issue.

And for the ladies – let’s do our husbands a huge favor and try to give them a few days whenever possible to think about big issues before we expect a big dialogue about things.  I think we will find our husbands are much more prepared and receptive when we work with the way their brains process and think instead of putting them on the spot.

I like to just lay an issue on the table pleasantly, with a smile, say what I want and leave it with my husband – usually until he brings it up again.  “Hey, Honey!  I’d like to think about doing X./I want to do X.”

  • I want to talk about maybe selling my car for something more fuel efficient.
  • I want to give more $ to orphans/church/people in need.
  • I am nervous about the things that go on in public middle schools/high schools.  I want to maybe think about homeschooling.
  • I want to think about adopting a baby/child.
  • I want to take the kids to the Disney on Ice show this spring.
  • I don’t want to increase my hours at work.

I say it casually and with a smile and friendly tone of voice – then I leave it with him and often leave the room in a friendly way to go about doing chores or whatever so that my husband doesn’t feel pressured.

I know this requires a lot of patience, and it can be really frustrating to have to wait a long time – especially if your husband doesn’t tell you when you can talk about the issue with him.  But hopefully, he will agree to a future time for a discussion, or you can wait and let him bring it back up when he is ready. The more respected he feels over time, the safer he will feel to talk about difficult subjects with you – knowing you accept him and respect him and aren’t going to freak out about whatever he says, but that you want to trust him.

About these ads

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

30 Comments on “Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can be a Problem”

  1. trixie1466
    March 31, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    Interesting about men giving us a chance to prepare. When my husband has done that I very rarely think of it again until it’s time to talk about unless he gives me some task to do before we talk again. I feel like I always know what I think about something, but it’s probably that I know what I feel about it. Guess that’s why he’s the head instead of me. LOL

    • peacefulwife
      March 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Trixie,
      I totally relate to you! I usually immediately know what I think and feel about things. I used to get SO upset with my husband when he couldn’t seem to answer questions. Eventually, I would often take over because I thought he “wouldn’t” lead. :( If only I had just understood how differently men think and process!!! How many fights we could have avoided!!!!

      My husband is great at processing and making wise decisions. I’m so thankful he is the head of the marriage and family instead of me. What a blessing and a gift from God!

      • trixie1466
        March 31, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

        Amen sister!:)

  2. Thankful Husband
    March 31, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    I know I don’t mind acting right now. Whether that’s an emergency or work, but when there is a problem or a decision to be made I do like to take my time and look at it from many angles, weigh what is best, weigh my motives especially if the talk is about us or me. I want to hear my wife’s heart and mind but am not always ready to respond right away.

    I know when I do speak right away it can cause hard feelings. For some reason, not that anybody is right or wrong, when we are discussing disagreements she can say something and I can say something. But when I say it she feels like I’m telling her she’s wrong where as I just hear her side of things. I guess what I am saying is, I have to phrase things much more carefully in order to not hurt her feelings and that sometimes takes time for me to come up with those words. In other words, we could say the exact same thing to each other and she comes away crushed and I come away just thinking we haven’t come to agreement yet…so I have to carefully word things. Talks often have more downside than upside due to this and I want to go into it carefully, lovingly and having my homework done.

    Also, I’ve learned that if we talk “right now” I’m more excitable or sound more passionate. Now that might sound like a good thing at times but many large men like me no matter how gentle or tender we are (and no matter how our wives know we would never hurt them in a million years) even just a passionate talk can seem dominating, pushy, or bullying no matter what my heart is. My wife knows my heart, but natural instincts sometimes just kick in. I’ve learned with strangers due to my size I can’t look them in the eye too much and must keep my voice low as my size intimidates almost all women and a lot of men…even my wife who knows I care for her more than myself can feel “pushed” no matter my heart if I do not very, very carefully watch my tone, level, and body language.

    Anymore we have a level of trust that this is not the case (we both know now that we have the other’s best interest at heart and that we are probably just not understanding each other). When this wasn’t the case, often writing to each helped in place of talking when the topic was particularly deep, hurtful, or important, at least to get the conversation going.

