Communication is one of the most challenging hurdles a couple will face.
A couple that doesn't communicate well will spend many hours suffering from anger and confusion.
A prime example of poor communication skills is misinterpretation.
Something simple can take on an entirely new context if heard incorrectly.
It can lead to hurt feelings or even painful conflict.
Those negative emotions are unnecessary, especially when they are all due to a misunderstanding.
- Why Does My Husband Act Defensive and Misinterpret My Words?
- My Husband Misinterprets Everything I Say: 17 Strategies To Help
- 1. Use Clear Language
- 2. Don't Overcomplicate Things
- 3. Practice Active Listening
- 4. Put Down the Cell Phone
- 5. Ask Him to Hold Your Space
- 6. Ask for Advice
- 7. Ask About Him
- 8. Spend More Time Together
- 9. Swap Household Duties
- 10. Make Ground Rules for Arguments
- 11. Admit When You Are Wrong
- 12. Get Your Timing Right
- 13. Practice Patience
- 14. Don't Compare Your Relationship to Others
- 15. Consider Counseling
- 16. Tell Him How You Feel
- 17. Don't Read Into What He is Saying
Why Does My Husband Act Defensive and Misinterpret My Words?
“My husband argues with everything I say.”
Have you ever heard yourself saying these words to a friend? Has this thought ever crossed your mind? If so, it could be due to various issues related to your husband.
He is unhappy.
When people are unhappy, they tend to lash out at those closest to them. You might be an easy target. Ask him what is causing his lack of fulfillment so the two of you can work together to turn his anger into happiness.
He is preoccupied.
He may be so busy or so stressed that he isn't actually listening to you when you speak. He then automatically balks at what he thinks you are saying.
He is suffering from anxiety.
Anxiety rears its ugly head in many ways. His anxiety might manifest in the form of unnecessary arguments.
He is insecure.
Insecurities turn men argumentative and defensive. He might need some external assurance that you value and care for him.
My Husband Misinterprets Everything I Say: 17 Strategies To Help
There may not be a clear reason when someone misinterprets what you say. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to learn why you are suffering from miscommunication and how to resolve the problem.
1. Use Clear Language
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don't drop hints, be evasive, or use passive-aggressive language.
You also can't expect him to be a mind reader. Something that might seem very clear to you can confuse him if he doesn't have all the information.
Be sure you are precise when you speak, using language he understands.
If you ask him to “run to the store and get that stuff I like,” don't be surprised if he shows up having done his best only to find that you were talking about something completely different.
2. Don't Overcomplicate Things
Too many details can be too much for your partner. When you relay important information to him, tell him everything he needs to know without bogging him down with side points or unrelated details.
He might not be able to remember that you have dinner plans at eight when you are tangentially talking about a frustrating situation at work.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't talk about these things! You should feel free to talk about anything with your partner. Just remember to do so during the right time and place.
3. Practice Active Listening
You and your partner should work together to practice active listening. It isn’t uncommon for a couple to have difficulty relating when they aren't truly listening.
When actively listening, you make eye contact while speaking, take note of what is being said, and then repeat phrases back to your partner.
Active listening shows that you are paying attention to each other, reinforcing the relationship and leaving less room for misinterpretation.
4. Put Down the Cell Phone
It has become a habit for us to stare at screens when someone else is speaking. It is impossible to communicate when distracted by a phone, tablet, or book.
Your partner may misinterpret your words because he is scrolling through social media or checking his emails while only half-listening to you. Make a vow to put away screens when the other has something to say.
5. Ask Him to Hold Your Space
When you begin speaking, he may immediately go into problem-solving mode. That isn't always what you need. If you want him to listen to you without offering suggestions, let him know from the outset.
Tell him that you simply need him to hold your space. You need to vent and allow some anxiety to flow from your body and be shared with another.
Explain to him, in a calm and non-accusatory way, that his presence is desired, but his solutions won't help you at this time.
6. Ask for Advice
You are with your partner because you love and respect him. He may have an alternate point of view on matters you haven't considered.
Show him that you value his opinion by asking him for advice. Get his input and try to see where he is coming from. He will communicate more openly with you if he feels appreciated. He will also be more likely to come to you with his worries.
7. Ask About Him
Your husband might misinterpret your words because he no longer feels you care about him. When someone doesn't feel cared for, they also stop caring.
