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How to Talk With Your Wife About Feelings

by Erica Loop

Two-way communication is a key part of a healthy, successful marriage. While the stereotype of a male may be of the man with a stoic, unfeeling front, expressing your feelings to your spouse doesn't make you any less masculine. Letting your wife know what's going on in your head -- and your heart -- builds a sense of closeness and allows you to clarify your wants and needs.

Right and Wrong

Whether you're in the midst of an argument, feeling slighted, or having some other conflict of interest with your wife, insisting she's wrong and you're right won't move the conversation forward. Instead, focus on your feelings, suggests clinical psychologist Leon F. Seltzer in his article "4 Essential Rules for Approaching Couples Conflict", on the Psychology Today website. For example, if your wife tells you -- again -- that she doesn't want you to spend Sunday afternoon watching football with your friends, gently explain that your friends are important to you, and you feel disconnected when you don't get to see them.

Ask Questions

Don't assume that you know what your wife is thinking. Jumping to conclusions or trying to read her mind may only serve to escalate the conflict. Express only your own feelings, not what you think she feels. For example, if your wife complains, "You never help out with the housework," instead of assuming she doesn't think you're a good husband or she just likes to nag you, ask her what's going on. It's possible that she's feeling overwhelmed with her work and home duties, and is just looking for some empathy.

Volume and Tone

Before letting your feelings of anger out at the top of your lungs, take a step back and stop yourself from raising your voice to your wife. Shouting at your spouse brings out even more negative emotions, according to, "Marriage Communication: 3 Common Mistakes and How To Fix Them," on the PsychCentral website. Although keeping the volume low may be a challenge, doing so allows you to express your emotions and get your point across in a clear and rational way. Your wife is more likely to listen to you, and understand what you're saying if you talk to her instead of yelling at her.

Actively Listen

Effective communication isn't all about talking; actively listening is a key part of talking to your wife about feelings. When you listen to what she has to say, you are better able to gauge her emotions and formulate an appropriate response. Look at your wife as she speaks, paying attention to her gestures and body language. For example, if you tell her that you aren't getting enough attention from her, and she responds that she understands what you're saying, note the words that she uses, the way her face knowingly nods, and how she moves her body in towards you to show that she cares.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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