    Lastly, I don’t spend too much time here at your blog Peacefulwife but it’s not because it’s not awesome…probably because it is. About a year ago my wife was getting healed from years of severe PMDD which in severe cases like hers looks like pretty severe mental illness. As we were trying to go from surviving to thriving I tried to find some resources, books and blogs, etc to make sure I was doing all I could to love and cherish her the way she needed. Honestly, I came away more sad and frustrated than challenged, pushed, and encouraged. Very few women are teaching what you are. They are teaching the men to love their wives as Christ loves the church (granted not nearly enough are living up to that teaching), but I did not find a lot teaching the rest. Just this week I had one of the most blogger Christian marriage bloggers tell me the word submission was a stumbling block to her women readers and she refused to teach it. Thank you for teaching the differences between men and women.
    Thankfully my healthy wife has the heart of your message down and is the grandest and best wife I could ever ask. So thank you. God please bless Peacefulwife and the women here and their marriages. May You be glorified in these women and their marriages.

    • peacefulwife
      March 31, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      Thankful Husband,

      I appreciate your willingness to share how this issue plays out for you and in your marriage.
      I would love to share your perspective anonymously in a post sometime if that is ok with you.

      I COMPLETELY understand that my blog could be a source of discouragement and depression for husbands.
      When I was learning about godly femininity, respect, biblical submission, making Jesus Lord, dying to self, tearing out all my idols and ALL the stuff God was showing me – I realized something. If I read about what husbands “should” do – I would feel angry, discontent, jealous, upset and depressed. If I watched a romantic movie, read a romantic book, listened to love songs or read certain marriage books or books about how husbands can show love to their wives – I would fall apart and feel resentful and begin to veer way off course.

      It is extremely normal, I think, for husbands to find my blog to be upsetting. It is hard to look at what “could be” and then to look at reality and see how far away you are from what you dream of. So – you will hear no pressure from me for men to read my blog. You are welcome here. We value your comments, perspective, insights and wisdom greatly. But I understand there may be other blogs that might be more encouraging for you as a husband.

      Thank you so much for your comments!

      • Thankful Husband
        March 31, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

        Peaceful wife,
        My wife is now…well dang near perfect! At least in my opinion…but things were so bad for so long that it truly was survival for us so I started reading, mostly blogs but also some books to make sure I was doing all I could to love her…it had been so long since she was healthy I was worried I might be a little rough around the edges…. My wife’s healing was almost miracalous. Literally, one week I was looking at having her committed and the next week she was amazing…gentle, loving, caring… but during that time I discovered just what was being taught out there. Your blog doesn’t upset me at all. It’s encouraging…completely encouraging. It’s the others (with a few exceptions)…what we found out was I wasn’t that rough around the edges and because she got better so fast…well the blogs weren’t really necessary. But I hung around and read them and commented more to be a presence for godly marriage. To be honest, my wife’s illness took alot out of me and my faith but I’d reserved enough of a foundation from bible college and my years pastoring that something seemed off out there in most of the teaching and that’s why I tried to hang around and bring up these so very important truths…but you don’t need me here! You are doing so good and have so many other ladies also. So thank you and God bless you. I just drop by once or week or so to get refreshed…not because I need it from my marriage but because our culture…even our Christian culture is so downright discouraging at times! So again, big thank you from my wife & I. I’ll keep you, your family and your readers in my prayers.

        • peacefulwife
          March 31, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

          Thankful Husband,

          I am glad my blog doesn’t upset you! You are always welcome here. I appreciate your masculine perspective and encouragement to the wives and to the husbands. Thank you for being involved here. You are a blessing and I greatly appreciate the prayers!

  3. Ted Cox
    March 31, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    In my experience nothing is so critical it needs to be decided immediately unless it’s a medical emergency or something involving some sort of imminent danger.As a man I have a gut reaction to almost everything, but that is not a good basis for a decision. I prefer to weigh my gut feelings against the alternatives and what is best for everyone.This can take some time. Making a decision,especially one that the right answer requires sacrifice, is hard. For example, if a wife refuses her husband it is clearly wrong. However if the husband then cuts himself off emotionally from the wife in retaliation,he is (not) loving her as Christ loved the church. Christian husbands have sinful ,selfish desires that we have to master,not only for our own good but for the entire family.I would suggest that if a husband doesn’t answer right away it should be taken as evidence that he cares enough to not make a rash decision.

