It probably comes as no shock to you that one of the top causes of divorce is poor communication. Well, as someone who has sat in many counseling sessions with couples, I believe what it means to be a poor communicator truly runs the gamut—not listening, cutting one's partner off while they are talking, rolling eyes and sucking teeth (55 percent of communication is body language), passive aggressive "I'm fines" and, a real biggie, trying to make one's spouse be just like them. What I mean by that is, watching husbands try and make their wife think/act just like they do and watching wives do the same to their husband.
There's a wise man who once said that when two people are just alike, one of them is totally unnecessary. How this applies to marriage is this—the very differences of your spouse should be what inspires you, improves you and, most of all, balances you out. But if you spend—and by that, I mean waste—time trying to get them to be a carbon copy of yourself, not only is that a super arrogant approach to your relationship, it sets you up to miss some of the life lessons that they could teach you. Ones that will ultimately make you a better individual and life partner.
OK, so with that foundation in place, let me just say that if there was ever an article where "Don't shoot the messenger" applies, this one would have to be it. I say that because the following 10 things are what husbands have told me they think their wife totally misses when it comes to communicating with them and loving them, in general.
Things that, if perhaps more wives accepted them at face value, would make their marriage A LOT easier—in good times and in bad.
Video Games Aren’t (Always) as “Childish” as You Think
I've heard my fair share of wives complaining about how childish their husbands are for playing video games. OK, it's one thing for your man to do nothing but play them or to prefer to do that more than spending quality time with you. But if it's only a couple of times a week, it's best to just leave your man be.
I say that because I've had several husbands tell me that they use that time to process things—how to cover a bill, how to handle a problem at work, how to respond to a complaint from their wife. And while you might think that sounds semi-ridiculous, there are studies to support that playing video games actually does refine motor skills, increase one's memory and can improve one's overall quality of life.
All things in moderation of course, but still.
Refusing Their Initiation of Sex Goes Deeper Than You Think
Once upon a time, I was a teen mom director for the local division of a national non-profit organization. Because I dealt with pregnant adolescents, we talked about sex a lot. Sometimes, the girls would have me meet their boyfriends. Whenever the boys would talk about how important "hittin' it" was to them, the first thing I would say is, "Come here. You need a hug."
The world isn't kind to men—and by that, I'm specifically speaking of our Black men. Even as young people, there is oftentimes so much dysfunction and so little healthy affection in their lives that sex is where they go to get some sort of intimacy (whether they realize it or not).
A lot of grown men? If there's one place where they are totally vulnerable, it's in the bedroom. Sometimes, that's also where they go to feel loved, safe and physically close; especially when that person is their wife.
When a lot of husbands initiate sex and they get abruptly rejected—you know, "Ugh. Is sex all you think about?!" or the slapping away of the hand—sometimes, they don't just feel the sting of not gettin' any, they literally feel like they are totally unwanted as individuals.
This doesn't apply to all husbands, but it's worth asking yours, just to see if he can relate. If he can, try and be gentle in how you refuse sex. Do it the way you'd want him to do it to you if the shoe was on the other foot.
When They Say They Aren’t Thinking About Anything…They Mean It
One of my male friends, who's been married for well over two decades, constantly tells me that while men are physically stronger, women, by far, are more emotionally superior. "Some of the things that y'all can come up with as far as what we're thinking or doing, we are not complicated enough to do those things." And one of those things, for a lot of men, is overthinking—something that a lot of us are Olympians at doing.
If anything in this article topped the pet peeve list for men, a wife asking her husband what he's thinking, him saying nothing and her coming back at him like, "You must be thinking something" tops it. Pretty much every man I've interacted with have said that 9 times out of 10, when they say they are thinking about nothing, they mean it.
THEY. MEAN. IT.
They Are More Tone Sensitive Than Word Sensitive
Again, I'm just the messenger, but did you know that there is scientific data to back up that men sometimes have a difficult time processing the tone of our voice; especially when we're upset? The actual sound waves and vibrations of our voice can make it difficult for them to make out what we're saying. That's because, in order to hear us, they have to use the part of the brain that processes music and that is more complex than the part of the brain that they use to process deeper voices (i.e., other men).
Ah. Now it makes (more) sense why they might ask us to repeat something or remind us in an argument that it's not what we say but how we say it. Their brain sometimes simply can't compute. (Deep.)
Your Husband Picked You to Be a Teammate
One of the husbands I admire most once gave me a compliment that is a favorite to this day—"Shellie, one thing that's gonna make you a good wife is you get the concept of partnership. You want to see the men in your life win."
Along these lines, if there's something that comes up in counseling sessions a lot, it's that many husbands feel like their wife does things to work against their goals, dreams and visions. They don't ask how they can help. They're not willing to use their gifts and talents to get things to the next level. Or, they simply won't give their husband the space and time to make certain plans happen.
When I work with engaged couples, one of the main things I ask is if they feel their life desires complement one another and if they are both willing to invest and make sacrifices to manifest those things. For a married couple who says "yes" and executes in this fashion, they are truly unstoppable!
They Really Wish You Would Keep Certain Things TOTALLY Private
I get pushback on this one all of the time, but it's fine. Personally, when any of my besties get married, I immediately demote myself from "best friend" to "good friend." The reason why is because I respect what "best" means—"of the highest quality, excellence, or standing." I don't want to get in the way of someone seeing their spouse or valuing their relationship with them in this light.
