Last weekend my husband and I flew out to Vancouver for a conference with Family Life Canada. We speak with the around the country at marriage conferences, and this was our staff retreat.

Loads of fun and loads of laughs, but one of the nuggets I gleaned from the time together was from a marriage talk on how to communicate better.

I know I’ve been talking about sex a lot here on Wifey Wednesdays lately (and next week is my HUGE party for Honey, I Don’t Have a Headache Tonight), but I want to take just a minute and talk about something else today.

Here’s the gist: men like to feel like they know what they are doing. If they feel like they’re not competent, they’ll move on to another thing. So if you’re always nagging your husband to fix something around the house, and then you berate him for not doing it right, he will rarely fix anything ever again. He doesn’t like to fail. Get it?

Or if he takes you out to dinner, but he chooses the wrong restaurant, don’t let him know that right away. You’ll chase him off planning dates again. He doesn’t want to fail.

But he does like to feel competent! So spend some time with your husband in areas that he feels confident, because then it’s like you’ve entered his favourite world. He will feel so affirmed and so connected to you, in the same way you would if he sat down and talked to you for hours just about how you’re feeling.

Here’s how it works. My husband loves history, and especially military history. He knows everything about the Pelopenesian Wars (I know that’s spelled wrong), or the civil war, or the Seven Years War, or anything about war in modern history. He and friends play out war games. He reads war stuff. He lives and breathes it.

But it doesn’t really interest me. So I have two choices. I can ignore it altogether, and let him do his little thing, but then when we get together insist that we talk about something important, or every now and then, when we’re out walking, I can ask him a question about a battle. And then suddenly, this man who wasn’t talking a lot before, will open up with a stream of information.

And he’ll feel very affirmed, because I have asked about something where he can teach me. And if I try really hard, I can see that it really is interesting.

One of the mistakes that women often make is to leave their husbands hobbies as if these have no relevance for them. They’re just something that the men do on their own, and we have to humour them. But that’s not true. They’re something that excites our husbands. It’s something they think about deeply in their inner world. And don’t you want to share that?

Now I’m not saying that you have to actually participate. If your husband plays poker with the guys every Friday night, he probably doesn’t want you there. My husband has fun with his friends playing his games, and I would wreck the dynamic. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want me to be interested.

Women talk more than men do, and so we often determine the subjects that are open for discussion in our marriages. Don’t leave his hobbies out. Maybe it’s his work that he loves to talk about. Maybe it’s computers. Whatever he loves doing, enter that part of his life. Just listen. And afterwards, he’ll probably feel much closer to you because you’ve shared something precious to him.

Tonight, what are you going to talk about? What does your husband love? Ask him something about it. Let him share it. And see what happens!

Do you have any marriage thoughts for us today? Why not write a post on your own blog, and then come back here and link to it in Mr. Linky!