When your marriage is struggling, it can be hard to know what to say. Saying certain things can make the marriage even harder. And often these phrases, such as “I knew I should never have married you!” are the first things that we say thanks to anger, frustration, and pain.
If you can manage to avoid saying hurtful things, then often nothing is said at all. Not saying anything can cause a distance between you and your husband and deteriorate the marriage. Therefore, you need to communicate with your husband, but you need to say the right things.
If you are at a loss for words right now, this article will talk about some things to say to your husband when marriage is hard. We will talk about what you should say, why, and how to follow up if your husband responds negatively.
1. Can You Help Me Understand Your Side Of Things?
Part of not being able to solve problems is not being able to communicate effectively. You need to know what your husband is thinking and struggling with in order to work on things. If he doesn’t open up about his true feelings, then you will never know what needs to be done to solve any problems he is having in the marriage.
If you are yelling at your husband to tell you what he’s thinking, then you are telling him what he needs to do, and men don’t respond well to that. Men have an elemental need to provide and support, so asking for help has always been and will always be a way to get your husband to listen and even take action.
Therefore, ask him if he can help you understand where he is coming from. Asking for his help will trigger his basic need to provide you with something, and you should get more insight into how he is feeling or what he is struggling with at the moment.
But, you need to be prepared to accept the information he gives you. You need to be willing to listen, accept it, and find a way to work through it. The fact is that what he tells you is his truth, and you can’t make it smaller than it is or tell him how wrong he is. If you do, he will never try to help you understand his point of view again without a lot of encouragement and struggle.
What If He Says No?
What if he tells you that he doesn’t want to help you understand his side of things? You can’t force him to tell you anything. But, you can tell him that if he is not willing to share how he feels or share his concerns, then you will be unable to help him have a better time in the marriage, and you will be unable to repair whatever has gone wrong. If he wants things to work out, then he will likely decide that sharing is a good thing at this point.
You can also ask him if he would feel more comfortable talking with someone who can mediate the conversation, such as a therapist. He may just be worried that you are going to judge him or put down his thoughts and feelings, and a mediator may make him feel more comfortable. Alternatively, the thought of going to a therapist may make him more willing to talk to you openly without having to resort to that kind of discomfort.
And if he just won’t open up, then you can only move forward working on your side of the marital problems that you are aware of. Sometimes your efforts will cause him to be more willing to open up. But, it’s important to realize that if they don’t, his concerns are not likely to be dealt with, and they will continue to be a problem until he is willing to work on them.
2. I Want To Work On The Marriage So We Can Be Happier
When the marriage is hard, we can be quick to point out that fact over and over again. It’s common to tell our husband how much the marriage sucks or how much he sucks, but doing that feels more like an attack on him than a statement of wanting the marriage to be better. Therefore, instead of telling your husband how bad the marriage is, which doesn’t do anything to help out anyone, you need to focus on how much you want the marriage to work.
Telling him that you want to work on the marriage for more happiness helps you clearly show him that you are not motivated by being right or by having things your way. It doesn’t attack him by making him feel that he is the one who has to work on the marriage because you have clearly said ‘I.’ And, if he loves you, he also wants the marriage to be happier, so this will be some common ground that you can work from.
What If He Says No?
If he doesn’t want to work on the marriage, then you must move forward doing what you can. You can work on issues that you are having. And you can talk to a therapist alone to get insight and ideas on what you can do to help your husband become more willing to work on the marriage.
And, unfortunately, some husbands will not be willing to work on the marriage. They will have other priorities that stand above the marriage, and therefore the marriage will disintegrate over time. A marriage takes constant work and maintenance from both people for both people to be happy, so if he is not willing to work on it, there will come a time when you will feel so disconnected that the marriage may not be worth it anymore.
3. I’m Sorry For My Part In The Marriage Being Hard
I’m sorry is something that every husband needs to hear. We don’t always want to admit it, but we play a part in the marriage problems. We are not innocent. We may not express how we really feel, we may communicate ineffectively with our husband, or we may expect our husband to do things that he has no idea that we want. There are so many different ways that we contribute negatively to a marriage, and we need to let our husbands know that we own our mistakes in the marriage.
