It is difficult to listen to your spouse complain about a flaw that he sees within you.  This is especially true if you disagree about the severity of the flaw and have trouble controlling it.  Most of the time, this is a reoccurring frustration.

However, sometimes this issue escalates to the point where it is potentially a deal-breaker in your marriage.  Sometimes your spouse becomes sure that he can not deal with this perceived flaw anymore.  He may also believe that it is never going to change and so he considers separating or ending your marriage because of it.

Here's a typical scenario to show you what I mean.  A husband may feel that his wife does not truly listen to him.  He may also accuse her of neglecting him. Because of this, he might feel that she can't possibly provide what he wants.  She might explain: "when my husband and I were dating, he would tease me that I am in my own little world.  He seemed to think that this was cute.  I admit that it is my nature to only be able to focus on one thing at a time.  And although my husband has always noticed this about me, it wasn't a huge issue in the beginning.  Once we had been married for a little while, my husband started complaining that I have 'selective listening' and that I don't make a habit of truly listening to or paying attention to him.  Therefore, I tend to forget things that are important to him or occasionally have no clue what he is talking about.  The other day, I came home and noticed that my husband was all dressed up. I asked him what was going on.  He angrily told me that we were supposed to go to an office party and that he had mentioned this to me several times.  He then angrily commented that I never listen to him.  He claims I never make him my priority. He said that he's so tired of it that he does not know if he wants to be in our marriage anymore.  He was cold to me the entire night and he's not yet gotten over it.  He is still carrying on about possibly separating.  I asked him if he was going to end our marriage over one little thing.  He said that this was not a little thing for him.  He said that it's not unreasonable to expect your spouse to care enough to listen to you.  The thing is, I do care about my husband.  I care very much.  But I do tend to be in my own world and I live in my own head.  I tune out a lot, but I don't mean to.  How can I fix this?"

Understand Why This Is A Big Deal To Your Spouse: I can relate to what you are going through. I believe that some personality types have trouble focusing on several things at once.  I too tend to live in my own head quite a bit. I was the kid who was always daydreaming in class. And then I would get called on by the teacher and have no idea what she was asking me. I wouldn't call myself ignoring her or neglecting my responsibilities. It just can be difficult for me to hold several things simultaneously.

The thing is, there are some occasions where zoning out is no big deal. But when you are dealing with your spouse feeling valued and heard, then it becomes a very big deal.  If someone feels that you don't care enough to listen and pay attention, this is going to seriously damage your marriage.

Part of the draw of being married is feeling loved and understood.  Without that, people tend to check out of their marriages or seek validation elsewhere.  This is not what you want.

I can't tell you that changing your inclination to zone out is easy.  It isn't.  But it can be done.  I have had some success in doing it, although I admit that occasionally, I catch myself resorting back to daydreaming.

The trick is to train yourself to give the person you're with your full attention at the time.  It is easier to do this with children because they truly do NEED your full attention.  It is harder to do this with adults because they do not.  However, when you are talking about something as important as your marriage, you need to prioritize this skill. ( I learned this the hard way. Although I turned things around, I was separated for a time. You can read about how I saved my marriage here.)

How To Separate Important Aspects Of Your Life So You Can Give Them Your Attention When You Need To: Over time, I have learned to make time for my daydreaming and creative output. I write and journal in the morning when my husband is gone.  I prioritize this time because I need to get everything out.  I do not miss a day, not ever.  Because this is a non-negotiable habit, I do not need to daydream or live in my own head as much.  I know that I have my scheduled time.   And if something pops up, I know that there is always tomorrow.  So it's easier for me to give my husband more of my attention when we are together.

It's important to learn to be present in the moment that is right in front of you.  This takes practice.  But it's vital.  It's not unreasonable for your husband to want to be heard or to want your attention.  There are many phone apps that help to teach you to be present in the moment.  My favorite is headspace and it's free to sign up and try it out.

Right now, your most immediate obstacle is convincing your husband that you take this issue seriously and that you can and will change.  You might try: "honey, the last thing that I want is for you to feel that I don't hear you.  Or to feel neglected. I promise that I will make this my highest priority.  I tend to zone out and I'm going to work very hard on that. I know that this makes you feel as if you are not important to me, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I intend to show you real change and not just words.  And I apologize for forgetting about your work function.  It will not happen again."

Of course, when you make these types of promises, you have to back them up.  And you have to understand that your husband is trying to get your attention.  He likely wants to be heard more than he wants a divorce.  Listen carefully.  Give him your undivided attention when you are together.  And when he mentions something important, make notes to remind yourself.  When he sees that you are making a real effort, this situation should improve.

Listening is one of the most essential skills that any spouse can have.  Your marriage should be where your spouse feels heard and cared for.  Never underestimate this need and never take it for granted.  I did and it almost ended my marriage.  That is why I stress taking care of issues immediately rather than waiting.  Because waiting almost meant I got a divorce. You can read about how I turned things around on my blog at

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