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To give the cultural context, I am from South India and married for 15+ years.

Ever since the beginning of our marriage, I keep saying the following items repeatedly to her ( let's call her Mohini).

  1. Tell me what you like and don't like, I will also share the same. We will agree between us and try to honor that agreement as much as possible.

Sample:

Me: Hi Mohini, I need to for 10-15 mins about our quarrels, Tell me when we can speak? (usually she delays and come to discuss with serious face, and once she comes..)

Mohini: Tell me

Me: Why are you always fighting with me? I don't want fights and need to stay peaceful inside home, we should not fight because already we had ton of fights which is more than enough for 2 entire lifetime.

Mohini: Fights are common in marriages

Me: ( get upset and trying to maintain tone), Don't think like that, it means you like fights. Try to target fight free marriage, so that it will be limited to minimum, if you target 100% then only reach 80%, you are targeting 40% and you will get only 20%.

Mohini: Let's see how it goes. what else? Cooking is going on, I need to go soon.

Me: (angry and lose tone little bit)..You are avoiding this discussion which is much more important than anything else. What the hell you are cooking, How are you able to sleep with all these problems?

Mohini: (raises her voice) - Yes. I like fights.What are you going to do now?

Me: (confused), ushhhhh...what the hell you are speaking, you are not listening when I am speaking politely, you are always keep pushing me towards bad behavior/yelling and after that, telling me you are bad.

Mohini: Are you behaving correctly? ( lost control and throwing stories like you did this ... that).

Me: (lost voice and shouting angrily) You are pulling me to the garbage again and again. I called you to sort out but you are pulling me somewhere else... go to hell ...

We are back to square one once more.

  1. We will fix our budget and try to follow as much as possible.
  2. She refuses sex frequently (even touching her hands). Once she withheld sex for 2.5 years straight. I told her not to use sex as weapon against me but to instead use it to make me happy. Good sex will solve at least 50% of issues in marriage. I never ever forced her for sex, not even once.
  3. Don't give too much freedom to kids as it will spoil their future.
  4. Don't complain about my parents, which is killing our peace, and try to see my parents as your parents. - She usually blames my mother for something but does not care at all if her mother does exactly the same thing. Sample:

Me: Hey Mohini, you are always complaining about my mom, dad, brother and his wife, it is hurting me, I feel like I was locked in-between you and them.

Mohini: To whom else I can tell this?

Me: To me only, but it doesn't mean you can complain daily. Try to adjust or if you don't like tell them straightly so that they will realize.

Mohini: I will not tell them. As a husband you have to listen this.

Me: What the hell is this husband role? I am not a drum which people can hit from both the sides.

Mohini: To whom else I can tell this?

Me: (angrily) What you are trying to say now?

Mohini: You have to listen all these.

Me: (loudly) I am not a mediator here, I can listen but not daily, not for years. If you don't like , tell them immediately to the face or Can I speak to them?.

Mohini: No, don't speak to them, then they will come and argue. I cannot fight with them. I just want to share so that you will know about them, they are not good people as look outside.

Me: ( started shouting) But I never complain to about them to you. What if I am complaining daily about them to you?

Mohini: They(her parents, sister, relatives) are doing good only. As a husband you have to listen.

Me: nonsense.... go to hell ( shouting )

We are back to square one once again.

  1. Don't bring others ( our parents, kids, relatives etc) in between us.
  2. Start speaking with me within hours or same day after any argument or fight. -- She usually extends this period to 3-4 days at least.
  3. After the silent period is over, discuss the issue with me so that we can avoid fight on the same issue next time. -- She usually never speaks about it, even I bring it up she avoids or listen without interest.
  4. I am trying so hard to bring peace at our home, cooperate to my ideas or come up with your own ideas to solve these issues. -- She never come up with her own and does not cooperate with my ideas.

My Intentions:

  1. In India, we marry only once in life (99.9% of people), so aligning with each other is very important else your life will be wasted.
  2. I value peace inside home very much. I strongly believe that if one has money, fame, everything but no peace inside home, then one's life is worthless. So I am trying hard to avoid conflicts, resolve conflicts and maintaining peace.
  3. I was top of my class and now work in IT. From my childhood people used to always say 'You know everything', but my wife has almost no education (she went to school only for 6 years). So I strongly believe that I am eligible to teach my wife.
  4. On the other hand, I used to listen carefully to advice. I believe that advice comes from someone's hard earned experience.
  5. I strongly believe advising my wife is taking care of her. I cannot be idle when she is in trouble or when she misses good things.
  6. I used to wish to live a 'more romantic, lovable' married life than others.

Real Goal: Still, I love her so much and want to live with her until my end. Whatever I am doing above are to achieve that goal, but in reality this marriage hurts me everyday without fail.

Either she disagrees by arguing/fighting with me or agrees and mostly doesn't do as agreed.

