How Often Does Your Marriage Need Talk?

June 24, 2015

in Uncategorized

Do you get enough talk with your husband? Not just words, but real conversations of substance and depth. Most women would say no, and many would say “not even close!” This is one of the most common complaints women have about their marriages.

Couple talking © pio3 |

My wife has never had this problem. If anything, she has wondered how to get me to shut up! I actually used to ask her “What are you thinking about.” So I’m with you ladies on this, conversation is exceptionally important! This is true not just for your well-being, but for the health of your marriage. Failure to communicate means you have no idea what your spouse wants or needs. It sets you both up for assumption-based problems.

I would say most men would be happy with less real talk than is needed for the health of their marriage. Most women on the other hand would like far more talk than is necessary for a good marriage. Finding the middle ground is important, but it’s not just about how much you talk. You need to discuss certain logistical things like who is taking the kids where and have we paid this bill, but the need is much greater. You both need to share your hopes and dreams along with your fears and disappointments. You have to share enough to know each other in depth. This is an ongoing process because each of you is growing and changing. 

If you and your husband are going to talk less than you would like, you need to be sure your conversation time covers the important things. If you burn him out with less important issues, he’ll no longer be listening when you get to what he needs to know. Gender plays a part here because women tend to do warm up conversation before getting to the deep stuff. 

How can you communicate what your husband needs to hear in a reasonable amount of time? How can you encourage him to do the same with you?

Along these lines, if you’ve not seen Jay and Laura Laffoon’s sketch How About a Little Conversation?, do check it out.

~ Paul – I’m XY, but I talk like I’m XX!

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan June 24, 2015 at 5:51 am

Speaking of warming up to a conversation, here is how not to do it for either spouse, but especially your husband. I found a note left by my wife that said simply “We need to talk when I get home. Luv you,” her name. The “Luv you” softened it some, but all day was tempered by the anxiety caused by “We need to talk.” Around here, and I suspect most marriages, when a wife says that it means she has an issues she wants to see “fixed” and fixed sooner than later. Instead of the sword of Damocles hanging overhead all day, try waiting until you are home and ready to talk and say something like, I’d like to talk with (not to) you about something. Better still, ask. “May (Can) we talk about something for a minute.” In that way you give your spouse the chance to buy in and agree to the timing and not feel like they are being forced into it. The “minute” implies it won’t go on forever or be a serial discussion to be revisited many more times. Neither implication may be true, but it does take some dread out of getting into the talk we all fear may not be smooth sailing.
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Paul Byerly June 25, 2015 at 10:20 am

@Dan – Yup, very bad plan. Pretty much ensures the person will start out defensive and angry!
Paul Byerly recently posted…How Often Does Your Marriage Need Talk?My Profile


IntimacySeeker June 26, 2015 at 5:21 am

What if one spouse leaves a note for the other that reads: “We need to connect when I get home.” ?


Paul Byerly June 26, 2015 at 11:46 am

@IntimacySeeker – Certainly less scary, unless history says it’s going to be bad.
Paul Byerly recently posted…How Often Does Your Marriage Need Non-Sexual Touch?My Profile


Kay June 24, 2015 at 5:54 am

In one of Sheila’s old posts about bad marriage advice, she talked about how it is okay if your husband is not your very best friend–contrary to popular opinion. Of course, he should probably be number two and he should know things about you and more intimately than anyone else, but if you treat your husband like your best GIRL friend, you are going to suffocate and smother him if you are a talker and he is not! Sometimes it is a good idea to use your gift of gab with your girl friends if you need to process out loud and then talk to your husband only after you have your thoughts together.
My best friend and I are both WAHMs and we chat on and off throughout the entire day and it really benefits our marriages. There have been times where her husband has actually asked her to call me because he (a raging introvert) was too overwhelmed by her constant chatter at the moment, ha! If your hubby is a man of few words but you need to talk it out, have a few girl friends on call to help you out. It helps!


Paul Byerly June 25, 2015 at 10:21 am

@Kay – I get hung up on the word “best” but I agree both men and women need at least one good close same sex friend. My marriage is better because Lori and I both a have a couple of solid friends.
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IntimacySeeker June 24, 2015 at 6:01 am

The sketch is great! Thanks for sharing.

I know from personal experience that lack of conversational intimacy can make us susceptible to temptation, just as lack of sexual intimacy can. AND as with sex, it’s not about the sheer uttering of words, it’s about connecting. No conversation with anyone else can/should substitute for conversation with my husband. I don’t just need to talk, I need my husband. And I experience him when he tells me his feelings and deepest needs, just as he experiences me when I respond sexually. If he won’t share and connect with me this way, and another man indicates he will, I can be tempted.


