“Study Him” Ideas + A Contest

June 20, 2011

in the generous life

Recently a generous wife (thanks, Tammy!) emailed me to ask for help.

I knew you had discussed “studying” your spouse before.  Do you have any ideas on questions??

Let’s open this up to the whole list.  How do you study your husband?  What kinds of questions do you ask?

And let’s make this a contest too.  Leave your ideas and questions as a comment to this tip and in a week I’ll ask my husband for a number (for example “5”) and that poster (the 5th poster) will win a copy of Who Calls Me Beautiful, (aff link) a wonderful book about understanding God’s idea of true beauty.

Be generous!  Lori <><

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Debra June 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

I like to really listen when he is talking to one of his friends either in person or on the phone. Many times he will say things or express himself in ways that are different than what he communicates verbally to me. If I hear something new, then I can talk with him about it later. This has helped me understand him better and understand what is important to him.

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Donna June 21, 2011 at 11:27 am

One way (not mentioned) that I study him is by absorbing his “types”. We have taken several surveys and although not perfect, they really help me understand him better, since I am never like him at all!

Most people know about the love languages: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/ but they also have one for apology languages now, which I found fascinating.

I also learned a LOT from the Myers-Briggs test here: http://www.humanmetrics.com

Since I don’t think like him and he doesn’t think like me, I find it helpful to use these types of surveys to explain to me what is going on inside his head, since he cannot always explain it.

Jen, I would also like a copy of the chart: king clan 9 @ gmail .com

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Denise June 21, 2011 at 11:46 am

I learn from past mistakes. If he wasn’t ready to talk as soon as he came home from work, I learned to give him time to relax first. If he doesn’t want me to be gone on a certain night, I learned to ask him before making plans. If he wanted me NOT to wash the hunting clothes (I used the wrong detergent :), I let him do it. There are many more examples. But just as we have to let our kids fail to learn, I have learned to use my failures to make our marriage stronger.

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Bear June 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

Always know his favorite color, hero and his sizes. Then go deeper.

Watch what video games he plays, what system, and don’t be afraid to ask a sales person what is similar that’s coming out. The same goes for books and movies; note his genre and favorite authors, actors and directors. Ask him about the stories, so you can find similar ones to give as gifts. If he buys new clothes, note the colors and prints, so you know what to look for at the store. If he lingers by the watches, he wants a watch. If he lingers by the computers, he wants a computer.

To figure out his love language, listen to him. If he tells you every good thing he does, he needs your verbal praise. Look for opportunities to praise him. Say thank you. Know how he learns. If he doesn’t retain what you say as a daily thing, leave your love on notes in the pocket of his work clothes, his planner or his lunch. If he’s always touching you, he wants to be touched. If he’s always helping you out, he wants you to help him.

The more time you spend together, the more observations you can make, and always make learning him a priority. It’s more important than anything about you. That’s just love.

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Heather June 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

My husband and I were older than average when we married, so we had many life experiences before we met. One of my favorite ways to study him is to listen to stories from his pre-Heather life and ask questions about formative events. Another way that I often learn surprising things is to be quite and let him talk when we are visiting with friends. He often expresses different thoughts to them, or expresses things we have discussed in different ways, helping me understand his thoughts and feelings much more clearly. Then when we are alone I can say “I’m glad you mentioned…” or “I was surprised to hear you say…” and ask him to elaborate. It’s often a great way to get him talking.

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Ellen June 22, 2011 at 11:54 am

I find that the best way I can learn what matters to my husband is to let him go “first” when “unloading” about the day. If he walks in and I start to give my spill of he said/she said from all day long I find that he is less likely to share what happened to him that day. In dealing with his busy mix of work and school he often needs to “vent” as much as I do and I find that if I go first it makes him less likely to share that deep inner part of himself I am the only one he entrusts with.

I try to ask open ended questions. Instead of “How was your day?” – which is really a 1-word answer question, I try to say, “Tell me about your day.” This way he can take the conversation however he wishes.

Another help is observing his reactions to things… while a friend may tell her husband something I could tell my husband the exact same thing and really cause him to feel disrespected – maybe it reminds him of something hurtful a friend or family member did in the past or maybe it makes him feel like I’m being his “mom” – but respecting our own husbands means understanding how they feel disrespected and avoiding those things.

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Jenny June 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I love reading all your ideas!! my hubby gets tired of me asking him so many questions so I usually just try and LISTEN to him – which is HARD for me ♥ and I am working on it!! But I do learn from him when I do! although when he is in a talking mode I try and ask him questions like some have mentioned above – it’s interesting to find out new things about my hubby!

