Even if conversations with your spouse are often disrupted by his interjections, it’s still possible to shift this dynamic so that you both have more room to speak and be heard.
“My husband constantly interrupts me. What should I do?”
That’s actually a very common complaint from wives. It’s normal to want to finish your train of thought fully and without interruption.
Here are the three essential steps to deal with this communication style:
- Understand your husband’s interruptions from your point of view
- Initiate the change by coming to an agreement with your partner
- Practice new habit-forming exercises
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Who Interrupts Whom?
For now, women seek out help the most for this specific problem so we decided to write for them. This article applies to any type of relationship regardless of the gender of their partner.
A note of caution: if your spouse is interrupting you to devalue or hurt you on purpose, this article won’t be appropriate for you.
Now that we know how this article came about, let’s help you create a healthier conversation dynamic with less interruptions.
Understand Interruptions From Your Perspective
‘If only he’d change.‘
Does that ever cross your mind?
In relationships we quickly see the problem in the other person. But when we do that, we miss out on taking care of ourselves. We’re too busy thinking about what our spouse should do differently.
The truth is, that it isn’t about your spouse.
It’s about you.
You want to have good feelings and avoid negative ones. Which is very natural as a human being. You believe that your husband is responsible for the negative feelings so you want him to change.
But people don’t communicate their feelings. Rather, they say: ‘You always do this. Why don’t you care about me?’
That’s ineffective and often creates the opposite result of what you want. Speaking this way will more likely drive your husband away and make him defensive. Which will end up in both of you fighting with each other.
To not have this effect, you first have to change the focus towards you.
- Why is this difficult for me?
- How do I feel when my husband interrupts me?
- What do I believe my husband thinks of me when he constantly interrupts me?
Now, it’s about you and what you’re experiencing. Next, ask yourself:
- How did I feel when my husband did listen to me? (Ex. when you first met)
- When my husband would listen, how would that make me feel?
Those two questions are honing in on your needs. This step is crucial.
If the needs of you or your partner are crystal clear then, we recommend reading a more in depth article on how to deal with unmet expectations in marriage.
Once you know what’s really happening within you, you’re ready to talk to your husband. If you skip this step, your communication will be less effective because you have no idea what you’re trying to achieve.
So make sure to spend enough time on those questions. We know it can be uncomfortable to face your feelings. But you totally can do this.
It’s so worth it because it’ll help you clear up your communication with your spouse! Here’s how to approach it…
Initiate The Change
Because we don’t yet understand the reason behind the interruption. Once we do, we have the key to resolve this misunderstanding.
Every behavior we exhibit serves some purpose. For your husband, it makes sense to him to interrupt you. The more we get to know each other’s experience, the more able we are to fix this problem.
But right now, it might feel easiest to jump to a quick conclusion and then complain impulsively at your partner. But what you’ll achieve with that is more resistance and drama.
Take this example:
Her: ‘You never listen. Don’t you have any manners? You clearly don’t care about me. Can’t you just stop…
Him: ‘It’s not true. I do listen! And I do care about you!
He feels attacked and is defending himself. You won’t get anywhere with this conversation as it might just lead to him starting to ignore you.. Here’s what to do instead:
Her: ‘I’ve noticed that you interrupt me a lot. I was wondering what causes you to jump in?’
Him: ‘I’m scared that I’ll forget what I want to say. So I feel like I have to blurt it out because otherwise, it’ll just leave my brain.’
Her: ‘Ah I see. You know I feel quite hurt when you interrupt so often. I know you care for me, but when you interrupt, it gives me the feeling that you don’t.
Why does this work?
She’s stating an observation. She’s not criticizing or blaming him.
She’s curious and trying to understand her husband.
She isn’t trying to force him into how she wants him to be aka coming from a place where her opinion is above her partner’s
She shares her experience and is vulnerable with her husband, rather than attacking him.
This way of approaching the conversation will improve the communication in your relationship. By genuinely trying to understand where both of you are coming from, you’re injecting more compassion and love in the whole process. This helps you build a stronger bond with more trust with one another and also sets the stage for the next step.
Come To An Agreement
The next step is to find an agreement. There’s no point in trying to force your husband. It’ll just drive you apart. Love isn’t about forcing things onto your spouse. It’s about learning to love each other in ways that are empowering for both of you.
I once met a couple who had a very interesting style of communication. Whenever the girlfriend didn’t get what she wanted, she would raise her voice and threaten her boyfriend: “I swear if you do that again, I’ll kill you!” The boyfriend knew that it was just a joke and a manipulative way to get her point across. So he would let her humor him.
But in reality, it is never helpful to try to threaten or push your spouse to do something. It comes across as childish and ultimately ridiculous.
So rather than using manipulation and demands, try to make requests. There’s a great difference: a request is something your spouse can accept or decline.
Her: ‘I really like it when you listen to me. It makes me feel like you care. Could we spend 10 minutes tonight where we can both talk without interruption?
Him: ‘Look, I’m sorry that I can’t help it. I know it’s bad behavior and considered rude, but I just can’t change it.’
Her: ‘Yes, some habits are hard to change for me too. But I do think that if we work together on it, it would greatly benefit our relationship. Would you be willing to give this a try? It would mean a lot to me.’
Why does it work?
- She states what she likes instead of criticizing and belittling her husband.
- She states what she feels when he does it.
- She suggests a specific action to foster what she likes.
When he says he can’t help it:
- She acknowledges his doubt.
- Yet gently persists to face it together.
- She asks him to commit by asking if he is willing to try.
Now, we know that some husbands might not be as agreeable. The way you get through to your husband is by being open, honest, and vulnerable.
When he really sees how his behavior is impacting you, he’ll be motivated to find a solution. No one wants to see the one they love feel hurt. This is why clear, transparent communication of how you really feel matters a lot.
Once you do have that vulnerable conversation, it’ll be much clearer how much you can actually gain through this new change. Rather than letting him figure it all out, it’s much better if you can provide suggestions for solutions.
Practice New Habit-Forming Exercises
- Have a clear specified time to talk with each other, where both will listen.
- Have a code word or symbol to ensure the other doesn’t interrupt.
Be careful not to be too blunt and shut your partner off. Understand that your spouse might have just come to you with something really important to them. If you’re unsure, bring the topic up in a separate conversation.
An extremely effective yet simple way to establish this new behavior is to have intentional conversations where neither partner is allowed to interrupt. That’s been the goal all along. So how do you set yourself up for success?
Here are a few guidelines to structure it:
- Set a timer for each person to just talk.
- Choose topics that are pleasant and not heated. (you want to make positive associations with time spent listening to each other)
- Keep natural eye contact without staring.
- Only interrupt if your partner has lost you and you don’t understand what they’re talking about.
Once you’re done with the exercise, reflect with your partner on how this experience has felt for both of you. If you’d like to make adjustments feel free to do them. It’s all about you and your partner.
The exercise is here to foster communication. You want it to be pleasant and comfortable. Make sure it’s a safe space for both of you where you can open up without being judged.
We have written another article with more exercises to help you with improving your communication. It will help you gain an even better understanding on this topic plus lots of practical next-steps to take.
Code Word or Symbol
‘I wonder if we have any cupcakes left at home.’
‘Do you think we can get some cupcakes later?’
You can use whatever word that can easily be worked into a conversation. To make it more obvious, you can look more intently at your husband to see if he got the meaning behind the code word.
All our little quirks and faults aren’t the enemy here. What hurts a marriage the most is when we aren’t honest with ourselves and our spouses. That built up dishonesty and tension which will eventually blow up and lead to more misunderstandings.
By following the three essential steps that we covered in this article, you can do a great deal for your marriage. Like everything we do, the long-term impacts are the greatest reward:
- By trying to understand both you and your husband’s perspectives, you’re building more trust and respect.
- By initiating the change and coming to an agreement, you’re proving that you’re able to tackle any issues together.
- By practicing the two exercises we provided, you’re committing more to each other.
The problem is never the problem. There’s always a way.
So come together, commit and change the dynamic so you can share more precious moments together without interruption.
Understand yourself, understand each other.
Respect yourself, respect each other.
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