Couple arguing
How can you avoid making arguments with your spouse worse?

Note from Mark Merrill: Today my wife, Susan, director of iMOM, is going to share with us five ways not to communicate with your wife. This is in response to my "5 Ways Not to Communicate With Your Husband" blog post. I’m listening carefully. You can read her blog and also follow her on Twitter.

Women are obviously different. I would guess there are different opinions on how a husband should or should not communicate with his wife. Were I married to a different man with a different communication style, this blog might have listed different ways not to communicate. 

These are my five, and they are the result of 24 years with Mark:

1. With attack intensity. On any given day, motherhood can be a strategic battle. So if a husband needs to communicate and approaches in attack mode, he may get a woman warrior reaction. This is the fight-or-flight response taking over in her brain. It is much better for a husband to approach softly.

2. With his mind already made up. We should operate as single-mindedly as possible in matters concerning our family. To be single-minded takes coordination, negotiation and lots of communication. If a husband approaches a discussion with his mind firmly made up, leaving no room for open ruminating or joint problem-solving, it can be frustrating.

3. Late at night. I am too tired late at night. That’s just me. The brain has only so much RAM, and I am out of mine after 9 p.m. for any complicated conversations.

4. With criticism. Criticism in communication takes my focus away from the topic.  Instead, I find myself defensively focused on my behavior and our relationship. If the topic is our relationship, that makes it even worse because I feel under attack. Attack makes me distrust, and trust is crucial to relationships.

5. With thousands of words. I get worn out listening. I get lost in the purpose of the communication.

I’d like to hear from you and learn more ways husbands should not communicate with their wives. Please share your comments below. 

Susan Merrill is the wife of Mark Merrill, president of Family FirstFor the original article, visit

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