We are both growing so close to each other and to God lately that our marriage is getting better everyday and I am cherishing every minute of it!

Keep up the good ideas ♥

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Jamie Y June 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm

My husband loves golf and spends a significant amount of time doing it. This has caused a bit of a problem because I have felt like he almost prefers to golf than to be at home. I have had to change my way of thinking because I know that it’s not that he “prefers” it, he just gets something out of it that he doesn’t get at home, and vice versa. It’s not a comparison or a competition. I have started to ask my husband about the game of golf; rules, terms, etc., as well as how he feels when he is golfing, what it does for him, etc. I have also gone as far as to ride along with him a couple times to watch him play, which I must say was very exciting for me (he’s really good from what I can tell and what others say). I guess my point is that by studying my husband, I have learned to change my reactions to him, which I think is key. In turn, my change in attitude toward him has made him kinda see more where I’m coming from too, and he golfs less now because of it. We both benefit. :)

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Jacinda June 24, 2011 at 2:56 am

Even starting the thought process of studying my husband seems like a daunting task. In the middle of raising three little knights for God and those general tasks that go along with raising children. He is a selfemployed truck driver so my favorite part is riding along for hours and just listening to him talk. I have no where to go and nothing that needs my attention! That can’t happen on a regular basis but I challenge myself to be a attentive listener even when he comes home and talks.

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Sharon June 24, 2011 at 3:41 am

Whenever he tells me that I look pretty, I ask him what specific things he likes about how I look that day, then I try to duplicate those things often. I also try to notice when he goes back to get seconds and thirds at meals and make it a point to prepare those dishes regularly. I ask questions about his feelings about situations that I can tell affect him deeply, because he rarely volunteers information about his feelings on his own.

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Sarah G. June 24, 2011 at 3:51 am

When we take walks together I ask him questions about his childhood because that always brings up things I never knew about him. Like a couple days ago I asked him what he daydreamed about when he was younger. Sometimes I just out of nowhere ask him “If you could be ANYWHERE right now, where would you be?” You would be surprised at how much that shines a light into your husbands state of mind or his preferences or likes. :)

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Caris June 24, 2011 at 4:22 am

Ooh! @Jen E. Please send me the chart too! ctilson at gmail dot com.

Having been married for only 2 1/2 years, and having spent most of that time working opposite schedules, or pregnant, and raising our daughter, much of the time I count on memories as study material. I read somewhere once (pretty sure it was Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work?)that if one partner can remember the great times of their relationship with their spouse, and communicate their fondness for all the time they’ve spent together, even a seemingly doomed marriage is salvageable. I owe all to the Lord for our marriage, and I like to “raise my Ebenezer” (see 1 Samuel 7:12-14) as a way of studying the brilliant, complex, and winsome man He gave to me! I encourage you to make a memory notebook filled with photographs, mementos, or journaling, to help you study your hubby, whether you’ve been a Generous Wife for mere weeks or many years!

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Kat June 24, 2011 at 6:10 am

I recently lost weight so I have had some wardrobe changes. I have been careful(and had fun!) watching my husband’s reactions to the newer and more close fitting attire. Sometimes I’ll carelessly forget a bra and I’ll notice him out of the corner of my eye watching me. :)
I try to take notice when he comes in the door of his mood and demeanor. Does he seem tired? I might offer him a glass of iced tea if it’s a warm day or something of that nature.

Thank you so much for your ministry to wives – it is much appreciated!

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Julie Sibert June 24, 2011 at 6:11 am

I study my husband by trying to discern if his frustration about something or need for more information is really just his way of expressing he’s feeling anxious or insecure about it. Hear me out on this… if a woman is feeling anxious or insecure, she is more likely to simply come right out and say that… “I’m nervous about the speech I have to give” or “I am scared we’re going to miss our flight.”

Men, generally, do not like to come right out and say what they are feeling nervous about… they sometimes see that as a sign of weakness. It’s not, of course, and it’s good when we all can grow in communicating our true feelings.

But as a wife, I have tried to pay closer attention to if my husband’s irritable disposition or his quietness or his repeatedly asking the same question is simply a sign that he is feeling anxious about something.

It’s in those moments that I as his wife can be reassuring… in a way that I am able to come along side him and help him see “hey, you’re not in this alone. I’m here.”

