Have you ever thought much about change in your marriage. I think change presents a real problem for a lot of people. The letter we talked about last week focused on how she claimed her husband had changed. He had once been warm and friendly and funny and a great listener. Now, she claims, he has become cold and condescending. She, you recall, was convinced there was no good reason for him to have changed because she was a perfect wife. Why would a man change in this way? 

Before they were married, we are told that he was a "great listener." This is a common complaint of wives. "He never listens to me anymore" or "he used to listen more" is frequently a complaint of wives. Think about it. 

When you were dating and first married, he "listened well" because he did not know anything. Your life was a mystery to him and, because he loved you, he loved hearing about your life. He learned about you and who you were and he was interested because you were interesting. 

Then you married and began to live together. You have lived together for many years. What do you talk about now? No, seriously, if you complain about his lack of interest in your conversation, then ask yourself about your conversation. 

What do you talk about? When you were young, and he was an interested listener, you talked about all kinds of things. You talked about your hobbies and your friends and your family and all manner of things. What do you talk about now?

For too many wives, especially stay at home wives, this is a real problem. What do you have to say to him? What is the substance of your conversation? You no longer live "in the world" as he does. You do not meet new people regularly. You have no boss about whom to complain. You do not deal with customers. You are not involved in major work issues. You are home all day. You watch children and you watch TV and you surf the internet. What do you have to say that is interesting? Usually, you spend your time with children (who are not interesting conversationally) or with other stay at home wives. This is not the source of interesting conversation.

Are you talking just about the children? If your conversation is all about children's teachers and children's activities, he is not interested because these are not interesting subjects. They don't change much and they have no inherent interest. If, every day, he has to hear about the same children doing the same things, why should he care? 

If he works at any kind of a decent job, his work is much more interesting than your conversation, if all you talk about is domestic stuff. He deals with problems and challenges and issues and people all day. Of course he is less interested in domestic stuff when he gets home. He is also probably really tired when he gets home.

How much of your conversation is complaining? Wives complain a  lot, without even knowing it. They want to talk about what their children aren't doing ("we need more music lessons") or what other children are doing ("how lucky they are"). They are worried about their children and want to talk about how they feel. Husbands are often expected to spend the whole evening "building up" their wife out of her worries and fears. This is wearing on a husband. 

If the husband tries to talk about his work or his life outside the family, then the wife is often uninterested. She may even be actually negative. If he talks about trouble with his boss. she worries that he will be fired. If he talks about uninteresting work, she worries about their future. He learns to keep quiet to keep her from worrying or over-reacting. 

There is an old truism in preaching and teaching: If the class is not interested, the problem is you. If I am the one speaking, it is my job to be interesting. It is not the listener's job to "be interested." I am the one speaking, so I am the one whose actions determine whether something is interesting. 

If your husband seems bored when you talk to him, ask yourself why. Maybe you are boring. Maybe he is tired. Maybe you should find a better time to talk to him. Maybe you should do something to make your conversation more interesting. Too often, women think he is obligated to be interested, that his lack of interest is his problem. It isn't. It's your problem. Telling him to be more interested is nonsense. You should be more interesting.

Am I surprised to hear that a man is less interested in his wife's conversation after 13 years? No. I would be more surprised to hear the opposite. 

If he is bored with you, then ask yourself when you became boring. Have you stopped growing intellectually (a lot of women do stop growing intellectually)? What do you have to tell him that is interesting? Are you reading anything interesting (or just junk)? Are you doing anything interesting? 

If he is not listening, it is probably because you are not interesting. Maybe the problem is you.

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