I am desperate of saying same thing again and again, at the same time I want to learn the ways of communication to make her understand my views.

As per my belief, my intentions are good, I am advising her to do good and avoid bad, but why doesn't she listen?

How can I communicate in a way she listens and acts accordingly?


Update:

I edited the question by adding sample communications to explain how we are communicating now.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Ælis, Rainbacon, ElizB, Johanna, Tinkeringbell May 31 at 11:09

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 6
    I'm sorry you're having such difficulty communicating with your wife - there's a lot of things described in this post, so it's a bit hard to figure out what to focus on for the Q&A.. right now I feel that most of the post is describing what you tell her and why, but not how - which is the main issue you want help with, right? Can you give us some more info on your communication styles, maybe an example would help? Is there anyone your wife has a good relationship with, that she does listen to? That may give some clues as well. – Em C May 30 at 22:08
  • Thanks Em C, I will edit my question as per your suggestion. – NiceGuy May 31 at 11:52
  • @Em C, Could you please see my edits and please revert 'on hold'? If you need more edits/information to make this question fit to this site, please let me know, I will do. – NiceGuy May 31 at 12:54
  • Thanks for editing! Your post will be in the review queue now so other users can vote to reopen and/or add suggestions for improvements, so give it a little time for them to take a look too :) – Em C May 31 at 13:41
  • Thank you so much for the Guidance Em C :-) – NiceGuy May 31 at 13:42
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I see a lot of good intention in the things you say, but a lot of ignorant behavior as well. I think it's caused by your culture and upbringing, so I don't blame you for this ignorance, but I'll try to explain it.

You and your wife are both humans. You both have your own brain, your own thoughts and memories. But these thoughts and memories are only in your brain, no-one else can know them like you know.

I was top of my class and now work in IT. From my childhood people used to always say 'You know everything', but my wife has almost no education (she went to school only for 6 years). So I strongly believe that I am eligible to teach my wife.

I think this is the core of the problem. You know a lot more about mathematics, computer science and probably other scienses than your wife. But your wife knows much more than you about not having chances in her life, about having her wishes ignored by men (like her father or teachers and now by you), having to follow orders because she has no say in the matter and about living her life in an environment that values women less than men.

You are both humans. You both have wishes and hopes and needs. Your wife's wishes are just as real as your own and they matter just as much as your own.

She refuses sex frequently (even touching her hands). Once she withheld sex for 2.5 years straight. I told her not to use sex as weapon against me but to instead use it to make me happy.

Have you ever asked yourself if having sex makes your wife happy? Do you expect her to serve you during sex or do you fulfill her wishes during sex? It's easy for men to feel good during sex, but women often feel discomfort or even pain and many women don't have an orgasm from penetration alone.

Saying "Don't use sex as weapon against me but to instead use it to make me happy." is actually a weapon you use against your wife. If you want sex, make your wife feel as good as you feel.

We will fix our budget and try to follow as much as possible.

How much money in this budget is for you and how much is for your wife? I don't mean money for food but money that she can spend on whatever she likes. You are working in a good job, so you are probably not poor. But if you don't give your wife money for herself without telling her what she can spend it on, she is a very poor woman wed to a rich husband. This is very frustrating and often leads to unequality and fights in a marriage.

Some men buy gifts for their wives like expensive clothing or jewelry, but this is not the same. A gift is something someone else chooses for you, no matter how expensive it is.
Some men say "just ask me and I'll buy you everything you ask for", but this often feels like begging for a wife. Choosing what to buy for herself feels much better.

Instead of telling her "You can ask me to buy things for X money each month", you should give her X money to buy things for herself.

Start speaking with me within hours or same day after any argument or fight. -- She usually extends this period to 3-4 days at least.

Why should she speak to you after an argument? It's your wish to speak to her, but she wishes to not speak to you. By making such rules in your marriage, you ignore her human aspects, which probably frustrates and angers her as much as it angers you when she doesn't speak to you.


What you should do to improve your marriage is start treating your wife absolutely equal to yourself. Your education doesn't matter in the least. Your marriage makes you equal in value, so you cannot establish rules she has to follow.

Try to think about her like you think about your (male) friends. Before repeating the same thing for the 101th time, try to see yourself in her position.

If she plays with your child and you want to remind her not to spoil the child, ask yourself this:

If I were playing with my child and having fun, and my wife would ask me to stop playing and be stern instead, how would I feel?

If you had a fight and she doesn't speak to you, ask yourself:

If my wife won this argument and I were really angry, how would I feel if she asked me to stop sulking and speak with her? What would I even tell her if I don't want to start the next fight?

If she complains about your mother, ask yourself:

If I didn't like my wife's mother as a person and my wife told me for the 100ths time not to complain about her, would I suddenly start feeling different about her?

This makes you practice empathy for your wife, see the situation from her perspective and hopefully understand her better.


