I often hear from wives who feel as if they may as well be speaking a foreign language to their husbands because he doesn't seem to understand what they are saying, especially when it comes to their feelings.  It's often a struggle to make their husband listen and understand, especially when these feelings are emotional ones that are negatively affecting the marriage.

I heard from a wife who said: "I'm a stay at home mom and I'm grateful that I can stay at home.  But there are times when I get so lonely and I feel so taken for granted that I feel as if I am going to explode.  When I try to express this to my husband, he insinuates that I'm whining and he tunes me out.  I am not sure how much longer I can take this.  It makes me feel as if I don't matter or if I'm the second class citizen in my own home.  Occasionally, when he does listen, he belittles me and his comments make it clear that he doesn't understand me at all.  What can I do to make him see how I feel?  And how can I get him to care about what is important to me?"

This is a very common but workable issue.  Wives very commonly feel that their husbands don't understand their feelings.  And when this issue reaches a point where the wife doesn't feel understood on the important or central issues, then it can eventually pose a threat to the marriage. It's vital that you feel heard and understood.  So in the following article, I'll offer some tips that might help with this.

Be Careful That You Don't Sound Critical.  And Make It Clear That You Don't Expect Him To Fix All Of Your Problems: If you were to talk the husband on the other side of this scenario, he might say something like this: "my wife says I don't listen to or understand her, but the truth is, I try my best but it's impossible.  She sort of rambles on.  I listen and then I offer suggestions about what might make things better.  But she just sighs and looks at me like I don't get it.  Then a few days later, we go through the whole thing again.  And it gets old.  I'm not sure what she wants from me.  Our kids need a lot from her because they're small. This won't last forever.  I know it's not a glamorous job, but I don't know how to make things better for her."

See, much of the time, the husband feels a little helpless.  Men often think that when we talk about our feelings, we are asking them to fix things.  But what we really want is for them to listen and then to validate us.  We want for them to understand why we feel the way that we do and we want for them to feel empathy because they love us and they want for us to be happy.

But when they try to fix things and nothing improves, then our husbands start to feel as if we're just whining or don't really want to change or improve things.  That's why it's so important that you try to make it clear that you really want for him to listen to you and then just offer you some validation or support.  That way, both of you will feel as if his listening and attempting to understand is actually worth the effort and is actually getting you somewhere.

Make It Worth His While To Listen And Understand:  It's a pretty safe bet that your pay off from your husband's attention and understanding is that you feel a little bit better and you also feel more close to him.  But have you ever stopped to ask yourself if he's getting any pay off?  Because human nature is such that people aren't as willing to participate in something that doesn't offer a regular pay off.  He needs to feel as if it's in his best interest to make every attempt to not only listen, but to understand.

That's why it's vital that you make this process worth his while.  When he does listen and offers you some validation or understanding, make sure that you offer lots of praise and appreciation.  Understand his currency and use this to his advantage. For example, if he wants more physical intimacy with you, make sure you offer it up after he listens and understands.  That way, he will associate this with a pleasurable process and he won't resist in the future but will instead be a willing participant.

Make Sure That You're Clear Enough So That His Understanding Is Actually Possible:  I know that there are things that my girlfriends will understand about my feelings almost immediately and with out a lot of explanation.  I also know that sometimes, I have to talk to my husband in a different way that I talk to my girlfriends.  Men sometimes don't easily understand feelings in the way that women do.  That's why it can greatly help your cause if you try to be as clear as you possibly can.  If possible, try to relate your situation to something that he can identify with.

For example, you might say something like: "remember when you didn't get credit for that project at work and you felt unappreciated?  Well, that's how I feel on a regular basis and it makes me withdraw.  I know that you don't want for me to feel unhappy and I need your help."  This is so much more specific than saying something vague like "no one ever notices or appreciates what I do and I'm sick of it." Because when you make vague and accusatory phrases like this, not only does he become defensive, but he often doesn't know what he can do because you haven't been very specific.

If there is something that you want and need from him, simply ask.  Unfortunately, men can't read our minds.  They often do want to help us and they want for us to be happy, but sometimes we have to spell it out for them and be careful with our delivery. And when they do the right thing and actually listen, then we have to reward them so that we create the new habits that are going to make us feel understood and validated on a regular basis.

My husband and I went through this cycle for a long time until we eventually separated.  It wasn't until we learned to communicate in a whole new way that I actually had hope that our marriage might not only be saved, but be one that we both enjoyed.  If it helps, you can read our story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

Author's Bio: 

There are links to more articles about saving your marriage at http://isavedmymarriage.com/