Episode 52 – How to approach your husband with feedback he can actually hear

Have you got a problem you want solved in your marriage? Something you wish he’d stop doing YESTERDAY? Or start doing TODAY? 

Listen in to this week’s episode so you can avoid three pitfalls that’ll make your feedback almost impossible for him to hear.

Mentioned in this Episode

Bonus Resources

  • Check out the Defying Gravity Revolution – a Candice-led community of Bees committed to stop wondering if they married the wrong guy so they can enjoy the marriage they imagined when they said “I do.”
  • Grab your free e-copy of “Wife on Purpose” and the companion workbook HERE
  • Follow Candice on Instagram and Facebook

Episode Transcript

‘s Up, Bees!

Thanks for spending some time with me in your ear today.

It’s been so fun to hear you tell me all about how these episodes are landing for you.

I love getting messages from listeners like you who tell me how a comment I made shifted something in their marriage in a positive way because that’s why I got into this work in the first place.

I think of these Sunday chats we have as an essential part of what I do to further my mission of creating more solid marriages and more stable homes.

Because when those foundations are in place for you – everything else in your life will be easier, more fun and more memorable.

And when those foundations AREN’T there… everything else feels like so much more of a slog.

So thank yourself for being here with me every Sunday to celebrate what you love about your marriage right now AND also inch yourself closer to the marriage you imagined when you said “I do.”

I absolutely LOVE working with my paid clients and want to make sure YOU know that I recently released four new offers – each one designed to meet you exactly where you are RIGHT NOW in your search for coaching support.

I sent all the details of every offer to my email list – are you on it?

If not, all you’ve gotta do is go to www.candicetoone.com and click the gold button (in the upper right corner on a desktop) and claim my free course: “How to have the marriage you imagined when you said “I do”.

When you click, you’ll get that course in your inbox right away AND you’ll be automatically in to get first look details on all the ways we could work together to get you a marriage you love to live in.

Go opt in right now, before you listen to the meat of this message and forget to circle back.

And while you’re at it – be sure you’re subscribed to this podcast and share this episode with that one friend who would really love her husband to hear her out more easily.

The few seconds you take to share this message could mean all the difference in another woman’s marriage.

So keep sharing, posting and reviewing.

This work matters.

Your marriage does too.

Now let’s get into it.

You’ve got a concern. You want your husband to hear it.

Of course you do.

But it doesn’t always work out that way, amirite?

Sometimes he listens. A lot of time he deflects or gets defensive.

Through my work with hundreds of married women, I’ve noticed some trends that will pretty much ALWAYS stop the feedback train in its tracks – which is no fun at all.

And today… I’m gonna share those trends with you.

Let’s start by saying –

Of course you want his attitude to change on some things…

Of course you want his behavior to shift at times.

NOTHING wrong with you, him or your marriage if you find that to be the case.

I get it if you’re thinking some things have to change for your marriage to be better.

You’re probably right that fixing those things WOULD make everything easier.

And that’s why I’m here today with tips and strategies for how to approach you husband with feedback he can actually hear.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

In that scenario, your husband is the horse – and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that you sometimes experience him to be a giant stubborn mule.

Husbands are that way sometimes.

Wives too – but that’s another episode.

Husbands ARE stubborn sometimes. No argument here. And – don’t hate me for saying this – sometimes, maybe even often… they have good reason to be.

I know that might sound like bad news for you, but it REALLY isn’t.

Because when you understand his reason for digging in his heels, you then have the treasure map you need to get you the prize you really, really want.


Here’s how it works.

Husbands are humans and their human brains clamp down, close off and push back for reasons that probably fall into one of three categories.

All of which speak to something your husband is REALLY committed to avoid:

1 – confusion
2 – blame
3 – indefinite timelines

The more your husband believes that your feedback will help your marital team succeed in a noticeable way that will make a difference to YOU – the more likely he is to spend time and energy on your concern.

But if the problem is vague…

If it seems like he has to admit he’s mostly at fault…

If there’s no discernable path to improvement in sight…

He’s probably going to opt out or unsubscribe.

