There is something right now that you should ask your wife, but for a number of reasons, you’re afraid to do so. I think the more afraid you are of asking, the more important it is that you ask. What prevents us from having communication with our wives that is deep and meaningful?
Communicating with our wives is an interesting exercise. On a daily basis we converse about the routines of life. What to get at the market. Who is picking up who. Sometimes in the commotion of life, we can forget about the deep and meaningful communication we should be having. The conversations that will strengthen our marriages, grow them, and help us to have a deeper appreciation for the other. What are the benefits of these conversations, and how do we have them?
Things Happened Today
We do this all the time in our house. It’s sort of the “welcome home” greeting. We even ask the kids how there day was at school. We care about you and what happens to you. I know my wife likes to decompress this way. Putting our day into words can help us make sense of what happened.
This can be a very safe place to be emotionally. This is usually routine conversation. We rarely become emotionally vulnerable talking about our day. These conversations aren’t bad, but if this is the only level of communication we practice, then we’re missing out on deeper conversations and deeper connections. We stay here because it’s comfortable, but I married my wife to have a best friend, not a business partner.
Husbands, Wives, and Deep Connection
Having deep conversations can be emotionally exhausting, so we don’t want to be here all the time. This reminds me of an unhealthy relationship where every single conversation is emotional and potentially relationship ending. That’s not healthy.
But it is healthy to move past the surface and talk about how we’re feeling. This is a harder place to be. It means moving beyond sharing our lives like it were a documentary, and sharing our story and how we feel. When we start to reflect on our emotional state and reveal deeper parts of ourselves, we are making ourselves vulnerable. Through this vulnerability we can allow our relationships to go deeper. We start to understand each other, support each other, and grow our love for each other.
Why is it Hard to Open Up?
If there are obvious benefits to emotionally vulnerable conversation, why do some of us have such a hard time going there?
When we open up and share with our significant other, we’re putting ourselves at their mercy. If your wife shares how something at work really hurt her and the emotions she is dealing with, your response is important. If you’re supportive, understanding, and empathetic, it can be a positive experience. It can reassure her that she is loved, and if she wants it, you can help her process why she feels the way that she does.
But if you meet her with judgement, or rush her along like you have better things to do, then it can be a negative experience. Now, instead of drawing you closer together, it can actually push your farther apart. The next time she has something weighing on her mind, she might decide to keep it there instead of confide in you.
For a lot of men, we don’t wear our emotions on our sleeves. They can tend to stay up in our brains, and we try and process them alone, or let them fester until they manifest themselves in unhealthy ways. Rarely do I get home and want to talk about how I’m feeling, or process any emotions out loud. If you’re like me, this means you will have to consciously make opportunities to go deeper.
Taking Purposeful Action to Go Deeper
The other week I thought to myself, what is the question that I am most afraid to ask my wife? Stop and ask yourself, what it is the single thing you are most afraid to have your wife answer? That fear means you are afraid of the response, and it might be preventing you from developing a deeper relationship with your wife.
Putting words into action, I did it. I had a question on my mind that I was absolutely afraid to ask, because I knew it might not give me an answer I wanted to hear. My question? Copy and pasted directly from the email I sent her, here it is.
Do you feel like the workload at home is split evenly? Or do you feel you do too much? And if so, what do you want help with that you aren’t getting right now?
I was afraid of asking her this, because I knew the answer might not be positive. That she might say “no,” I don’t do enough around the house. That I’m not pulling my weight. If I’m honest with myself, I feel that I could do more, but I didn’t want to see her actually express that! Here’s some of her response (with her permission of course).
Overall I do feel like the workload at home is pretty even. At times, I admit that I get overwhelmed and feel like I am doing more than half, but when I sit down and examine more closely, you DO do a lot for us…I think it’s easy to just “see” what we do ourselves (ignoring the other person’s jobs) and thus not appreciate what or how much, the other one actually does.
And that started a conversation we otherwise would not have had. In her email she listed some of the stuff I do around the house, but more important than weighing who does what, it helped us open up to each other. It helped us think about what the other does that we don’t always think about. It helped us appreciate each other. When she said she feels overwhelmed sometimes…that’s the part I didn’t want to hear, because I knew it was true. She was very gracious, but I know I can help out more. And I love that this conversation is now a safe topic for us to talk about and be open with each other.
I Challenge You
This week, ask your wife the question that you’re afraid to know the answer to. It can be scary, but the fact that you’re coming to your wife, vulnerable, and interested in what she thinks is a great gesture.
Don’t settle for acquaintance level conversations. It might not be comfortable, in fact, it might be downright difficult, but deep communication is vital to a long and fulfilling relationship. It’s something we need to practice, and the sooner we begin, the sooner we can reap the benefits.
If you’re feeling brave…what question are you going to ask? And if you’re even braver…what was her response?