You added another example to your question:

Me: Why are you always fighting with me? I don't want fights and need to stay peaceful inside home, we should not fight because already we had ton of fights which is more than enough for 2 entire lifetime.

Mohini: Fights are common in marriages

Me: ( get upset and trying to maintain tone), Don't think like that, it means you like fights. Try to target fight free marriage, so that it will be limited to minimum, if you target 100% then only reach 80%, you are targeting 40% and you will get only 20%.

Again, the wishes of your wife don't matter to you. You don't even ask for the wishes of your wife, you ask why she won't fulfill your wish to not fight.

By saying "Don't think like that" you are again the one who puts up a rule. You tell your wife how to think as if she was a little girl and didn't know anything about the world!

Your wife didn't go to school as long as you do, but that doesn't mean she's stupid. By treating her like a stupid child you insult her. Her answer and reaction is the result of that insult.

From your descriptions I get the feeling that in every fight you are always arguing until your wife agrees to you or until she ignores you. You think you only want to convince her of the right way to act, but in reality you oppress her. She can never convince you that she's right, so her only way to end the argument is by ignoring you.

A fight is never fought by one person alone. There are always two people involved and both are guilty of fighting.

  • 1
    I upvoted your answer but cannot accept it because some part of this answer is an eye opener for me, Thanks for that.But some other part of this answer is completely biased and ignores the information just like that. I am honest in my question it doesn't mean that I have to take every blame. – NiceGuy Jun 6 at 20:40
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    It is hurting too much when my solutions are rejected and no attempt/solution provided from other end. – NiceGuy Jun 6 at 20:41
  • 1
    I am not that much dominating like you described, I gave her money for whole month (25k INR). – NiceGuy Jun 6 at 20:42
  • 1
    I used to sit with her and asked many times, "what do you want", "tell me what you need to stop/reduce fights", but she never expressed herself, I literally begged her for 'peace inside home', nothing worked till now. – NiceGuy Jun 6 at 20:44
  • 3
    Only few times he asked me directly what I wanted. I did stand there silently waiting for some proof he actually cared and wanted to hear my answer. After few seconds less than a minute (long before I even thought how to formulate an answer) he sighed and went back to his talking in different topic. It made me feel that he really did not care about my answer and asked only to appear a good person. In hindsight my judgement of his motives was maybe inaccurate, but at the time one caring question could not outweigh the mountain of evidence of not caring behaviour. – BagiM Jun 7 at 4:08
7

Your problem is at the same time quite complex and very common (unfortunately).

A good answer would be very long, so I will not attempt it. However, I can recommend this book (Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps) which is very successful worldwide for a good reason.

Study as much as possible about giving and receiving feedback (the previous book covers the topic just partially). I have written an answer here a few ideas on feedback.

The basic hints:

  1. Both you and your wife have to understand that you are both different, and you have to behave according to the other person's needs, not according to your expectation.
  2. Listen to what she tells you, do not criticize. If she tells you something, then that something is true from her point of view. Make efforts to understand her point of view, and then to "fix" what is wrong.
  3. "Good sex will solve at least 50% of issues in marriage." - don't lie to yourself. That is a family-destructive myth. Sex is good when it is consensual. Otherwise, it is rape and will not solve anything - actually it will make things worse.Be warned: to "accept" sex and to want sex are two different things. Accepting sex is more like rape, so do not force her into it.
  4. In many cultures (and communities) worldwide , the man is "the God" and the woman must be "the slave". If that is how you see your roles, then you can improve your situation only if you change your vision. Treat her respectfully, do what she tells you to do, NOT what you think she wants, or ever worse, what you think she has to want.

I repeat with different words: she is a woman and she is different and she will always do things in a way different than you would do the same things. Polish your expectations, and everything will (possibly) improve.


"I am desperate of saying same thing again and again"

As I explained, that might be at the foundation of your problems. Stop "saying" and start really listening and understanding.

Did you think about it? She feels about your marriage EXACTLY as you do: "she disagrees by arguing/fighting with me" - she tells you what she wants, but you do not listen.


Me: What the hell is this husband role? I am not a drum which people can hit from both the sides.

Exactly as I feared. Unfortunately, in life, we have to be drums, otherwise even worse things can happen.

As a "drum", you will have to make your parents not interfere in your marriage, and to help your wife accept and forgive your parents more.

Since marriage is a two-sided coin, your wife has the same role as you - to be the drum between you and her relatives.

While reading that book (mentioned earlier), you will understand why she needs to talk, and why you need to listen. Notice that listening is for free. The alternative might be - give her a lot of money so she can go shopping; or who know what else, worse.


How can I communicate in a way she listens and acts accordingly?

Lead by example. Listen to her more, and act the way she needs. She will eventually do the same.


Book details:

Title: Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps (it is translated worldwide with different names)

Alternative title: Men Are from Mars, Women from Venus

Authors: Allan Pease, Barbara Pease (husband and wife)

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