HOW DO I GET MY HUSBAND TO LISTEN TO ME?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

My husband of 29 years always decides what he thinks is right and doesn’t listen to me. It drives me crazy. What do I do, short of divorcing him?

—Had It (United States)

DEAR H.I.:

Is this a recent change in behavior or something he’s always done to some extent? If it’s a recent change in behavior and his behavior or attitudes seem erratic, have him see his doctor to see if there aren’t physiological factors going on.

Barring any mental or other imbalances, if he has always done that to some extent or has done it but it’s gradually worsened, I suggest talking to a couples counselor. Also, keep in mind if he has been doing this for about three decades and you’re fed up with it now, you’re going to have to train him to listen to you in a different way. If he’s been doing it for a while, it will take him a while to learn a new way of relating to you and also of listening to you.

For many men in the United States, they’ve been raised to be the leader of the household or of “their women,” including believing that they know best and better than anyone else in the household, and this training is embedded in their consciousness to such an extent that it takes a real effort and choice on their part to extricate themselves from old programming. A good couples counselor will hopefully be able to help you both learn new ways of relating—your husband, to truly listen to you and understand the value of your opinions and ability to co-create the life you have together, and you, to learn new ways of communicating that commands respect and demands that you are heard and listened to.

This transformation has the potential to make your marriage something much more amazing than it has ever been. My best to you both on your journey.

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