It’s natural to want to feel close to your man by sharing your feelings and hearing his feelings too.
But what if he has no idea how to do that?
What if you ask how he’s feeling and he just shrugs and clams up? What if the only feeling he’ll acknowledge is… hunger?
You know he has feelings, but he just won’t talk about them. You wonder if he’s defective and maybe doesn’t even know what he’s feeling, which does not seem healthy.
I used to worry about that with my husband, but then I learned a thing or two about a thing or two.
Now that we have an unbreakable emotional connection, I realize I was going about things all wrong.
Here’s how to know what your husband is feeling.
1. Stop Asking Him How He Feels
I know it seems like a very basic human skill to say how you feel, and sometimes your husband or boyfriend will express a feeling–but rarely when you’re asking him to.
When I used to ask my husband how he felt, he said it made him uncomfortable to be put on the spot like that. He felt like a deer in headlights and couldn’t think of anything.
In other words, it made him defensive, which meant I had a better chance of connecting–which is what I really wanted–if I’d never asked!
Turns out it’s not just my husband. I’ve since learned that women have the gift of emotional brilliance, whereas feelings are not a very comfortable topic for men.
Therefore, turning my inquiry to how I feel has created the connection I crave more than asking him how he feels, which I don’t do anymore.
Why would I? It never got me what I wanted. I hear the same thing from thousands of women I’ve worked with.
2. Give Him the Floor
Another way to find out what’s on your husband’s mind is to make an effort to give him some dedicated air time.
One great way to do that is to say simply “I hear you” when he is talking. Nothing else. Just let him know that you’re paying attention to what he’s saying. You might add “mm hm.”
You may be surprised to hear how much he has to say when you try this exercise, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.
You’ll likely feel tempted to jump in with suggestions or reassurance or to share a similar experience. But if you can manage to only listen, you’ll create emotional safety, which will motivate him to want to open up to you even more.
Listening involves not just accurately hearing what your husband says but also hearing who he is and how he views life, what concerns he has, what he thinks about and more.
It won’t be the same way you think. But learning to respect other styles of thinking also helps you develop a deeper acceptance and appreciation for your own.
3. Listen for His Heart Message
Although it’s often overlooked, listening is a vital skill for emotional connection. One way to listen is to look for a heart message.
A heart message is a statement that sounds like one thing on the surface but means something else when you probe a little deeper.
Your husband may not be explicit about his emotions, but you’ll hear his vulnerability and his truth if you listen carefully.
Heart messages are sometimes hidden under what sounds like a complaint. But if you can develop your skill to hear what’s underneath, you’ll not only have better connection, you’ll feel more loved.
You’ll also create a culture of tenderness and safety.
One woman noticed her husband was grumbling about money a lot and how he had to work so hard to earn it.
At first she was annoyed that he was complaining so much. But then she wisely listened for his heart message. Why would he be complaining about having to work?
She suspected he was trying to say “I don’t feel appreciated.”
Instead of dismissing him or rolling her eyes, she told him how happy and grateful she was that he worked so hard to support the family. She was amazed when her husband immediately relaxed.
He seemed relieved that she got him.
The connection between them grew stronger in that exchange, even though he never said how he felt.
Listening with your heart will not only enhance your marriage, it will improve your relationships with family and friends too.
4. Know that He Feels Deeply Too
Monique told the story of being in a terrible mood and feeling irritated by her husband because he wouldn’t just let her be. Although she had been practicing Intimacy Skills for a while, she was just not at her best that morning.
They had been bickering on and off all morning when she finally said, “Why won’t you just leave me alone?!”
He bravely responded, “Because I’m scared.”
Luckily there was some intimacy in the bank at Monique’s house and he let her know exactly how he felt, but not because she’d asked him.
Even if they don’t talk about it much, my experience is that big, strong men also feel hurt, unappreciated, scared and vulnerable in their relationships. Mine sure did before I learned what I know now about how to have a playful, passionate relationship.
I was slow to realize it, I’m sorry to say.
It was so much easier to restore the connection once I learned how to listen with my heart.
What will you try with your husband to become a better listener?