You know what? Ask any couple who has a decade or more under their belt and I'm willing to be some good money that they'll tell you that it was their friendship that kept them together more than anything else; especially spouses who see themselves as being best friends.
And best friends? There are some things that ONLY they know about. And husbands? A lot of them wish their wives would bring that kind of loyalty into their marriage. They wish that some things weren't discussed with their wife's mom, sister or even closest friend. Especially without them knowing about it—beforehand.
Any wife that doesn't like this particular point, think how you would feel if your husband was talking to his dad, brother or close friend about some of your deepest secrets, feelings and intimate issues. Now do you get the reason for sensitivity? #exactly
Even Mama’s Boys Don’t Actually Want to Sleep with Their Mother
I know some mama's boys. Frankly, I'm curious what made their wives want to marry them because when it comes to the lack of emotional boundaries, compounded by the amount of unrealistic expectations that a lot of those kinds of men have, truly blow the mind.
But that's not what I'm talking about here. What I'm addressing is there is not any holistically healthy man who wants his wife to act like his mother—telling him what to do, calling all the shots, dictating his time away from you, etc. I get why a lot of us are this way. After all, our mothers are who taught us how to be women and they taught us that by mothering us.
Still, if you're noticing that your husband is working later and later, avoids confrontation more and more and desires to have sex less and less—think about if you're pulling the "mama card" a lot. If you are, pull back on that. Sex with one's mother isn't sexy. It's incest. And if he feels like you are acting like his mother…you get where I'm going with this.
They Heard You the First Time. They Move in Their Own Time.
Not wanting to be bossed around or nagged to death isn't gender specific. I'd venture to say that's something that gets on all of our nerves. Yet ladies, let's be honest (with ourselves)—a lot of us do it. On this point, I'll just tell you what a single male friend once told me about myself. "I don't know what makes you think that leaving me three voicemails about the exact same thing is going to make me move any faster. I heard you, but I have a methodology in how I do things."
When he first told me that, it kind of pissed me off, so I asked a couple of husbands if they felt it was cool. Not only did they think he made complete and total sense, they said they are the same way. One husband even said, "Whenever my wife asks me to do something around the house and she feels like she needs to say it 10 times, I feel patronized. It's not that I didn't hear her. It's that we have a different expectation of when it should be done. Her time is not right. My time is not wrong. It's only an issue when she feels otherwise."
Just some food for thought, y'all.
Many Take “Leave and Cleave” Literally and Seriously
I love me some Black men. I am intentional about marrying a Black man. But listen here, if there is one man who could change my mind, it's the Michael Landon version of Charles Ingalls (you know, from The Little House on the Prairie). He was so fine and masculine that I even have a T-shirt with him on it!
Anyway, I bring him and his wife Caroline up in counseling quite a bit. One of the things that I'll sometimes say is, "You wanna know a part of the reason why a lot of couples back then stayed together? They got married and, due to distance and lack of funds, they never saw their parents again; this means that their parents stayed out of their business."
I have a husband friend who is currently outdone with his wife because there was something that she wanted (that cost thousands of dollars, by the way) that he didn't agree with. Since he wasn't feelin' it, she went and asked her parents to get it for her. To me, not only did this lean on the side of low down but also selfish. She's in her 40s, her parents are only getting older and I'm pretty sure that money could've gone to better things (like retirement). I also don't get why her parents didn't say, "If your husband is not on board, that's something you need to work out with him."
There is nothing attractive (or even helpful really) about having a husband while still clinging to daddy. Ask any husband you know and he'll back me up on that.
Respect Means More Than Love. Peace Means More Than Beauty.
The Bible tells wives to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:33). The Amplified Version of I Peter 3:2 tells wives how to do it. There's also a really great book that backs Scripture up entitled Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs. One of the points the book makes is, if wives want their husbands to feel loved, respecting them is how to do it.
Whenever a wife rolls her eyes at me on this, it's pretty baffling because, at the end of the day, respect is simply esteeming someone's worth and value and granting them (and only them) certain privileges (like sexual fidelity). What's the big deal about either one of those?
As far as the beauty vs. peace thing, a husband once said something to me that was profound and hilarious at the same time—"Have you ever wondered why some really handsome men have a wife who is like a creature from Jurassic Park? A man prefers 'ugly peace' over 'pretty loud' any day."
Get mad if you want to, but I recently checked out a comedy skit that totally co-signs on what he said. When the woman asked her man what he needed from her, his immediate response was, "loyalty, honesty and just be my peace." She was the exact opposite of those things and it drove him insane.
It all reminds me of what an ex once said, "Men look to their woman to be their sanctuary." A sanctuary is a place of refuge. It's not about not having an opinion or perspective. It's about knowing that you have the power to determine how the energy feels within your household. And, to many men, a woman who relishes in peace and tranquility is far more beautiful than any dime piece Coke bottle.
Ask any husband. I'll bet a billion dollars that he shakes his head from left-to-right for at least 90 seconds in approval while thinking, "She gets it. She really and truly gets it!"
Featured image by Getty Images.
What 5 Men Had To Say About Married Sex - Read More
I Discovered My Husband's Love Language ...And It Changed Everything - Read More
My Husband Was A Stranger In My House & Then He Changed - Read More