Recently, a man at one of my conferences spoke up about a marital issue that had been bubbling up for a few months. He works long hours in a high-stress job, and his wife texted or called him several times a day to talk about small matters such as dinner plans or what happened on the playground that day with their preschool-aged daughter.
As he talked, I realized that he was getting frustrated because he thought she was bothering him with minutiae. Of course he appreciated having dinner with his family! Of course he loved his daughter! But really, did she need to interrupt his day to tell him every single detail?
But what I also realized was happening (that he was completely missing!) was the motivation behind his wife’s communication throughout the day. It was not to annoy him. It was simply this: his wife was really missing her best friend.
Even though I didn’t know his wife, it was clear to me that she just wanted someone to talk to and a deeper connection with her husband. While she thought that was achievable by sharing parts of her day with him, he didn’t see those things as worthy of his attention. Whether it was a phone call during the workday or something when he walked through the door at night, he was annoyed and she was left hanging. Lately, they had been arguing about things that didn’t seem to matter much. He didn’t realize that she really needed to be seen . . . and heard.
This husband needed a little guidance on the why behind his wife’s behavior and how he can truly show he cared for her.