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What to do if your husband is not a mind reader

Posted on: July 10, 2009

husband mind reading marriage tipsNo matter how much we love our husbands, let’s face it, they sometimes can be a source of frustration when they don’t do as we want. “Yet we expect them to be mind readers–somehow knowing what we want without us having to ask. Then, we get irritated when they continue their annoying behavior,” says Dr. Noelle Nelson, relationship expert and author of Your Man is Wonderful (Free Press, 2009).

“Husbands aren’t mind readers,” says Nelson. “But instead of communicating effectively with our spouse, we demand or manipulate. We typically dish out a healthy dose of the silent treatment or try the guilt method–with a scowl solidly fixed on our face–to try to get our spouse to figure out our needs.”

Many wives believe that husbands should automatically know what they want. “I’ve heard wives complain, ‘It’s not like we just met. Can’t he have the slightest bit of consideration for what I deserve, without my having to ask for it?’  That may work in fairy tales,” says Nelson, “but as wives should quickly figure out, real relationships take more than the wave of a wand or some magical thinking. They take communication of all sorts, including speaking up for what you want.”

Nelson explains, “Having to ask doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, it simply means your spouse is not a mind-reader. Which is a good thing, because let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t want him actually reading every thought that crosses your mind. Even if he can pretty much guess what you want, chances are he won’t get it right every time. He’ll feel like a failure, and you’ll still be unhappy. Not a good scenario.”

Nelson advises, “Be willing to take responsibility for what you want. Assume that he really wants to be there for you in every way, and that you can – together – always work out ways to satisfy most of what you both want and need. No, you won’t get what you want all of the time, but by asking, in a kind, loving way, you’ll get a lot more of it more often. Most importantly, you won’t be grinching and irritated. You’ll know if something is bothering you, you can just ask for ways to make it better. This method of communicating makes a huge difference in a marriage.”

For more marriage tips, go to Nelson’s blog, or follow her on Twitter,


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