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Bethany June 24, 2011 at 7:46 am

I ask him what he thinks (or is thinking). I want to know what’s going on in his mind, his opinions, reasonings, perspectives, even feelings. This question seems to capture most of that. It is a better way to get at his feelings because his mind doesn’t work that way. If I ask him how he feels, he talks about health, comfort, how he feels physically. While that is important, it’s usually not what I’m going for. He is also not aware of his emotions as feelings, rather, as thoughts, so asking him what he is thinking seems to get to his heart.

Another way I learn about him is through conflict. No, I don’t start fights with him to learn about him. But when we’re resolving it, we usually have an informal lessons learned conversation, where we learn better each others needs, expectations, thought processes, etc. This helps us to avoid future conflicts of the same kind, and builds good will, reinforcing the knowledge that we are for each other and not against.

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Joneva June 24, 2011 at 8:21 am

My husband enjoys hunting and so I try to make sure that when he offers me to go along that I take time. He loves watching movies and so I practice to sit with him and watch instead of cleaning up the dishes and/or around the house. He use to often say I didn’t have time for him so I have made that a priority to make sure I have time for him when he is home. I know these little things have helped us in our marriage cause it makes him feel loved and important at home too.

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Yvonne June 24, 2011 at 11:58 am

Several ideas:

1. I read books about marriage and relationships and try to see where he falls in the big picture.

2. We drink wine on the back porch together and I’ll ask a random question about his childhood – this usually leads to a series of stories!

3. Just listen to him talk and actually pay attention. We have time together each day – either drinking a glass of wine on the back porch or doing something in the yard. He likes to tell me about his day and get my feedback on things relatedt o wrk.

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Terri June 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I think the way I study my husband that he most appreciates, is listening to what I do that stimulates his sex drive, and what I can change to keep our love making exciting for him. I find that if I keep him excited about sex with different things, and not let him be bored with the same place, same position, etc., that he is much more apt to open up to me about other areas of his life!

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tvs June 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I have to be careful about how intently I sometimes study my husband. It is not always in a constructive and respectful way. Thank you for all the great tips and suggestions.

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Dodi June 25, 2011 at 1:44 am

I know that when my husband is sexually fulfilled, he stays in a good mood and can perform well in his job and in daily life situations. so, I always try to manage my time to offer a chance for sex and making love to each other. And believe me : when your husband is sexually happy , his behavior completely change for the best and he will try to make you happy in every area of your life. This is beside the physical and emotional benefits you both gain from making love to each other. ( you will notice an increased level in intimacy that you will both enjoy till the rest of your life)!

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TM June 28, 2011 at 7:11 am

Currently I am trying to study my husband in every way to try to learn as much as I can about him again. You see, 3+ years ago, I was involved in a very bad auto wreck which left me with a brain injury that took away almost all of my long term memory. We have been married for 21 years and have 3 daughters, but I remember none of that past. People have told us we have the prime opportunity for a “do over”, but it is honestly so much more complicated than that. At times I have felt like I have been dropped in on someone else’s family to try to be a wife and mother to complete strangers. And with it comes a lot of fear and frustration. However, we are committed to making this work!

Thank you for this site, which gives me ideas to work on that my injured brain does not have the capacity to think of on its own. I have never been very public about my current situation, so even writing here about it is a challenge to me, but I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your honest, moral suggestions for making married relationships be the best they can be.

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Amanda June 28, 2011 at 8:10 am

A man is a differant creature, the way they talk, think, and feel. It is only natural that they do not see the things we see as women. That is what makes a marriage a marriage. A woman may go through life trying to understand a man, which in fact we only understand just so little. That is why GOD made us this way. I have tried several ways, and their are many websites that support this topic. In actuality husbands have their on thoughts and mind, a peice of him that they do not wish to share, a part of them that makes them feel like a man. I have accepted that in my husband, even though I strive so hard to understand him but in the same since I lose understanding myself. My husband and I were talking one day it hit me when he said “My thoughts are mine, no one can take them away from me.” Is true. I do understand my husband, a portion of him. His hobbies to his favorite foods even the little things he likes. But his thoughts would be his and my thoughts are mine that is what makes us.

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dee dee June 29, 2011 at 7:38 am

i’d love to see that CHART too. =0)

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Melinda Rheinfeldt June 20, 2013 at 3:14 am

I gently touch my husband and sit closely to him giving him all my attention. He knows ehst he says I’m listening.

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Camisa June 20, 2013 at 6:05 am

My husband likes to take things apart. I dropped what I was doing and came along side him. He then talked about the parts and I helped him clean it. I make his priorities mine. I look at the books he has and I read some of them. I check out his music collection.

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