Which makes sense when you think about it because really… WHO wants to sign up to solve a nebulous problem that places ALL of the blame on them – especially if there’s no finish line on the horizon?

No one.

Not him.

Not me.

Probably not even you.

Doesn’t mean you have to stop bringing up your concern. That’s not it at ALL.

Cuz no one can live that way either.

All I’m suggesting is that you use this information to help you keep your concern solidly on the table – instead of hinting or silently blaming and then being mad at yourself for silently blaming – all of which will more than likely get your concern ignored and keep your marriage suffering under the strain of yet another taboo topic.

In my marriage coaching program – the Defying Gravity Revolution – we place a HEAVY emphasis on going after THINGS rather than stewing in THEMES.

That’s because husbands don’t love being confused and honestly… wives don’t either.

Side note: I’m going to speak about all of these principles as something wives can clear up for husbands – mostly because I’d guess if you’re listening… you’re a wife.


If you are a husband listening, please know that all of this will ABSOLUTELY help in reverse as well.

It’s every person’s opportunity in ANY relationship to help communication run more smoothly by avoiding confusion, suspending blame and making sure there’s an end point in sight.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say your husband asks you to pick up some sort of spicy rub for the meat he’ll be smoking on Saturday.

Which set of instructions would you feel better about following?

Grab some of that rub, babe – you know the one I like.


Please pick up some Feast Mode brand, Cheddar Bacon flavor seasoning. It’ll have a black cap, white label, red logo. It’s gonna be on the spice aisle at Harmon’s about ½ way down on the left hand side as you are walking in from the front of the store. We only need one bottle. Thanks babe.

Most people would feel more confident about completing the second set of instructions. Why?

Because those instructions are clear and specific. There’s very little space for confusion or error.

Which usually feels safer.

Feels especially safe if you know you can call husband to clarify and that he’ll help out if you get stuck on aisle 3.

That’s the benefit of avoiding confusion.

There’s a lot of safety in knowing exactly what it takes to nail the mission.

More safety = more success.

Plain and simple.

On to blame… the second thing to avoid if you want your feedback to be heard.

It’s so tempting to voice a concern like this:

“You never spend time with me anymore. It’s like you don’t even care about me at all.”

That probably IS how you feel sometimes.

It’s also not a great way to set up a brainstorming, problem-solving type conversation because husband is going to orient to the threat first (even over the solution) and try to squelch it.

Enter – defensiveness.

Consciously or not, he’s going to focus on disproving the unflattering thing you said.

Because in his mind – OF COURSE he cares about you. He perceives you to be incorrect in thinking he doesn’t, so his mission automatically becomes correcting your comment – which also means – unfortunately and unconsciously – that he’s not focusing on solving the real issue.

Wives do this too.

We want to correct any unflattering thing our husband says about us, which makes it harder for us to actually hear his needs – let alone meet them.

Remember, all of these concepts are a two way street – and knowing that CAN – I hope – introduce a little compassion for each other as we continue on cuz we can see that we’re all in the same boat.

You’re probably blaming your husband because you believe – at least on some level – that if he doesn’t see himself as the problem, he won’t change his behavior and when he doesn’t your marriage will suffer forever.

And girl… I hear you.

I also know that he doesn’t have to agree with you that he’s thoughtless or lacks self-awareness or has a wandering eye – he can still make the change without agreeing to labels he doesn’t want to accept.

He can start being more thoughtful without being forced to agree that he’s thoughtless.
He can be more attentive to you without being forced to agree that he’s insensitive.
He can help out more without being forced to agree that he’s been lazy or unappreciative of all you do.

Cuz ladies… listen. We’ve gotta keep our eye on the prize. If you want a specific behavior to be different, I suggest sitting on the same side of the table as him and solving the issue as a team.

It’s harder, but it’s more effective.

It’s more work up front, but less mess in the end.

Because you’re focused on your connection. Your shared goals. NOT on him admitting he’s a bumbling bafoon.

Cuz no one wants to be a bumbling bafoon.

And arguing over whether he is… well… that’s just a waste of time.

