wikiHow to Get Your Husband to Listen to You

Three Parts:Changing Your ApproachOvercoming Barriers to CommunicationRecognizing Differences

Do you feel like every time you open your mouth all your husband hears is white noise? Do you state your opinion but don't feel heard by your spouse? Many women complain about their husbands not listening. The secret to getting your husband to listen lies in understanding and working with your differences. Men and women have drastically different communication styles. Learn how to communicate with your husband more effectively so that he actually starts listening to what you have to say.

Part 1
Changing Your Approach

  1. Image titled Attract a Boy Step 4
    Choose a location where you can talk without distractions. While it might be tempting to call him on his cell phone in the very moment you become upset, calling at work or while he is busy is not going to end well.[1]
    • The best location is somewhere quiet, without cell phones or the TV on. If you have children wait until they are asleep or out of the house to avoid any little ears.
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    Ask whether it is a good time. When you approach him, your husband may be in a bad mood, sleepy, or angry—these aren’t good times to talk. When you ask to speak to him, you have to also be ready for him to say it isn’t a good time and to respect that.[2]
    • If it isn’t a good time in the moment, ask him when it would be better. If you want a two way discussion, you have to respect his request if talking needs to wait.
    • Set a realistic time if it does need to wait, and stick to it.
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    Sit beside him rather than face-to-face. Sitting face-to-face can be intimidating and even making eye contact during a tough conversation can be distracting. Sitting next to him sets a more comfortable and open environment for the talk to start.[3]
    • Men want respect out of relationships, and forced eye contact can be a sign of aggression for some men.
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    Signal to him that the topic is important. We all live busy lives and have learned to tune background noise out to get to the important stuff. He needs to know when you truly need his undivided attention.
    • We all have those moments where you say “Yes dear” without listening, so don’t take it personal if it takes a few times for him to hear how important the subject is. Make sure when he agrees to talk he has really heard your request.[4]
    • Some of the best ways to signal that the conversation is important would include getting closer to him and speaking in a different tone than you would normally banter back and forth in. Getting his attention does not mean yelling or raising your voice.

Part 2
Overcoming Barriers to Communication

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    Be direct and to-the-point.[5] Your husband can appreciate you making your point clear right away rather than beating around the bush. What's more, if your message isn't succinct, you run the risk of losing your husband's attention. If you go on and on without getting to the point, your husband may eventually tune you out.
    • Getting to the point does not mean making accusations or jumping right into emotions. It means assertively telling him what you want to talk about as factually as possible and giving him time to respond.
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    Refrain from nagging. This is the type of stuff that is easy for him to tune out because nagging does not work. Nagging for a man is demoralizing and manipulative and gives them no real motivation to comply.[6]
    • Nagging does not work because you are asking him to do something over and over again that for whatever reason he hasn’t already done. You asking him to take care of a chore the same bothersome way for the 10th time tonight will not finally work.
    • Nagging does not work because men have learned to tune it out, and often feel like you are treating them like a child when you nag. You would nag and use a guilt trip with someone you have power over, not a partner. Men want to feel powerful and appreciated, that just does not happen with nagging.
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    Use “I” statements. This prevents blaming on your part and defensiveness on his part. This does not mean simply starting out every line with “I” and complaining. “I” statements clearly take ownership of your emotions and give your husband a clear link to whatever action he has made that caused you to feel a certain way.
    • The formula for an “I” statement would be: “I” feel _____ when you ______ because ______.[7]
    • Examples of “I” statements might include any of the following:
      • “I feel embarrassed when you tease me in front of your family because I want them to like me.”
      • “I feel frustrated when you were late for Sam’s teacher conference because I don’t know what to say.”
      • “I feel angry when you make financial decisions alone because I don’t know about them.”
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    Ensure that you listen to him in turn. Your husband may not listen to you because when he speaks he does not feel heard. Observe your own listening behaviors to see if you could improve in this area. Practice active listening. Instead of listening to figure out your response or defense, really listen to what he is actually saying and acknowledge it.[8]
    • Paraphrase his key statements and repeat them back to him to make sure that, firstly, he knows you have heard him and, secondly, that you understand his statements. Understanding what he is saying is very different than agreeing, you may not always agree with him but you can always hear him.
    • Paraphrasing and putting the “echo” you repeat back to him in an “I” statement will help clarify what he is feeling and what he feels is the reason for that. It also serves to validate his feelings.[9]
    • An example of paraphrasing might go as follows:
      • Husband: “I am tired of your yelling. I am tired when I get home and don’t need to be yelled at. I am not stupid. I can’t even get in the door before you start.”
      • Wife: “I hear that you do not like me yelling and feel frustrated by being bombarded with requests when you first get home from work, is that correct?”
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    See a marriage counselor. Unfortunately, you can make a wide range of changes to your communication and still experience problems with your spouse not listening. Sometimes, your husband not listening can point to a deeper issue. The two of you should contact a marriage counselor in your area who can help you work through more serious barriers to communication.
    • For example, if your partner has an undiagnosed case of ADHD, you may often feel like he's not listening.[10] Furthermore, your husband may not respect your opinion or withdraw from emotionally charged conversations. Any of these issues can be recognized and managed with professional help.

Part 3
Recognizing Differences

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    Learn his love language. Men and women simply communicate very differently, but that does not mean one is better than the other. Women tend to be more flexible in their communication styles so they are able to adapt to how the men need to be communicated with.
    • Women want to be appreciated in a relationship while men want to be respected.
    • Women can be more flexible when it comes to adapting because men are wired to be leaders not caregivers in a traditional sense. Knowing that a man is seeking respect and working to talk to him in a respectful manner goes a long way.[11]
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    See if he prefers to talk over shared activities. Choosing an activity where you can be active together like taking a walk or playing golf gets his kinetic energy flowing and may open him up to talk.
    • If he is already feeling that you will not listen to him, an intense conversation is not going to be his first choice in communicating. A shared activity shows you “get him” and makes him more comfortable.[12]
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    Find out how he feels most respected. Showing him adequate respect in the way that is fulfilling to him could be the ticket to having him listen more.[13]
    • Men tend to focus on what you do and less on what you say. Showing him you respect him may include taking the special effort to give him space when he first gets home because he needs time to unwind.


  • Remember that getting your husband to listen to you is a process--it may take several attempts.
  • Be direct and tell him what's going on--don't expect him to read your mind.
  • Work with your husband to communicate in a way that is most helpful to him.


  • Stop yourself from nagging. While you may be frustrated and annoyed, nagging will only prevent you from reaching your goal.

Article Info

Categories: Marriage Issues