    • peacefulwife
      March 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      Ted,
      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. I think you explain this very clearly in a way that wives could understand.

      I would love to use your comment in a future post if that is ok with you, please.

  4. Ted Cox
    March 31, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Always.

  5. David J.
    March 31, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    A slightly different perspective here. I don’t disagree with any of the OP or the comments, but my experience/personality is a little different. I tend to process things verbally. (I guess I probably also think in words, rather than symbols or formulas, which is in contrast to one of April’s recent posts about how Respected Husband and others think.) Presumably as a result of my verbal processing approach, I’m a trial lawyer. So it was no problem for me to have an impromptu discussion with my wife about something, even if it was important. (I agree with Ted that if it’s important it’s usually not urgent.) Discussing it with her would assist me in processing the issue and arriving at an answer. Not that these impromptu discussions never were problematic. In fact, they could easily become problematic, just not because I was uncomfortable having the discussion. Instead, we’d have one of several other problems. Sometimes she wanted a definitive answer at the end of the first discussion of the issue but, while the first discussion was helpful in moving me toward an answer, there might be something that I wanted to think more about or research before I could give a definitive answer. Or, whether I arrived at an answer in the first discussion or after the additional thinking/research, it wasn’t the answer she wanted. That was definitely a problem. Or, in the first discussion, I might ask some questions and she would perceive those as pushback, negativity, questioning her intelligence, or “cross-examining” her.

    The worst situations were when she’d come into one of those impromptu discussions with her mind made up about what she wanted the answer to be but I disagreed. Then no amount of talking would make a difference. Logic didn’t work. Words didn’t work. My motives and intentions were suspect, my spiritual status was suspect, and any assurances or protestations to the contrary were insufficient. There were many occasions when I was the one who wanted to continue a discussion until we had reached a resolution but she would withdraw. It was actually me who was accused of trying to overwhelm her with words.

    • peacefulwife
      March 31, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      David,

      I really appreciate your perspective on this issue. I was wondering about how different men might process things differently. I was fairly sure it wouldn’t be the same across the board. I hope you might let me use this comment in a post this week about how men think! I would like to try to have a wide representation of different husbands so that wives can maybe better empathize with and understand their own husband’s thinking and approach.

      I can tell you that as a formerly controlling and disrespectful wife (even though I didn’t realize I was doing these things – that is what I was) – I ALWAYS had my mind made up ahead of time about what the “right” answer was. And I believed it was my job to make sure the “right” thing always happened. I would have long, elaborate discussions in my head all day before I ever actually talked with my husband. Then I would ambush him with some major issue and demand an answer – of course, what I really wanted was for him to agree to do what I believed was right. And if he stalled – I believed he didn’t care, wouldn’t lead, didn’t love me, was refusing to tell me what he really thought to be cruel It NEVER occurred to me that he just thinks differently from me and that *GASP* he might have wisdom to bring to the table and a masculine perspective that was very different from my own that I needed to consider. I also never realized that I was trying to usurp his God-given authority in our marriage and it never dawned on me that God might be trying to lead me through my husband. I thought I was the only one of us who could discern God’s will. I thought I was right and my husband was wrong. And in my mind – EVERY issue was urgent. Maybe it is because as a woman I have all these “windows” open on my “desktop” and they stay open until I do something about them and resolve the issue and when I have too many of those darn windows open – it is overwhelming. I want to close them as soon as possible. But to me – every single issue should be discussed NOW and resolved NOW. I knew what I thought. I knew what was “right” – I had the corner on “God’s will”. So what was the holdup?

      You know – it really sounds SO AWFUL to see it all written out like this! I couldn’t see it this way at the time. I wasn’t intentionally trying to destroy our marriage and communication – but those were the results. I thought I knew best. I thought I had to make things happen properly or our lives would be a disaster. I didn’t trust God and I didn’t trust my husband. I only trusted myself. I would not have consciously ever said that. But that is how I lived – as if I were sovereign and powerful and God was wimpy and weak.

      Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. Idolatry never does. That is why I had no peace, joy or contentment. I had big time sin in my heart.

      I used to think my husband always agreed with me. But in reality, he didn’t say what he thought most of the time because he later told me “it wasn’t worth the argument.” And he quit trying to lead me because “how can you lead someone who is always right and always thinks you’re wrong?” YIKES.

      Now – I actually appreciate that he takes his time and really sorts through things and makes sure that something is a wise decision and what a relief to me not to carry the weight of the ultimate decision on my shoulders anymore!!!!!

      Now, I just tell him what I want and how I feel and then let him make the call. HUGE WEIGHT off my shoulders. Such freedom and peace. I wish every woman could experience what I do on a daily basis now before they decide that God’s design doesn’t apply today.

      I understand why my husband went passive. There were a few times he did insist on something – and I did exactly what you are describing in that last paragraph (well, except for saying Greg was trying to overwhelm me with words. I definitely always won the word war -at the expense of our unity and intimacy.) Unfortunately, the passivity just fueled my disrespect even more and convinced me that I HAD to be in charge and that I knew best even more. I actually wish now that he had confronted me about my disrespect and controlling behavior, my pride, my bitterness/resentment and my idolatry. Him saying nothing just let me continue down that path full speed. But even if he had said something, it still would have taken God’s Spirit to open my eyes to see my sin.

      REALLY important topic here!

      Thank you so much for sharing, David. This was extremely helpful.

      • David J.
        March 31, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

        April: If I didn’t know better, I’d think the old you and my ex-wife were one and the same person! At the time, I knew there seemed to be a complete disconnect between her and me, but I thought it was unique to us (or, except in my most mature moments, unique to her). Now I know better.

        For some reason in God’s sovereignty, He didn’t have me find your site (and at least one other from the male perspective) until after the divorce. I don’t know what to conclude from that timing. I wouldn’t have understood it then anyway? I would have mis-used the information? It wouldn’t have changed her (or the outcome of the marriage) anyway? I’m supposed to use this new understanding in a subsequent marriage, if any? All of the above? None of the above? Ultimately not important to have the answer, at least yet — otherwise, He’d have shown me the answer. I’ll let you know if I ever figure it out.

        • peacefulwife
          April 1, 2013 at 7:59 am #

          David,

          Yes, your ex-wife and I had some very similar thinking patterns and strongholds. I can totally relate to her. I understand how powerful that drive for control was and how equally powerful the fear of not being in control was. Of course, it was all an illusion and neither of us actually controlled nearly as much as we thought we did.

          Those few times that Greg did insist on something, I would argue and argue and explain – thinking if he could just UNDERSTAND my point of view he would see I was right and we would do what I wanted. But in the back of my mind I knew he was supposed to be the leader, so eventually, after filibustering and arguing and trying to force my way on him – eventually I did concede. But it was with a great deal of resentment , fuming, awful attitude, hateful looks and contempt.

          Looking back, I see so clearly now that my husband was right several of those times. I would have caused a huge family rift if I had gotten my way and humiliated some other family members. Greg saw the big picture and I did not at the time. Even before I discovered how disrespectful I was, I realized he was right on those issues.

          There is one decision he made right before we got married that I still disagree with – which is what began my disrespect. But if I had responded with grace and respect – I know we would have had a much better marriage in those early years.

          I was praying for your situation last night. I obviously don’t understand why your wife’s eyes weren’t opened in time to salvage your marriage. But I do know you are still in God’s sovereign hands and I believe He desires to use you for great glory and honor for His kingdom. I can’t wait to see all that He has in store for you.

          Sent from my iPad

    • Thankful Husband
      March 31, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

      David,
      Although it might not sound like it from my post above I process kind of like you, and naturally could process things verbally but have found it wasn’t the best way for communication in our marriage. I too could overwhelm with words also. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk then. It was just more I wanted to keep my foot out of my mouth (my bad) or protect her feelings/emotions. I found that if I can communicate to her & I have heard what she needed to say and I really cared about it and thought it was important but …well like the Bible says be quick to listen and slow to speak. Also, it made her feel heard I guess, cause that’s what I do best is solve stuff, not listen. I can be a bull in a china shop so I have to check that instinct and that doesn’t come naturally.