IntimacySeeker June 24, 2015 at 10:46 am

I should rephrase that last sentence: Years ago when he would not share and connect with me, and another man demonstrated he would, I was tempted to have an affair.


Dan June 25, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Thanks for sharing that IS. I understand some things a little better now.
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Paul Byerly June 25, 2015 at 10:22 am

@IntimacySeeker – I said much the same to the men over on TGH today. It’s a need, a real need, and when it’s not filled it causes a vacuum.
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libl June 24, 2015 at 6:41 am

Talking with my husband can be difficult ranging from his complete tune-out of chit chat to raging at important discussions. As such, I find myself talking to others so much more. There are times I go to open my mouth to talk with hubby and just shut it again because it doesn’t feel worth it. I did contact a third party to help usher in conversation and perhaps marital counseling.


shil0h June 24, 2015 at 7:04 am

I empathize completely LIBL. It’s maddening – one sided relationships are exhausting emotionally for me. My DH also has hearing problems. We pd $5K for hearing aids & he won’t wear them. LIBL don’t give up entirely. I found myself giving up sharing my heart with my DH & decided that was not the route to ho. I share my heart somewhat & see if he’s the least receptive. The truth is the Lord will hold him accountable for not listening & engaging in a caring, respectful manner (ie, loving manner). Likewise the Lord will hold me accountable for withholding my true heart & feelings from my DH. For this reason & because I haven’t lost hope DH will change, I make an effort to share from my heart. If he chooses to not listen, it’s on him. I did my part.


shil0h June 24, 2015 at 6:53 am

DH shares from the depths of his heart all the time & I’m grateful for that, but why should I bother if he doesn’t listen to me when I share from the depths of my heart?

It’s not just me. He doesn’t listen well to anyone other than his boss.

I’ve just accepted this and moved on. I don’t like it but I can’t force him to listen.


shil0h June 24, 2015 at 7:06 am

Following up to say as you can see from my response to LIBL I do try to share from the depths of my heart….more often than not he isnt interested or listening. I’ve come to accept this although I wish it were different.


T June 24, 2015 at 7:53 am

One day many years ago, I was talking to DH while he was in the kitchen. He looked attentive, and was smiling and nodding at appropriate points in the story I was telling, but suddenly I noticed something was off about his eye contact. I paused and glanced behind me: I was standing almost directly in line visually between him and a muted basketball game on television in the other room.

I turned back and asked, “Are you just smiling and nodding, and pretending to listen?” He SMILED AND NODDED! My hysterical laughter broke his trance: “Wait…. what???” He was a good sport about being caught and we both enjoy telling that story.


shil0h June 24, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Too funny. I’ve done something similar, like I’ll be talking in a normal voice and change the subject from whatever it is to something like …”and then the Martians checked the mail while I changed the oil after midnight and the cat weedeated the front yard and it all went great…..” and not once has he ever caught me. He just nods and indicates that yup, he heard me.


Paul Byerly June 25, 2015 at 10:26 am

@T – My wonderful wife does this when she is focused on something else. Once when I knew she was doing it I confessed to having an affair with the woman across the street – who was older than my mother. She made some “Yes I heard you noise” and I lost it laughing. She had no idea what I’d said till I told her.
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IntimacySeeker June 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm

The sexiest part of a man is his voice (IMHO). Many years ago, my husband left a voice mail message for me that I saved and replayed countless times. In it, he sang several lines of “I just called to say I love you!” Now I have a message from him on my cell phone that I have saved for well over a year. In it he provides the room measurements in our home, which I needed to get an estimate from a professional carpet cleaner.

When I want conversation with my husband, it’s not so much that I need to tell him every little detail of my day and/or be the center of his attention, but more the sensual experience of seeing his facial expressions, reading his body language, hearing his sexy voice, holding his hand, laughing with him (or crying), etc. Every now and then he says something that I treasure and cherish.


lynn June 25, 2015 at 8:00 am

I’m very fortunate in that my DH will talk, loves conversation and banter. He always listens to me when it’s important, but he does sometimes tune out my chit-chat. The only thing is, when something is actually troubling him, he is deadly silent, says nothing is wrong, even though I can see it all over his face and body language. Later he’ll admit, he was worrying or anxious about something.


Paul Byerly June 26, 2015 at 11:48 am

@lynn _ He might be trying to protect you, or he may shut down when he’s worried. Or perhaps when he was growing up he was belittled or ignored when he expressed concern.
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