This is for all the wives that have husbands that have ideas and hobbies we do not understand, because they are from Mars, of course. We just don’t get that desire for golf, hunting, fishing, RC cars, classic cars and so on. Or sometimes their desires may clash with something we need or value. We can learn effective communication that helps us show more understanding and improves our intentions with our spouse.

Since I’ve known my husband, he has been a classic car and hot rod connoisseur. He watches all the TV shows and drools at the screen when there is a cool car across it. He dreams and builds cars in his head. He approached me one day and told me his desire to purchase an old truck that he could restore.

My husband mentally prepared and waited for his opportunity and timing. He knows my need for security comes in all forms, including financial security and planning for the future. He illustrated an example for us all. He began the conversation with focusing on my need for security and to be included in the decision making with him. Historically, I would have jumped in, before he even finished his sentence to defend my feelings, rights, and values. This is a natural human reaction, when we feel our rights or something we value is being violated. I could have assumed he didn’t value my need for security when he presented a desire for this big purchase. Something was different about this interaction and my reaction. We both remained so calm and in control.

We can learn healthy communication skills from this tale.

Before you ask for what you want or express how you feel about something, follow these guidelines. Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes to show empathy. Pause and consider their fears, experiences, priorities, values, and goals. Validate them. Convey you care and are concerned for what matters to them. Then ask.

When it’s your turn to listen. Be intentional. Don’t judge, assume, interrupt, react or defend your position or feelings. It was easier for me to do this when they had been addressed at the beginning. I didn’t feel the urgency and need to. However, we can show patience and grace in how we listen. Intentional listening leads to a loving response, instead of a selfish reaction with false assumptions of the other’s motives.