How to Make Your Husband Listen to You

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man" by Steve Harvey. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you wondering how to make your husband listen to you when you talk? Why do men have an aversion to the phrase “we need to talk”?

In his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Steve Harvey discusses how to talk to your partner about your feelings and the best way to approach touchy conversations. Harvey also discusses how a man’s seemingly insensitive response may actually be his way of showing love.

Keep reading to learn what Steve Harvey has to say about how to make your husband listen to you.

How to Talk to Your Husband About Feelings

Need advice on how to make your husband listen to you? Steve Harvey has you covered. In his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Harvey explains that there are four words that no man ever wants to hear—we need to talk.

Why do men have such a strong adverse reaction to these words? Harvey says it’s because they hear one of two things: 1) “I’ve done something wrong and am about to hear about it,” or 2) “I’m going to have to sit here for an hour listening to her vent about something I don’t care about.” This reaction may not be fair or considerate, but this is what men hear, and neither option is appealing. 

Men understand that they’re not perfect and will sometimes have to listen to your complaints about their behavior. They won’t like it, but if the grievance is legitimate, they’ll endure it. But the second meaning, the “let’s sit and talk for a while” option, is more than men can handle. 

When You Need to Vent

Steve Harvey says that your girlfriends are designed for that second option. Women like to vent, men don’t. Women want to dive into the emotional layers of every negative thing that happens to them. Men want to fix the problem and move on. As frustrating as this is, you can’t expect a man to be like your girlfriends, who sit with tissues and wine and listen to your feelings. 

Consider the following scenario: You come home from work upset that a coworker bought the same dress you have after she saw you wearing it. When you tell your girlfriends, they complain about what an awful person your coworker is and the tragic loss of the dress from your wardrobe. When you tell your man, he says, “Don’t wear the dress anymore.” Problem solved. 

Your man isn’t trying to be flippant. He merely sees a logical solution to your problem, or “The Fix.” Part of being a provider for your man means providing solutions to your problems. Since childhood, they’ve been told to buck up and get back on the horse when they fall off. So if he loves you, he’s going to try to find the fastest and best way to get you back on that horse. He’s going to do this because when you’re happy, he’s happy. 

This frustrating situation can also work in your favor. If you have a problem and your man doesn’t try to provide The Fix, he doesn’t love you. Remember, providing is one of the ways in which he shows love. If he’s not trying to provide a solution, he’s not trying to show you love. 

The Compromise

Most men find women unpredictable. What you like one day changes to the next, and often, there’s no discernable reason for why it changed. These mood swings are illogical to men, and they don’t know what to do. An inexperienced man will avoid asking what’s wrong because he knows he doesn’t know how to fix it. With this type of man, you may need to remind him what his duty as a provider is when you’re upset … or accept that he doesn’t love you and move on. 

In contrast, a more experienced man will learn to take your moods in stride and continue prodding you to reveal the problem until he finds the nugget that leads to a solution. When your man puts forward the effort to listen and help, don’t get mad because he’s not breaking out the wine and tissues for a long conversation about feelings. Recognize that he’s doing what he can to provide for you. Men know they will have to cuddle and talk sometimes until you feel better, but they want those moments to be few and far between. 

Harvey says that the solution is a balance. If your man is willing to listen like a girlfriend every now and then, you must be willing to accept the extent of his ability to be your emotional support. Expecting more is foolish, and you’ll only be setting yourself up for disappointment. 

If you want to make your husband listen to you, you should also change the way you approach your man about something serious. “We need to talk” are fighting words that make men go on the defensive. If you want a positive response from your man when you need to talk, try a less abrasive phrase. Let him know that he hasn’t done anything wrong up front so he can put his armor away and focus on you. 

How to Make Your Husband Listen to You

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Here's what you'll find in our full Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man summary :

  • How to navigate the adult dating scene
  • What men need, how they think, and how they behave when it comes to relationships
  • How women can gain an advantage and find the right man to fulfill their desires

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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