We have all heard about the funny quote that says “the best person to share your secrets, is your husband, he will tell it to no one because he wasn’t even listening”. Yes, husbands have the super power to look you dead in your face while you are talking and not hear a damn thing you said.
According to Brynt H McGill “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” This proves that once you stop listening your spouse you have stopped respecting as well.
Men and women employ different listening styles even though the anatomy of the ears of both the genders is the same. A woman uses both sides of her brain while a man uses only one side of the brain while listening.
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” This proves that once you stop listening your spouse you have stopped respecting as well.
A study by Dr. Michael Phillips, a neuro-audiologist at the Indiana University School of Medicine, found gender differences in the brain activity of men and women. Brain imaging scans showed that the left brain hemisphere of men in the study was activated while listening, while both hemispheres were activated in women. This data suggests that there is a physical difference in listening between men and women.
Why husbands do not listen to their wives?
Now that we know that men and women listen differently, the next question is why do husbands not listen or avoid listening or pretend they are not listening to their wives? Listening ability of husbands and wives depend on their individual differences and circumstances rather than their gender.
1. They are action-oriented listeners
Men are usually action-oriented listeners, they focus on listening to things related to the current situation and the possible solution to the problem they just heard. As a result the moment the wife deviates from the topic or brings up unnecessary details of the past they just switch off.
2. They feel its the best solution
A husband feels it is a safe bet to act deaf in order to avoid conflicts that could arise due to the conversation that’s on the wife’s agenda. Especially, when they know they have flawed something, for instance if he has missed a family gathering that was important to his wife he can totally expect a rant coming up. They think that being deaf and dumb will prevent blowing things out of proportion.
3. They feel less Macho
Sometime a husband feels that listening to his wife means exacerbating her illegitimate feelings of being a victim, hence he tries to dominate and control her, by giving her the silent treatment. He feels that by avoiding listening to his wife he can conveniently get out from obliging to her demands.
4. They fear a verbal attack
Just as most wives feel that their husbands are neglecting them, the husbands too feel that their wives are no longer nice to them, rather they feel their wives are always in an attack mode. They may start a conversation nicely but in the end, all they do is complain about everything. Making the husband feel inadequate about not being able to solve his wife’s problem.
5. They don’t find it interesting
A study has proved that a man can concentrate on a woman’s talk for a maximum of six minutes, before he goes into a light trance. This is solely because he finds the conversation uninteresting. On the other hand he can have a night long conversation with his guy friends about sports, cars, wars, thing that he fancies.
How to get your husband to listen to you?
Now that could be a tough one, right? Most husbands or rather, men, focus on what is being done than what is being said. So to get him to listen to you, you will need to make sure that he is focused on you. Starting with intense conversations will not help, so you will need to make him comfortable first, and then initiate the ‘talking’. Here are some tried and tested tips to make sure he has ears for all you say.
1. Express your love first
Before you get to communicating anything with your husband first make sure you are constantly expressing your love towards him. You will not be able to get anything past him if he does not feel loved. Remember when you first met? You were nice so he was nicer.
2. Choose an appropriate time and location
No matter how urgent or tempting the situation is do not talk serious topics over the phone when he is at work or busy with something else. It nullifies the whole conversation. Choose a time and location where he is left with no other choice than to listen to you.
3. Be clear with your expectations
It is a globally accepted fact that husbands are no mind readers. So be very clear with your problems and what you expect out of him. You can even tell him clearly that you need him to only listen to you because you feel like venting out your feelings and its totally okay if he does not have to have a solutions.
4. Let him decide when he is ready to talk
Let your husband know you need to discuss something with him but do not rush him. Let him come up with the best time and place so that he knows you are already accepting his opinions. This will make him approach you with an open mind.
5. Stick to the important topic
Remember that your husband has a very short attention span so make the most of it by sticking to the topic you want to discuss about. Linking your current topic to irrelevant things will make him drift away. For instance if you are discussing your about an upcoming family event do not talk about your neighbor’s exotic holiday. Try to be brief and precise.
6. Check your body language and tone
Avoid intimidating him with your stern body language and tone. This will surely make him switch off. Try to make your chat a little intimate by sitting close to him and having the softest tone. He will surely be all ears then.
7. Show him the rewards
Raise his expectation with regard to your conversation. Let him feel like in the end he will be a rewarded. Whether the reward is allowing him to have the last word or something that will please him. Just make sure he knows that your discussion will end well and not blow out into an argument.
Related reading: 15 signs of emotional neglect in a marriage
8. Let him know you are serious
Sometimes your husband may want to brush aside the whole topic by taking it lightly and saying that it’s no big deal. That is the time you have to be calm while simultaneously making him aware of the seriousness of the issue at hand. Make sure to let him know about how you and your family will be affected if the issue is not addressed efficiently.
9. Listen to his point of view
A healthy conversation allows both the parties a fair chance to put forth their point of view. Make sure you give your husband a lot of scope to provide his valuable inputs to the topic of discussion. Even he comes up with some ridiculous ideas do not shun it out immediately. Ask him why he thinks that his idea is a better solution at the same time let him know that you are genuinely trying to understand his take on the situation.
10. Be flexible
You two may come up with different solutions to the problem at hand. Try and be flexible with your husband’s solutions. If possible take turns to try out each other’s methods. As long as the issue at hand is resolved it should not matter who came up with the solution.
11. Choose your words wisely
Avoid nagging in all circumstances. Words that are accusing, threatening or just disrespectful can shut all the possibilities of making your husband listen to you. If you want to build a healthy communications with your husband you have to choose your words wisely.
12. Seek help from others
Finally even after you have tried everything else if you fail to make your husband listen to your woes it’s time for a third person intervention. Try and confide in a close friend or relative who you think your husband respects a lot and ask for intervention. If your husband feels he can talk to anyone else, but you and is ready to seek professional guidance of a marriage councilor you have to be okay with it and go ahead.
“Honey, we need to talk?” these words are dreaded by guys all over the world. What you use before and after these words is what will seal the deal for you. In the end remember that he got into this marriage because he loves and cares for you, so if he is not listening to you it’s only because of how you are putting your point across. You will have to be a patient listener yourself before you expect your husband to do so.