I tweeted the following recently:
Wife says: “We need to talk.”
He thinks: “Red alert, shields to maximum, charge phasers, ready torpedoes.”
I realise “We need to talk” can mean anything from I want to tell you how wonderful you are to I’m running away with the guy who cleans our pool, but men ALWAYS hear this as a warning of impending disaster. We figure you’re about to drop a bomb, and this is our warning to dig a hole and hide.
Obviously, this is not the reaction you want. It means he will try to avoid the conversation, and it means he will not be receptive when you corner him.
So how do you arrange time to talk?
My suggestion is to set a weekly time for deep communication. If you have something difficult to discuss, do it then. If life is good, use your weekly talk time to tell him how wonderful he is. Compliment him on specific things. This makes talk time far less scary.
If you can manage it, doing this while away from home is a good idea. Make it part of your date night, or agree to go for a walk together for your weekly talk.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m so very glad my wonderful wife doesn’t use that phrase!