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Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can be a Problem


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.


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.


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.

26 thoughts on “Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can be a Problem

  1. 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

    1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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

    2. 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.

    3. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

  5. Please address what to do when a husband won’t answer a simple question. When he lies, I ask why?
    I state I need to be able to trust n how vital trust is to our relationship. But it doesn’t seem to be that way for him. Trust is not a high priority or characteristic necessary for him.
    This happens often. N there is no transparency.
    If I ask anything n if details are needed – I can forget getting replies. He either changes the subject n ignores an issue even exists n tries to almost always smooze me over n go on like nothing happened. That’s always how he doesn’t have to tell or share anything he does want to, with me.

    He is a Christian. I’m wailing inside…
    I have prayed different times over this.

    1. Hannah,

      This is a great question – and a very common one I hear. If it is okay, I’d like to ask a few questions to try to have a better idea of what is going on before I answer, please. 🙂

      Is he involved in very serious unrepentant sin – adultery, addiction, porn, violence, abuse, criminal activity? Are there any mental illnesses going on?

      What kinds of things is he lying about?

      Is it safe for him to tell you the truth? What happens if he tells you something that you don’t want to hear? How do you respond?

      Is it possible that he feels that he is being interrogated when you ask him to answer a simple question? Or does he feel that you approach him in humility, with gentleness, respect, and love, knowing you are on his team?

      Do you believe your husband feels generally well-respected by you?

      Is it possible that he may actually want to be transparent and trustworthy, but that he believes that lying may be safer – either because he doesn’t want to hurt you or because you might freak out?

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      Does your husband talk about things he needs in the marriage?

      Do you trust his leadership?

      Much love to you!

      1. Thank you for your quick n thoughtful response.
        No, I do not believe he is in an adulterous sin or violent or anything criminal at all. No porn or physical abuse. No addictions. Not sure why this happens. I think he has been single for so long before we married n he continues in some manners as a single.


        But I saw peaceful wife n was drawn in. I desire peaceful advice 🙂
        He would not want to go to any counseling.
        I should not share any more publicly n thank you at the same time.
        Please note the different email. The other was my husbands. My mistake 🙁

        1. Hannah,

          I can understand your concern that he didn’t share this with you. I can also understand that he was afraid to tell you the truth. I think this is something y’all can tackle together. I like how you approached him – from what you are saying. How did he respond? Did he apologize or say he wants to change this issue?

          How is your walk with Christ going?

          I don’t think y’all need counseling over this – this is actually a relatively small issue, in the grand scheme of things – even though I know it threw you for a loop. And I sure wouldn’t like it, either, myself.

          Now, your job will be to seek to support him in respectful, humble, gentle ways and to let him know you are safe for him to share with. You can praise him when he is doing well, but be careful not to attack him. This is a difficult issue to overcome – but shaming him will not help. Show him you are on his team. 🙂

          Much love to you!

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