      My wife knows her heart and mind also (she believe’s she right) but so do I. So if there is something big we don’t see eye to eye on, before inserting foot in mouth or hurting her I need a little time to process it and make sure I’ve thought (and I hope pray) about it.

      So I guess what I am saying is it may seem like we are not talking NOW for selfish reasons…but most of the time it was because I was thinking of her. Because unlike many things in a man’s world, she’s tough, able and wise but also delicate and I can’t charge in & start shooting from the hip and throwing anything in my way out of the way. I can’t just solve it. Often times the journey to the solution or answer was as important as the as solution/answer.

      • peacefulwife
        March 31, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

        Thankful husband, This is so helpful. I would love to use it in a post, as well. I think women need to hear your perspective. Thanks!

      • David J.
        March 31, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

        Thankful Husband: Understood. Praise God for where you two are now.

      • peacefulwife
        April 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

        Thankful Husband,

        I would love to share part of your comment in another post about how men think if that is ok with you. Thank you!

    • peacefulwife
      March 31, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

      Oh!

      I thought of another issue that drove me to want immediate resolution and decisions. I hated the thought of living in limbo and having to live with uncertainty. I would do almost anything to feel Iike I knew what was going to happen. Again, I didn’t trust or understand God’s sovereignty very well back then, and I felt I had to make things happen. And it was just intolerable for me to feel like things were up in the air and I couldn’t count on “knowing” what was going to happen

      Now, God has given me the ability to wait and rest in His love and sovereignty even in uncertainty. It is not my favorite thing, but I don’t usually freak out.

      So, this issue is also a symptom sometimes of a woman’s desire to feel secure and safe. But now I see how my rushing things was quite counter productive and I am thankful for my husband’s careful deliberation and leadership even if it takes more time to come to decisions.

      Peacefulwife.com

    • peacefulwife
      April 6, 2013 at 11:58 am #

      David,
      I would like to use part of your comment here in another post about how men think if that is ok with you.

      If there is anything you would like to add, please let me know!

      • David J.
        April 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

        April, you have standing permission to use any of my comments however you wish.

  6. Brittany Y.
    April 1, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    Ooohhh. Something that I have a really hard time doing for sure! I usually want answer right away. I don’t mean to. I get impatient or I think that if a solution is figured out pronto then things will get worse. I can tell from my reaction that this is something that I really need to work on. Especially since I am about to go into a marriage, communication will be extremely important in keeping us together.

    • peacefulwife
      April 1, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

      Brittany,

      I cannot begin to tell you how many nights of tension, tears and loneliness you will be spared if you can understand this concept before marriage!

      Yes – the more you can learn about how men, and your man in particular, think – the better!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How Men Think – Part 2 | Peacefulwife's Blog - April 8, 2013

    [...] is a continuation of How Do Men Think  and from Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can Be a Problem from last week.  My hope is to showcase a number of different men with different [...]

  2. How Men Think – Part 3 | Peacefulwife's Blog - April 10, 2013

    [...] find Part 1 and Part 2 here.  These comments were made by husbands in response to the post “Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can Be a Problem”   I am so thankful to the men who were willing to take the time to share their thoughts.  I know [...]

  3. Sending Emails to Your Husband | Peacefulwife's Blog - June 8, 2013

    […] Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can Be a Problem […]

  4. Just the Facts, Please, Ma’am, Just the Facts. | Peacefulwife's Blog - August 1, 2013

    […] Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk  NOW May Not Be  a Good Idea […]

  5. When He Suddenly Walks Out or Hangs Up | Peacefulwife's Blog - October 14, 2013

    […] Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk RIGHT NOW about His Feelings Probably Won’t Work […]

You are welcome to leave constructive, edifying comments or sincere questions. I do have some restrictions on what comments I am able to accept, you may find my comment policy at the top of my home page)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,546 other followers

%d bloggers like this: