Save My Marriage: Is Information Important?

It's hard to save your marriage by giving your husband information that you think he needs. It's especially hard when you know that the information is right in that self-help book you just read and he is not the least bit interested in reading it. This is what John Bradshaw called "chasing your spouse around the house with a self-help book."

You can give somebody a gift of lots of useful information that will do no good at all unless he's willing to accept it. I'm sure you know that or you wouldn't have asked the question. The real problem here is that something is wrong and you think that if only your husband understood what it was, he would change — automatically. He won't, but you do have options.

The most useful thing I have ever seen one partner in a marriage do when the other was unwilling to change was to act as if the problem was her own. Once she took responsibility for her part in the ongoing problem she could do something to change her own behavior. Often applying the information that she wanted her husband to use helped a lot.

It works this way. You think that he isn't listening to you and that if he would only do that then you could talk about what's really important in your marriage would improve. You may be absolutely right, but being right doesn't help much at all. The most important thing you can do here is to turn around the responsibility for the problem and examine all the ways in which you are not listening to him.

It might be those times when he comes into the room, says something, and you're concentrating on cooking or texting or responding to an e-mail and you say uh huh without really paying attention to what he's saying. Just for a week try stopping what you're doing, turning to him and having a focused conversation about what he is saying. He'll be surprised and you may learn something about him that surprises you also.

That small change in the pattern of how you communicate with each other will open the door to new ways of communicating that may very well help you save your marriage.

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