Lean in. We are going to tell you a secret about women. Are you ready? All right, here goes: Women like to talk. What? As a married man with a pulse, you already knew that one? Well, do you know this little gem? Women also like to be listened to when they talk. That’s not a bombshell either, you say? That’s just common knowledge? Well, that’s strange, because every day couples tell us that communication is their biggest marital frustration.

In marriage, it’s not enough to just know something is true. Experts say knowledge is only half the battle. Taking action based on that knowledge is the other critical half. Combining what you know with what you do every single day is the only way to keep your marriage vibrant. And research suggests that focusing on communication can be the single best thing men can do to improve the satisfaction they feel in their relationships. Read on for a few simple ways to put into action what you already know about your wife’s language of love.

Listening: Why She Needs It
She nags all the time. She withholds sex. She only pays attention to the kids. You’ve heard them all before — the pet peeves men readily point out about their wives. They’ve become comedic fodder for sitcoms and stand-up comedians. But instead of just laughing at the caricature of the annoying wife, take a moment to look at what’s behind the joke. What you’re likely to find is a husband who doesn’t listen to his wife and a marriage in trouble. Not very funny, is it?

We know, we know. It is hard to listen when you are tired and busy and pressured. We know sometimes you just want a little peace and quiet when you come home after a long day. But listening is love in action. Listening is one of the most loving things you can do for your wife. It is a sign of affirmation. It is the best way to feed another person’s self-esteem and need to connect. In fact, experts suggest that almost all marital conflicts could be resolved if each partner would seek to understand before being understood; in other words, if each person would prioritize listening over being heard.

Here’s another critical point for men to grasp: Listening does not have to mean approval of the message, but it does need to convey acceptance of the messenger. In other words, listening doesn’t mean you tacitly agree with what your wife is saying. The point is, you just need to let her say it. She needs to feel that you are giving her respect and love before she can share herself with you. Period.

Remember, your wife is likely to share her feelings in conversations with you, along with the opinions and thoughts that define how she expresses herself. Accept that her feelings are neither right nor wrong. Accept that feelings come and go and change quickly. Try to not judge your spouse because of feelings she expresses to you. Let her vent. If you consistently give her the gift of your undivided, genuine attention, you will notice an almost immediate impact on your marriage.

Pose Questions She Is Dying to Answer
Though there’s no one right way to listen, subtle tweaks in how you initiate conversation can make a big difference. For example, the way you ask your wife a question can be powerful in building connectedness. Instead of asking questions that result in a yes or no answer, try asking open-ended questions.

Don’t say: “Did you have a good day?”
Instead, try: “What happened today?” or “Tell me about your day.”These questions tell your wife, “You are very important to me.” They demonstrate that you are interested in her and want to reconnect with her after being apart.

Don’t say: “Is it really my turn to do the dishes again?”
Instead, try: “How can I help you?” or “What can I take off your to-do list?”These questions show her your love and respect for her. They show her your consideration for all she does. They show her you are her partner and want to do your share.

Don’t make decisions — even if they seem trivial to you — without engaging your wife.
Instead, try asking her more often: “What do you think?” This opens the conversation to the other person’s views. Remember, women are socialized to expect decisions to be discussed first and to be made by consensus. While men normally take “What do you think” to mean being asked to make a decision, for her the question is an invitation to converse. This question also taps into a woman’s deepest need to be understood.

Final Tip
If communication isn’t your forte, we suggest something we call “micro-communications.” If you have ever taken golf lessons, you know that the instructor begins by having you focus on only one skill at a time. First you learn how to hold the club. Then you’ll focus exclusively on your grip. Next the position of your feet becomes the focal point., then your shoulders.

The same is true of getting out of bad communication habits. Try focusing on one skill at a time. Remember what you’ve learned: a woman never feels more honored and loved than when she feels truly heard by her husband. So in your next conversation, focus on just listening. Make it your goal to seek to understand before being understood. We challenge you to try saying less and listening more. Don’t worry about anything else. By limiting yourself in this way, you can better put into practice what you need to have good communication — one skill at time.

Author's Bio: 

eHarmony Marriage is a new, online alternative to marriage counseling. It's a private, personalized program that is designed to help you enjoy a stronger, happier and healthier relationship. We use your answers to our marriage questionnaire to focus on your areas of greatest need. When you visit eHarmony Marriage and take our questionnaire you'll receive a FREE Marriage Action Plan to show exactly how we can help you. http://marriage.eHarmony.com