It's a question asked by countless wives: How can I get my husband to share his feelings?
Roland Warren is president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, an organization focused on strengthening the role of the father in the family. He stresses that couples need to soften the way they approach each other. For women dealing with reticent husbands, these ideas may open the lines of communication.
The Three Rs
Roland says you should remember three critical ideas when communicating with your spouse. First, relax by managing your emotions, words and actions. Secondly, relate to your husband; seek to understand him. Finally, release: When an argument is over, leave it that way.
Find a Good Time and Place
Before trying to have a talk with your husband, pick a time when he's most relaxed not when he's walking in the door from work. Men are activity-oriented, so try taking a walk while you talk, or take a long drive...just the two of you, to get his full attention.
Roland suggests beginning with some warm-up questions. Use them to spark a meaningful conversation between you and your husband. Be sure to listen to your spouse's responses without judging him. Remember, the goal is to understand where he's coming from. Try these sample questions:
•When you worry, what do you worry about most?
•When do you feel happiest?
The Bigger Picture
After you've used the warm-up questions, try these:
•What one thing would make this the best year of our lives?
•How can I support your role as a father?
•What do you dream for yourself?
You may be able to start a conversation, but don't become too frustrated if your husband doesn't completely open up immediately. Sometimes, just expressing your interest can be the beginning of bigger communication.