Every marriage encounters difficulties because of the different ways each spouse hears, processes, interprets, and responds to what the other says. Susan and I have learned through our 30 years of marriage that there are certain things a husband should say to his wife. We also have learned that more often than not, how a spouse says something is as or more important than what a spouse says.
While I’m convinced there are some things husbands should never say to their wives, there are also some hard words we need to be able to voice. Here are 7 things husbands should never be afraid to say to their wives.
But first, a quick caveat. Every hard thing we need to say—indeed, everything we say to our wives—needs to be said in love. It’s impossible to do that perfectly, but having love for our wives must be the goal and the foundation on which we communicate in good and (especially) hard times. Check your heart before saying any of these things to your wife. If you can’t speak truth in love, then hold off. Don’t speak truth just for truth’s sake.
1. “I need to tell you something. Today I…”
Like all husbands, you’ll have days when you get bad news, or make hard decisions you know she won’t like, or do something you know will impact your family, and you’ll hesitate to address it. Don’t delay any longer than is absolutely necessary. Putting off hard news sometimes only makes the impact of that news worse. Better to get it out and deal with it together.
2. “I hear what you’re saying, but I disagree. Here’s why…”
Sometimes the temptation to avoid confrontation at all costs is strong. But how you resolve inevitable disagreements is more important for a healthy marriage than avoiding conflict altogether (which is impossible). Both spouses have to build together mutual freedom and trust to express disagreements.
3. “We should have sex soon.”
One of the things a husband should say to his wife without fear is that he desires intimacy with her—of all kinds. But even for the closest, happiest, most “in love” couples, seasons of frustration, boredom, medical conditions, or busyness will cause stretches of silence in our love lives. Talking about sex can be difficult even under ideal circumstances, but it’s important to share your desires and tell her you long to reconnect with her. Be ready to listen and discuss issues that affect your love life. Don’t just declare your desire and expect her to jump into your arms.
4. “I’m concerned by how much we’re spending.”
Talking about money matters is rarely fun, but it’s one of the most important conversations in marriage. If you manage the money in your household and you realize you need to make a change, tell her. While it’s uncomfortable to admit it’s time to make sacrifices in order to shore up your family’s finances, she can only help you do it if she knows that.
5. “I was wrong. Will you forgive me?”
Acknowledging that you were wrong about something you said or did is not easy, especially when many in our culture view it as a sign of weakness. But apologizing well and asking for forgiveness is a necessary trust-building exercise in healthy relationships. When we mess up, we should ‘fess up.
6. “What you said/did really hurt me.”
Wounds from our wives run deeper than when others hurt us. But sweeping it under the rug is no way to grow together. When you’ve been hurt or offended, you need to find the right way to let her know. Believe it or not, sharing and resolving wounds actually builds trust and intimacy in marriage. But letting them fester only builds walls of resentment and bitterness.
Believe it or not, sharing and resolving wounds actually builds trust and intimacy in marriage.
7. “Can we set another time to talk about this?”
Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, you realize you (or she) might say something you’ll regret. Or perhaps one of you isn’t in the right frame of mind or is too distracted to listen well or give an important conversation the right focus. So another of the things a husband should say to his wife without being afraid is that we should discuss a subject later. It’s not wrong to suggest a pause in the conversation until cooler heads can prevail. When you suggest this, set a specific time to pick up the conversation again—and then do it. Otherwise, you lack integrity and risk losing trust.
The bottom line is that you will be better off if you develop the skills and willingness to speak with love to your wife even when you have something difficult to say. The short-term bumps will pay off in long-term health and peace.
What else should a husband not be afraid to say to his wife? Share in the comments below.