A great way to show him that you care is to ask questions about his life. No matter how long you have been together, there are probably still some things you don't know.
Ask him what career he dreamed of having as a child. Ask him what his earliest memory is. Ask him what three books, movies, and albums he would want to be stuck with on a desert island.
Asking him questions gives him a chance to talk and gives you a chance to listen. Your relationship will only be stronger for it.
8. Spend More Time Together
He might feel like he doesn't know you well anymore if you aren't spending much time together.
Have a weekly date night or practice a new hobby together. Take yoga, go hiking, start golfing or go for evening walks around the neighborhood.
The extra effort it takes to spend more time together will give you a chance to talk more, which opens those needed lines of communication.
The more you talk with each other, the less likely he is to misinterpret what you are saying.
9. Swap Household Duties
Communication is improved when respect for one another is improved. Take a day or even a weekend to swap household duties. If he always prepares the meals, it's your turn. If you are the one who puts the kids to sleep, let him do it.
Swapping roles for a few days will allow your partner to see how much you contribute to your family. With a better understanding of your reality, he will give you more respect and will listen more closely when you speak.
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10. Make Ground Rules for Arguments
Misinterpreting your words can lead to a fight or can easily happen while you are in the midst of one. Laying respectful ground rules on how to argue with each other is the best way to get through fights when they happen.
- Rule one: Never raise your voice. Yelling at each other doesn't help anyone and doesn't solve any problems.
- Rule two: Don't swear at each other. Using hurtful language is never a solution.
- Rule three: Don't interrupt each other. Allow your partner to say what they are thinking, give them the courtesy of listening, and then expect them to do the same.
11. Admit When You Are Wrong
Sometimes the fact that your husband is misinterpreting your words is not his fault. There are times that you are the one who has made a mistake. Learn to be okay with being wrong.
Don't accept blame when you shouldn't, but do accept responsibility when you should. The phrase, “I was wrong, and I'm sorry,” is one of the hardest to say, but it is also one of the most powerful.
12. Get Your Timing Right
You may want to have a conversation at an inconvenient time with your partner. When he is preoccupied, he can't give you his full attention. Being busy doesn't always mean being hard at work.
Maybe he wants time to relax in front of the television or play video games to unwind. That time might be important to him. You probably have the same downtime needs and feel frustrated when he interrupts you.
Try to understand. At the same time, you both need to make time for each other.
13. Practice Patience
His misinterpretation of your words might be an innocent mistake. Be patient with him. Explain yourself further, perhaps using a different way to frame what you're trying to say.
Ask him to be as patient with you as you are with him. Together, you will find a way to communicate that works for both of you.
14. Don't Compare Your Relationship to Others
Do you feel like everyone else has a perfect relationship? They don't. As much as you feel that your partner misinterprets your words, so does almost everyone else.
Don't look at happy Instagram couples and wish that could be you. They are working just as hard as you at ensuring they have open and honest communication.
15. Consider Counseling
Counseling isn't always necessary, but it doesn't have to be a last resort either. You might need a third party to mediate your conversations.
Having someone else point out areas where you can both improve your communication can be priceless.
You can receive counseling from a licensed therapist or religious leader. It is best not to use a friend as a stand-in counselor as friends are often biased.
16. Tell Him How You Feel
This is tricky, but it is easily the most critical strategy for managing your lack of communication. You and your husband need to have a real heart-to-heart.
Tell him that you feel as though he misinterprets the things you say. Ask him if he feels the same way about you.
Talk about some of the reasons you might not be hearing and understanding each other. Discuss how to improve communication and why that is important.
A couple with a strong relationship should be able to have this discussion and be much better, happier, and healthier.
17. Don't Read Into What He is Saying
Some men have a strange propensity to say what they are thinking. And some women can twist what they say into something completely different.
Though it's not true of all men and women, it is common enough that it often causes issues within relationships.
Just as you continue to try to say what you mean and mean what you say, you should do your best to take your partner's words at face value.
If he says he is “fine,” don't allow yourself to worry if that means he is not doing well or is even angry. In a man's world, “fine” usually means fine.
Good communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Follow some of these strategies to open communication channels with your husband. Soon, the two of you will celebrate your ability to relate with one another without the fear of misinterpretation.