Communication is a vital part of any marriage, and a marriage not marked by open, honest communication is one that will never enjoy more than a shallow intimacy. The reason for this can be found in the differences between men and women when it comes to communication.
Most husbands I know are content to give a once-every-two-or-three-days overview on how they are doing. Most wives want a detailed conversation about what is going on in their husband’s life and mind every single day.
Early in our marriage, I would walk in the door after work and Karen would grill me with questions: How was your day? Who did you see? What did they say? Not only did I not want to be interrogated when I got home, but Karen wouldn’t accept one-word answers like “Fine,” “Nobody,” and “Nothing.”
She wanted detail. I wanted some peace and quiet. It was frustrating for both of us.
The solution is finding a good balance between those two extremes. First, a man needs to accept the fact that communication is a legitimate need for his wife — it’s not just something she wants.
So when she grills you for information, she’s not trying to be nosy or unreasonable. She is trying to be part of your life. Sharing information is one of the most powerful ways a wife is made to feel one with her husband.
On the other hand, wives need to understand that, for many men, sharing detailed information about their activities or feelings makes them feel uncomfortable. For them to open up completely is not like flipping a switch — it takes practice, and women need to let them go through this process with patience and encouragement.
It took me awhile, but eventually I realized this in my own marriage. I saw how much it meant to Karen, so I set aside a time every day to talk to her. When our kids were small, we put them to bed around 8:30 or 9 pm, then spent the next hour just talking. No television. No distractions. Just the two of us.
As the kids grew older and began going to bed later, we simply required them to be in their rooms by 9 pm, reading or studying, so we could have our time alone.
When we first started doing this, I actually believed that I was sacrificing for my wife. What a prince I was, forfeiting my valuable time to do something silly like talking!
But soon that time became the highlight of my day. I began to enjoy it just as much as Karen did. We’re still spending that hour together today. It works because we both made a compromise. I agreed to open up and talk in detail. She agreed not to grill me when I came home from work.
Open, frank, and honest communication is essential for marital success. Women seldom have affairs because of sex. They have affairs because they find a man who will communicate with them in a sensitive, open manner, making them feel special.
A husband who wants to affair-proof his marriage needs to be prepared to open up. A wife who wants to affair-proof her marriage needs to give him space and time as he learns to do so. And both must be willing to compromise.