So we’re sitting with a couple and he says, “I wish she would just tell me what she wants.” And she screams and runs from the room.
Okay, I made that up, but it could happen. I often hear men complain they have no idea what their wife wants, and I hear from women he doesn’t listen when they try to share what they want.
- Some of this is male/female communication differences.
- Some is because she hints and he’s not good at picking up hints.
- Some is he’s only half-listening and doesn’t retain what she says.
- Sometimes her words don’t express the real need. What she needs is behind the words and he only gives her what she said.
- Other times he thinks he hears something behind her words and gives her that – when in fact she asked for what she wanted.
Regardless of why this happens, the solution is repetition. I’m not telling you to say the same thing over and over. Look for different words, word pictures, and real-life examples. Maybe one of them will catch him. Maybe he will connect the variety of ways you share and get the point. Maybe he just needs to hear it a dozen times before it gets deep enough for him to do it.
What about nagging?
If you ask for something you want or need and your husband doesn’t do it or tell you why he can’t or won’t do it, I think you have every right to ask again. Actually I’d go so far as to say you have the responsibility to repeat yourself.
Nagging comes in when you ask again before he has had a real opportunity to meet your need. It’s also a problem if you ask for things he can’t reasonably do, or ask for far more things than he can do.
As long as what you ask is reasonable, you have a right to expect him to care about it and do what he can. A decent, emotionally healthy man will be all about meeting such needs.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I love it when my wonderful wife tells me what she wants and needs.