If you want your wife to change, anything from an annoyance to a big obvious sin, the first step is to talk to her about the issue. How you talk to her matters; doing it wrong can result in things getting worse.
None of us likes being told we are wrong, even when we know we are wrong. Additionally, most people don’t take correction well. We know these things, and it can make us feel uptight, which makes us more likely to approach our spouse in a wrong way. A few of the more common errors, followed by a better way.
The world’s most eloquent argument will be ignored if you choose a bad time to deliver it. Bad timing means she won’t even hear what you say, much less consider it. You want to pick a good time for her, not a good time for you. A few things to consider:
- Make sure she’s not hungry. An hour after a meal or snack is excellent.
- Don’t do it when she’s tried.
- Don’t start a conversation if there’s not enough time to say what needs to be said, hear her reply, and respond to what she says.
- Try to avoid times when she’s stressed or has had a bad day. (If she is always stressed or having a bad day, maybe you should address first.)
- Is it a bad time of the month? Her hormones really do affect her. Some women are more influenced by their cycle than others, and some deal with it better, but any woman who is still cycling is impacted.
None of these things excuses her for not listening, but if you want results be wise and give your plea the best chance by timing it well.
The words you use, your volume, and how you use sarcasm and humour all change how she hears what you say. Every woman is different about this – one woman is fine with full on yelling, while another panics at even a slight raise of volume. Many women have a problem with sarcasm, and some find humour unacceptable in a serious conversation. Know your wife, and choose your words, tone, and volume well.
It is tempting to try to “win” by providing overwhelming evidence. Come up with every possible reason why she is wrong and what you want is right and she will have to succumb to your logic, right? It may sound good, but it does not work. First, this seems like you are trying to beat her into the ground, which will cause her to resist. Second, if she can find what she thinks is a flaw with any one of your arguments, she may use that as a way of dismissing everything you have said.
Expecting Her to Admit She is Wrong Right Now
It would be nice if you said your bit, she thought a moment, and said, “You’re right, I’m sorry, I will change.” Yes, that does happen sometimes with some women, but it’s not the norm. Most of us need time to process, time to admit to ourselves we are wrong, and then more time to admit to others we are wrong. Pushing her to admit her faults right now is usually justified by talking about truth or right and wrong. In reality, it usually is about the insecurity, fear, or immaturity of the one who is pushing.
Falling into Arguing
If the situation is clear, arguing accomplishes nothing. Arguing elevates emotions, blocks reason, and distracts from the real issue. She may use arguing as a defence mechanism, or it may just be habit. You can cut her short by refusing to argue. Tell her you have said what you needed to say and leave it at that.
Avoiding Your Feelings
I am not saying things like God’s word, truth, and facts are irrelevant to your wife, but as a woman feelings are significant to her. Adding your feelings to the mix will speak to her in the way she thinks, which can only help your case. Besides, she likely knows when she is sinning, and yet she’s still doing it. If, for example, she’s having an affair, telling her she is sinning is not telling her anything new. Telling her how it hurts you is adding new information in the form of feelings, which matter to her.
Adding it all Together
Find a good time to talk. Be calm, and use words, tone, and volume that won’t agitate her. Have a very few examples, reasons, or truths, and be sure to include your feelings if possible. Say your bit, reply to any questions (as opposed to arguments), and keep the whole discussion short. Don’t expect her to agree or to process on the spot. Telling her you understand she needs time to think about what you have said signals to her she’s not required to make a decision right then.
Apparently this series has been mentioned somewhere, and it is attracting trolls. I am leaving anything that is not really ugly, but I reserve the right to ignore comments that seem trollish, and I suggest others do the same.