Get your husband to open up

April 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Get your husband to talk to you. With the key to getting him to open up are Nurse Rona Renner, from the radio talk show "Childhood Matters" on Green 960AM, and Berkeley psychotherapist, Dr. Will Courtenay, also known as "The Men's Doc."

How to get your husband or partner to talk to you.
"He just won't talk to me!" is an all-too-common refrain heard from women. It's not that men don't have anything to say. In fact, when they do start talking, it's often hard to shut them up. But the trick is knowing what to say - and how to say it - to allow men to feel comfortable enough to really open up. In this segment, we'll give you some keys to opening up men's hearts.

TIPS

1) The most important thing, is to recognize that men and women are both from planet Earth. Don't treat your partner like he's a Martian, he isn't one. But if you treat him like a Martian, it will encourage him to act like one. The truth is, men speak the same number of words per day as women do. But stereotypes about men being distant and non-communicative promote self-fulfilling prophecies that encourage men to shut up.

2) Although it may still be a secret in your house, all of the very best research shows that women and men really don't differ in how they communicate. Men are just as likely as women to offer sympathy to others in need, to be open and honest in their conversations, to disclose personal concerns, and to want to seek compromise. When you go to them with a problem, men aren't any more likely to crack a joke or say "cheer up" - or to talk about the weather or try to leave the room. These are the facts. So, expect the best from him. Just what you'd expect from yourself.

3) Don't try to fix him; fix your relationship. Work with him on making your marriage - or your relationship - happier, for both of you. Research shows that men who are in happy marriages are less likely to withdraw or shut down, and are more likely to talk about their feelings. So, work with him to get happy. Set date nights, turn off the TV, ask him if he had three wishes what would they be, and rub each other's back. You'll be happy about the conversations that follow.

4) Try to avoid negative and destructive comments. We all do it, sometimes - we get in the last word or we shoot back a barb that's bigger than the one we took. It's human - and inevitable - especially with our partners. But if there's too much of that, the conversation will go nowhere. Here are four key things to avoid: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and withdrawal. If you can keep these to a minimum, you'll maximize your success. Instead, tell him about the things he says or does that you appreciate, ask for his feedback and hear him out, and make time for those important conversations he's ready to have.

About Dr. Will Courtenay:
Known as "The Men's Doc," he is an internationally recognized expert in helping men, a psychotherapist, author, and researcher. The American Psychological Association calls him, "a leading psychologist in the field of masculinity" and "one of the leading scholars, researchers, and public policy shapers in the psychology of men." He lectures internationally and, as a consultant, has trained thousands of health professionals in how to most effectively communicate and work with men. Dr. Courtenay was recently selected for inclusion in "Who's Who in America, 2009" for his "exceptional achievements." He maintains a private practice in Berkeley, California.

About Rona Renner
Rona Renner, RN has been a nurse for over 40 years, and is temperament specialist and parent educator. She is the Executive Director of Interactive Parenting Media, and the host of Childhood Matters Radio show, Saturdays at 9AM on Green 960AM


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