Why your wife won’t say what she’s really thinking

Why doesn't your wife tell you what's really on her mind? The reasons might be complex, but what you need to do is simple.

You don’t have to be a marriage counselor to hear stories of frustrated men who just wish their wives would say what they really wanted. This happens all the time. Birthdays, Christmas, vacations … Your wife says she wants one thing and then gets upset because she really wanted something else.

If only she’d just tell you what she’s really thinking, you wouldn’t have to worry about it. If she’d just tell you what she’s thinking, you could do whatever it is she really wants. If only she’d just let you in.

There are a few good (and bad) reasons your wife won’t tell you what she’s really thinking:

Societal norms

Unfortunately, women around the globe are taught from childhood to be “good girls.” This means they’re supposed to be quiet, not get in the way, not play in the mud or get in trouble like the misbehaving boys. As a result, many women are taught from an early age not to speak up and not to voice their opinions or concerns. They’re taught to keep the peace — not create a stir. So, when you ask your wife what’s really on her mind, she may not really tell you because she may never have learned how.

Young beliefs about love

Little girls grow up loving prince and princess movies. There’s just something romantic and exciting about Prince Charming coming to rescue Snow White and whisking her away to a castle to live happily ever after — especially when Snow White didn’t have to do a thing except eat a poison apple. A lot of little girls grow up with this fairy tale marriage in mind where their Prince Charmings will take care of everything for them — and they don’t have to say a word because their princes will just know what makes them happy.

Unfortunately, this Prince Charming Fallacy gets perpetuated in dating, too. Men are usually the ones responsible for planning dates, going to great lengths to come up with things their dates will like. If a girl likes what her date planned, then she goes out with him again. If not, then “they just weren’t compatible” and she doesn’t reply to his texts anymore.

The problem with these young beliefs about love is, when men and women get married, they’re expected to stop mind reading and openly communicate with each other — but neither of them has much experience communicating openly. They’re told to say what they feel and what they like, but they just don’t know how.

Deep-seated fear

Another reason women often don’t say what they’re really thinking is because of a biological, deep-seated fear of not being loved if they do. When a couple gets married, they’re supposed to be open, loving and caring toward each other. But it doesn’t take long after the wedding before there’s a fight and feelings get hurt. So, instead of saying what she’s really thinking, your wife may keep things inside in order to prevent fights from happening and keep from getting hurt again.

Instead of feeling frustrated the next time your wife won’t say what’s on her mind, give her a break. There are a lot of reasons why this could be. Instead of getting angry, talk openly together and find out if any of these three things may be keeping her from letting you in. Just by having that conversation, you’ll both find yourselves connecting more than you have in a while. You’ll find that your wife is finally letting you in.

Aaron Anderson

Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog for expert information on how to improve your relationship.