This is another one of those topics where the key is balance. It is entirely possible to be way too talkative. It is also entirely possible to be way too quiet. Of course, what you talk about or avoid talking about also matters.
When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is prudent. Prov. 10:19 CSB
How I used to hate that verse! Probably because I talked almost non-stop. But – now I recognize it is very true. I believe that it can be wise to look at my motives and expectations every now and then if I find myself wanting to talk a lot.
Note – I am going to be speaking in generalizations, by necessity in a post like this. Your relationship may not always follow every generalization and that is totally fine!
WHY DO I WANT TO TALK WITH MY HUSBAND?
Some Not-So-Productive Reasons
- I want to share something sinful:
- A critical and accusing spirit
- Pride – trying to prove I am so wise and I am always right
- Condemnation, blame, guilt, shame
- Complaints and negative things about him or someone or something else
- Contention – arguing with him, addiction to conflict
- Self-loathing and hatred
- Idolatry of self, of my husband, of happiness, of marriage, of children, or anything else
- Control – trying to usurp his position as leader, undermining him, trying to make him do things my way, trying to control him
- Worry and fear (that I have not taken to the Lord first.)
- I feel awkward if we are not talking and am afraid of silence. Or I interpret silence to mean tension.
- I have unrealistic or unbiblical expectations. Is there anything I need to lay down?
- I expect him to have the same need to talk and process things verbally and connect emotionally that I do.
- I expect him to think, talk, and act like the male romantic lead in a movie or book.
- I expect him to pray out loud with me even if he is not comfortable with that.
- I am trying to filibuster him and explain my perspective to show him how right I am and that he should agree with me.
- I expect him to do all of my thinking for me so I don’t have to think.
- I want to share every single thought in my head with him without any filter.
- I am enmeshed with him and my emotional well being and spiritual well being is tied to his.
- I look to his words and affirmation to give me all of my sense of identity and security.
- I want to try to impress him or be perfect so he will love me more.
- I idolize him and try to please him and get his approval more than the Lord’s approval.
If these are the reasons I want to talk with my husband, I need to go to the Lord and deal with any sin or wrong motives in my heart first. Then I can consider talking with my husband when I have taken care of my spiritual issues and I am filled with the Spirit rather than controlled by my flesh.
Some Great Reasons
- I want to bond and connect with words for awhile. But I realize he may not bond this way and I know how much listening and talking he can realistically handle and I respect that.
- There is important information I need/want to share with him.
- I am looking to him for his wisdom and advice about an issue I am having.
- I want to brainstorm with him about some plans.
- I want to hear about things that are important to him.
- I want to learn more about his perspective, masculine world, and mindset.
- I have some legitimate concerns to share respectfully with him.
- I want to humbly, respectfully, prayerfully confront him about his sin.
- I want to ask him respectfully for something.
- I want to talk with him to process my feelings and thoughts about something.
- I feel lonely and want to feel closer to him – but I know that my primary security and contentment is in the Lord.
- I want to build him up, bless, affirm, respect, and honor him.
- I want to connect with him spiritually – if he is open and receptive to that, but if he is not, I can handle that graciously.
- I want to enjoy his company and be his friend.
A FEW MORE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- When I want to talk to someone, I need to remember my audience.
- Avoid topics he doesn’t really like.
- Respect his preferences if he doesn’t want to talk about the news or something that is upsetting to him.
- Focus more on things he enjoys.
2. Everyone has different preferences about how much they like to talk and listen.
- If he is an introvert, you may want to keep conversations brief. He may actually enjoy some silence.
- If he is an extrovert, he may enjoy longer talks, especially about things he likes.
3. There are times when it may be better not to have a deep, emotional, intense discussion.
- One or both of you is sick, very hungry, or in significant pain – the flesh is weak.
- You are hormonal.
- It is late at night.
- One or both of you is completely exhausted.
- There is a very stressful situation.
- He is watching his favorite football team.
- He is working on a plumbing problem and trying to concentrate.
- He doesn’t seem receptive.
- You are in “flesh mode.”
4. Men sometimes associate talking with painful things like:
- “There is a problem.”
- “You are the problem.”
- “We are connecting and bonding.”
If you can make talking with you a pleasant, friendly thing, he may enjoy it more. 😉
5. If you just want him to listen, not to solve any problems, let him know that up front.
Give him a respectful heads up about that he is helping you by just listening for 10 minutes while you process your thoughts verbally. Most guys (not all, but most, in my understanding) don’t have this need and will feel like they need to fix things if we are sad or upset. If they know that just listening does help us feel better, and we show that we feel better after they listen, that can encourage them to want to listen more often.
6. A lot of men don’t really enjoy hearing every detail about our hobbies, friends, family, shopping experiences, etc…
We can sometimes easily overload them with a lot of minutia that may not be particularly engaging to them.
7. Men and women tend to talk differently.
- Women tend to bond by talking face-to-face with words.
- Men tend to bond by doing things together shoulder-to-shoulder, not face-to-face.
Face-to-face can feel rather emotionally intimidating to men at times. If you are watching them constantly, it can make them feel emotionally “naked” or extra vulnerable. They tend to bond just by being together and having shared experiences, or they may love to bond through sex with their wives. Just because he doesn’t bond in the same way doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to bond with you. Try to do some things that help you feel bonded and some things that help him bond his way.
For details about the research behind these tips, check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s best-selling book, “For Women Only.”
I hope to share on these topics in the next few weeks:
- What to do when you really need another outlet for talking.
- How to tell if you are too quiet with your husband.
What wisdom has God given you about this topic that may be a blessing to other wives? What struggles do you have in this area?
Husbands and Emotions – multiple post links