You’ve tried talking to your husband about your marriage. And got nowhere. He either said you were being emotional, or that there’s nothing wrong. You can’t understand why he can’t talk about your marriage. Or what to do about it.
Sound familiar? Here are the surprising reasons husbands don’t like talking about your marriage, and what you can do about it.
Surprising reason #1 – Nature
Nature has given us differences in the way the male and human brains are wired. To understand this it’s helpful to look back in history – a long way back to prehistoric times when our ancestors were caveman. Men and women had very different and specific roles – women raised children and men brought home the food.
To make these roles work, evolution gave us brains that suited these roles. So the female brain values connection, working together and talking things through (because cavewomen spent their days in groups with other cavewomen raising the children). Whereas male brains are set up to problem solve and find the quickest solution to a situation (because caveman spent their days hunting and having to make quick decisions).
What this means in our lives now is that our husbands’ brains are set up to fix things, solve problems and make quick decisions. And less comfortable talking about emotions.
Whereas your brain is set up to talk things through and get benefit from talking about how you feel.
Which can make it tricky in a marriage. Because if you try to talk to your husband about your marriage (in the way your brain is set up to do), your husband’s brain will respond from a fix it perspective and won’t know how to respond to expressions of emotion or feelings.
So when he tells you you’re being emotional or that there’s nothing wrong when you try and talk about your marriage, he’s saying this because his male brain is set up to respond that way.
Surprising reason #2 – Nurture
So whilst nature has given us different brains which mean we look at our marriage from a different perspective, what we experienced in our families when we were growing up will add to this. For many of us we grew up in families with mum and dad in traditional roles (mum raising the children and dad being the breadwinner) which reinforced the different way our brains are set up.
If our husband didn’t have a role model in their life showing them how to talk about their feelings, or to listen to someone who is trying to talk about their own, they never got the chance to build these skills. Which when you add to a brain which is set up to try and solve problems, it’s no surprise that many of our husbands find it difficult to talk about their marriage, or listen when you want to talk about it.
What does mean for my marriage?
You might be reading this feeling a bit deflated. If your husband’s brain is set up for him to problem solve and he didn’t learn how to talk about feelings when growing up, does that mean you won’t be able to talk about your marriage?
The good news there are changes you can make to how you approach conversations which will make it easier for you to be able start and have conversations with your husband about your marriage.
One of the best ways is a simple word swop
How to use the word swop
To use the word swop, you swop the word ‘you’ for ‘I’
‘you’ve upset me’ becomes ‘I am upset’
‘you’re not listening to me’ becomes ‘I don’t feel listened to’
‘you’re not taking me seriously’ becomes ‘I want to explain how important this is to me’
The mums I work with find using the word swop really helps. Helps them to have conversations where their husband listens. Helps them to have conversations where they feel their husband is trying to understand. Helps them to have conversations to start to make changes in their marriage.
So they can start to believe their marriage does have a future.
If you feel like you’re not able to have the conversations you’d like to have with your husband. Or that when you try it doesn’t turn out the way you expected, give the word swop a try. And see if you can start a conversation which will be the first step to saving your marriage.