So instead of saying, “You never help around here.” (which is a THEME) say “would you like to pick up the groceries or drive carpool” (both THINGS).

Also notice, that “you never help” is confusing (our number one no-no) whereas inviting him to divide and conquer on specific tasks is clear.

Let’s wrap up with the last thing to avoid if you want your feedback to land.


Imagine that you’re on a team of some sort – could be at work, on a volunteer committee, a sports event, the type of team doesn’t really matter.

You’re on a team and they put you on probation.

They don’t clarify a plan to get off probation nor do they tell you what the probation entails.

You’re not clear on if there are “strikes” or how many strikes there are.

It’s not obvious what happens if you get another strike.

So far as you can tell, the probation is indefinite and it’s possible your status could change for the worse at any second.

How do you feel thinking about yourself in that position?

I’m calling – Yikes.

That’s a big ball of confusion and blame with no telling when or if it’ll stop rolling.

That’s a pretty crappy and not terribly motivating position to be in.

And – it’s one that you’ve probably put your husband in without meaning to.

I have too.

All because I thought it would help change get made.

But… probation like that will more likely cause him to give up and back off than to change.

Now… I hear you if this one seems hard.

Because when YOU feel hurt or threatened or unloved in your marriage you may not know the terms of the probation you’ve put him on.

You might not have even realize you put him on probation.

The key is to notice whether you’re holding back from him and if you are… decide on purpose if you want to be.

This requires honesty and specifics between you and you.

When you talk to you, make sure you’re getting clear on how the situation could be resolved – including what YOU can do to help out along the way.

Might require you to forgive or be more generous in your assumptions about him or to accept approximations of the behavior you want as proof that he heard you and he’s doing his best.

Might require you to be honest about the fact that while you’re willing to forgive, you aren’t willing to accept certain behaviors any longer for valid reasons that you like and then do the hard work of letting both of you move on with your separate lives.

When you talk to him, make sure you’re clear on the steps you’re looking for and the timeframe that you plan to follow as you revisit the issue.

In the actual conversation itself, consider timeboxing the chat so you both know it won’t drag on for hours upon painful hours.

Be clear. Be supportive of the relationship. Be direct. And… allow room for breaks and pacing.

No one does their best work under continuous scrutiny as they go for a goal that might never be reached.

So if you want your feedback heard…

Be specific — to avoid confusion
Be supportive —- to avoid getting mired in blame
Be succinct —- to avoid the fatigue and apathy that come from indefinite timelines

All of the above will make it seem easier and more possible for the two of you to have success together.

Which is really the goal, right?

Resolution becomes WAY more likely when both of you can clearly see how the work you put in to the issue will benefit your relationship as a whole AND pay off for each of you individually.
It IS harder to be intentional and specific as you approach problem solving together.

I’ll give you that.

It’s also more effective and it gets easier with practice.

If you want more personalized, practical advice on how to apply what we’ve discussed on this episode today, you’ve gotta register for my free challenge: Romance in Real Life.

We’ll get together Feb 12-16 @ 11a MT every day to practice the art of day-day connection.

I’ve got two practical tools that you’ll be able to use RIGHT AWAY + you can ask me anything you want about your specific situation – all for free.

Go to www.candicetoone.com/romance-in-real-life and grab your seat.

Bring a friend while you’re at it.

Cuz everyone could use a little more romance in their life. Of that I am sure.

So choose to be a woman who supports other women by inviting your friends to come with you to Romance in Real Life – starting 8 days from now… just in time for Valentine’s Day.


Choose courage, Bees. And Keep. On. Flying.

Are you ready to have the marriage you imagined when you said “I do”?

Click below to get the FREE course: How to have the marriage you imagined when you said “I do”. You’re worth it and you’re welcome.

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I’m Candice.

I believe that every wife ought to feel cherished and valued. Appreciated and adored. I know we can make that happen. Even if it seems impossible to you. I’m a Master Certified Life Coach and I spend my days coaching women who are afraid in their marriages. You and I can work together to find a way for you to trust in your own decisions instead of constantly reacting to his. Now’s your time, Bee. How much longer are you willing to wonder and wait?