Admitting that you’ve made mistakes can help your husband feel less defensive and open up to your more. It makes you seem more accepting, willing to listen, and willing to work on things that you may be doing to contribute negatively to the marriage.
What If He Responds Negatively?
If he attacks you for everything you’ve done wrong, then you may want to retract the apology and start listing off things that he’s done wrong too, but don’t. Remember that you opened up this dialogue and if he feels the need to share with you why he is so upset about things you have done, then now is not the time to attack him. It’s just a time to listen to him and celebrate that he is willing to share with you how he feels.
He may say some hurtful things that he doesn’t mean. He may not be able to stop himself from saying things that he’s been thinking and even things that are meant to hurt you because he has been hurt. You have to be ready for this. You have to be willing to be mature and recognize that what he is saying is coming from pain, and there is nothing you can do to change that. Then, you have to be willing to talk to him about how you can improve and make things better.
I know that many wives will think at this point, “Well, what about him apologizing and improving so we can make things better?” That can be worked into the conversation as you work through the issues. As long as you don’t attack him, and make it relevant to a point that he has brought up to you, then he should be willing to listen and admit his shortcomings as well.
4. I Love You Because…
When a marriage is hard, we are quick to point out what we don’t love about our husband and vice-versa. But, that only makes us more resentful towards each other and affects the marriage even more negatively. You can flip this script by telling your husband why you love him.
Reminding your husband why you love him will help build a connection between you. It will build up his self-esteem and faith in the marriage, and it will build up his need to give you more reasons to love him. You should find that he will be more willing to work on the marriage and communicate with you because your desire, trust, and bond will increase.
I highly suggest telling your husband why you love him when it strikes you as the most sincere. For instance, if you see him doing something kind and gentle, then take that opportunity to tell him that his kindness is one of the reasons you love him so much. Or, if he does something for you, then tell him that one of the reasons you love him is because he is able to understand your needs. He will feel great about himself and you and will want to continue to receive the positive feedback from you by doing more good things.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that your husband doesn’t think as you do, so you don’t need to tell him what you would want to hear. The truth, whatever it may be, is much better than telling him something that he may or may not care about.
What If He Responds Negatively?
There is a chance that your husband will be suspicious if you suddenly start telling him how much you love him. He may shrug it off or give you a dirty look or question your motives. That’s totally normal if your marriage has been hard and you haven’t been praising him very often. It’s important to reassure him that you simply want to share with him how you feel about him and then continue with praising him occasionally.
The key is to do this occasionally. You do not want to tell him all the reasons you love all day every day if you were telling him what a loser he was not long ago. It’s not human nature to flip the script that quickly, especially when you seemed to despise him or be annoyed with him not long ago. But if you start slowly and be authentic by praising him with love at times he clearly does something that you love, then you will earn his trust and he will start to respond more favorably to it.
5. I Need You
The core of what makes your husband feel like your man is knowing that he is an important part of your life. When he knows that you need him, he feels a powerful connection between you and him. He feels like a man, a husband, and a provider, even if you are able to take care of yourself just fine. That’s something that he needs to feel, just as we need to feel that our husbands want us and care about us.
This is something that rarely gets talked about anymore. We just assume that being in a marriage is enough to let our husbands know that we need them, but that’s not always the case. We are more independent than ever as women, and we are less inclined to show our husbands that we value them in our life and need them to be the woman we want to be. We don’t want to revert to the 50s, and with good reason! But, this is not about showing weakness. It is about validating a husband’s worthiness.
Let your husband know that you need his emotional support and value it. And let him know that you need him in your life. He should respond favorably to this.
What If He Responds Negatively?
There’s a very slim chance that he will respond negatively to this. Most men want to hear that they are wanted and will respond well to it. But, if he doesn’t, then he obviously thinks that you are not being sincere.
It may be wise to have concrete reasons why you need him in your life. He may need to hear more than just the words ‘I need you.’ If you can tell him exactly why he is so important in your life with real and honest examples, then he should respond well to this.