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Communication In Marriage

4 Tips to Get Your Husband to Talk about His Feelings

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?


By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

14 replies on “Communication In Marriage”

This technique is a game changer.
in few months the silent treatment and the sighs and complaints I’d receive in answer every time I’d try to ask how he feels, turned into self initiated daily conversations about feelings and opinions. Nowadays, he’d start talking when I’m not focused and I feel embarrassed, or sometimes I get overexcited that he’s sharing something deeper on his own and I can’t focus on the story 🙂

I love this blog! It’s excellent. I learned from reading this that what I thought was pure listening – is actually not..
I would listen without giving suggestions but I would interupt often to clarify what he was meaning or trying to say to make sure I was understand every detail and therefore connecting to my husband in the maximum way. I was very engaged verbally in his sharing – asking questions, definitely giving verbal reassurance of what he was sharing. Now that I think about it, I think he was on guard with his sharing as he was waiting for my questioning, etc. I think I will try and just listen more. I hope from here I will get more emotions in his sharing!!

This helped me acknowledge that this is what I do also. But sometimes I take it a step further and “coach” him. (OOPS!) He really is just looking for me to listen. Thanks for sharing that example.

I can really identify with this. My husband sure doesn’t like when I ask how he feels. Now I know why.
So now I will try to figure out what he is feeling when he complains. Here’s an example. With our big holiday season upon us, we have lot of big family meals. My husband will be irritated and ask me – did you defrost …. from the freezer? Did you remember to add salt to …….? I know why he is asking these questions. Because it DOES happen that I forget to defrost something, or don’t add enough salt. How can I respond to his fear that things may not be 100% smooth, or 100% to his liking?
Any advice would be appreciated.

Sharona, I love your awareness and your intention to listen for your husband’s heart message. It sounds challenging to respond to such questions, especially when he’s irritated. I would feel criticized, micromanaged and afraid myself!

I’m no Martha Stewart and have certainly not lived up to doing everything 100% to my husband’s liking! I remember feeling hurt by his disapproval and annoyance with me. The 6 Intimacy Skills lifted the pressure to please him, and I now bask in his gratitude and respect for my efforts.

You too can feel cherished, desired and adored, even when you forget the salt! I invite you to experiment with the 6 Intimacy Skills. You can get them from my book The Empowered Wife. Here’s a free chapter:

We are separated. He sends me critical texts. After listen to this counsel. I feel I need to go back to the text and listen better to what he is really saying. Ty.

Geez… That’s exactly what I’m going through. Your advice was AN EYE OPENER.


My heart is broken so sorry I cannot hear with my heart. My heart is not only broken but does not how to feel itself. I don’t know if it beats anymore I think it’s dead!

Anne, I’m sorry to hear that you cannot listen with your heart because it feels dead. It sounds like what you’ve been through has been so painful! Your vulnerability is so attractive.

I remember feeling heartbroken when I thought I was trapped in a loveless marriage. Learning the 6 Intimacy Skills allowed me to get in touch with my feelings, and before long I was feeling cherished, desired and adored!

I would love to give you the support to heal your heart and to feel again. I invite you to my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at

Hi Laura, I’ve been reading your messages and they feel helpful. But one problem I continue to have with my husband is that, no matter how I try , I can never get him to show me he cares about what I’m feeling. I can cry , I can try to tell him calmly , I can be angry or say nothing, but nothing will get him to respond or react and show me that he cares that I am upset about something. The only reaction I get is anger, he tells me all the time -I didn’t come home to talk about this. In the past he has said and done things to betray the trust in our marriage, and has finally agreed that the way he treated me was wrong and he’s said he is sorry. I keep not being able to get over that hurt because he never really acknowledged how big of a deal it was and he almost yells sorry at me instead of sincerely apologizing. Do you have any advice for helping me?

Lyss, it’s so painful that your husband betrayed you then gets angry and yells when you share your feelings. Ouch! I really admire your commitment to the Intimacy Skills and to healing your marriage.

My crying used to be a turnoff too. But as I continued practicing the 6 Intimacy Skills, I started to feel cherished, desired and adored–especially when I showed him my softer side.

I’d love to give you some support to help heal the hurt so you can receive the consideration and caring you deserve. I invite you to my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at

Laura, I have been practicing the 6 skills from your book. However I still fell as though I am not important to my husband. Between his work schedule and coaching schedule, I feel that there is no time set aside for our relationship. I have been doing more self care for myself, but also find it difficult as I am a new mom and the baby comes first. I have been really trying to see him communicate through his actions. He cleans up the kitchen every night after dinner which shows me he cares. I just don’t ever feel like a priority.

MaryAnn, that is painful to feel that you don’t come first for your husband, especially with the effort you’re making to be a good wife. I admire you for being so committed to practicing the Intimacy Skills (and to receiving his support around the house)!

One client was hurt, lonely and scared she’d never come first for her husband, who seemed more interested in going to the bar or watching TV all day. She got the book but struggled to practice the Intimacy Skills effectively and consistently. She just couldn’t see her blind spots on her own. That all changed once she got coaching support. Her husband started treating her like a queen and putting her first.

You deserve to feel like you are what’s most important to your husband. I’d love to give you more support to help you be cherished and adored. I invite you to my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at

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