“My husband gets defensive when I tell him how I feel” – 10 tips if this is you

Women often think that their husbands are the most defensive men you’ll ever meet. And there’s nothing wrong with this.

But what if your husband gets defensive when you tell him how you feel? Yes, one of the toughest parts of being in a relationship is trying to understand your partner’s point of view and how they feel.

But if your husband gets defensive every time you share your emotions, you will probably get a bit annoyed and frustrated.

So, are you looking for ways to deal with your defensive husband?

Then, the tips below will help you understand why your partner gets defensive when you tell him how you feel and how you can work through it.

1) Be assertive in your speech

How confident are you whenever you decide to share things that you don’t like in your relationship with your husband?

Do you find yourself holding back because you don’t want to offend him or hurt his feelings?

If so, it is time that you start being assertive in your speech.

Being assertive means that you have the courage and confidence to express your opinions and feelings in a clear and direct way. And guess what?

Being assertive in your speech is crucial for clear communication with your husband!

So let’s say that your husband gets defensive when you tell him how you feel. And this happens every time you share a negative emotion about things happening in your relationship with him.

How do you solve this problem?

You need to tell him how it makes you feel when he gets defensive but then asks for his feedback about what he thinks about the situation.

If he doesn’t understand why he does it this way, then ask for a solution from him instead of blaming him or making assumptions about what he thinks.

In short, you need to be assertive in your speech!

But how is this possible if your husband always gets defensive when you tell him how you feel?

Well, the truth is that some men are sensitive to the emotions of others and this can be a problem in a relationship.

In other words, some men may be more emotional than others. And if you share your emotions with such a man, he may get defensive and upset when you tell him how you feel.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

What is important here is that you take control of your speech and be mindful of how you phrase things.

That way, he may feel a need to help you deal with these negative emotions instead of getting defensive and giving you a cold shoulder.

So, don’t get frustrated when he gets defensive every time you express your emotions.

Instead, talk to him calmly and patiently and use this opportunity to get useful feedback from him about how he feels about the situation.

2) Give your husband space to understand what you are saying

Have you ever tried to explain something to someone who didn’t get it?

If so, you know how frustrating this can be.

And this is exactly what happens when your husband doesn’t understand your point of view.

You may feel frustrated and angry when he doesn’t understand what you are saying. And if he is sensitive to the emotions of others, then he may feel even more frustrated and upset about not being understood.

But you know what?

If this scenario is what happens every time you tell your husband how you feel, then you should think about giving him a break.

What do I mean?

Just give your husband space and let him understand what you are saying without getting defensive.

Give him some space to understand what is going on in his head without getting angry or defensive himself.

If he feels uncomfortable talking about it, let him know that is okay and give him some time to think about it over a cup of coffee or something like that.

But don’t expect too much from him too soon after sharing how you feel because he might not be ready for the conversation just yet.


Because maybe he needs some time to think about your emotions and how he feels about the situation first.

Maybe he needs some time to understand why you feel a certain way and how you feel about his behavior.

Well, if your husband is sensitive to the emotions of others, then he may need this kind of space when you tell him how you feel.

And by giving him this space, you are giving him a chance to understand what you are saying without getting defensive.

And this will go a long way toward helping your husband learn how to deal with your emotions and take control of the situation instead of getting defensive every time your emotions surface.

So, understand that the problem with your communication style is that it can lead to a cold shoulder from your husband and a feeling of distance in the relationship. So do everything you can to avoid this communication style!

Instead, let him come to his own conclusions without getting defensive about how things are going in the relationship.

It’s not easy for men to express their feelings openly and honestly, but it’s worth trying if you want a happy marriage!

3) Don’t take offense easily

Let me take a wild guess.

Let’s say that your husband gets defensive when you tell him how you feel. And this happens every time you share a negative emotion about things happening in your relationship with him.

And guess what?

You’re taking it too personally when your husband gets defensive after telling him how you feel.

You’re feeling hurt and misunderstood by him. You feel like he is taking you for granted and that he doesn’t care about your feelings at all.

Yes, it’s hard to deal with an unsupportive husband, but this is not the case in this situation.

The truth is that your husband is actually taking you very seriously. He’s trying to understand your perspective and what you’re going through.

But this is not something he can do unless he takes a step back and thinks about it from your perspective.

But what if he doesn’t even listen to what you’re saying because he always gets angry and defensive instead? So what do you do? Do you take offense easily and start bawling?

Of course not! That would be ridiculous! After all, it’s not like he has no right to feel the way he does! He’s the one who is making the situation so unbearable for us!

Okay I know — it’s not easy to think straight in this situation and not take their offense personally. So, what do you do in such a case?

Well, I’ll let tell you now that the success of many relationships involves unlearning things we already know. Which is often a lot harder than learning them in the first place.

I took every comment my partner made so personally in the beginning. Every remark was a personal slight and defamation of my character, in my eyes.

However, with a good amount of self-reflection and healing I was able to let go of this militant black and white programming within my brain.

Rudá Iandé’s free Love and Intimacy Masterclass was key in helping me in my journey to improve my own emotional regulation as well as understand my partner better.

A world renowned shaman and guide to those looking to develop their relationships with themselves as well as others, his course involves practical exercises and activities which really prompt you to think.

It’s thanks to these that I’ve been able to learn to take a step back and see that my partner is not attacking me during these periods of conflict. 

We now work together, as a team, to resolve conflict and we do so in an amicable and loving manner.

It takes work, getting to the stage of seeing the world through your partner’s eyes. But it’s worthwhile work.

Learning to work as a team rather than enemies trying to win a race is critical to the longevity of any long-term marriage.

Click here to access the free masterclass.

4) Don’t make assumptions – tell him directly

Ever noticed how you tend to make assumptions about your husband’s behavior?

For example, you might assume that he gets angry and defensive every time you tell him how you feel. You might assume that he doesn’t care about your feelings at all.

And you know what?

This is what makes you upset.

But it’s not true! Your husband can also be quite sensitive and caring, right? He just has a different way of showing it. After all, I bet that’s why you fell in love with him.

If he was more sensitive and caring, he wouldn’t get angry or defensive when you told him how you felt.

But he does so because that’s the way his mind works, and it’s easier for him to understand your perspective if things have been done in a certain way before.

And that’s why I want to do something about it:

Don’t make assumptions about what he thinks or feels about things happening in the relationship. Just tell him directly!

One of the biggest mistakes that women make when they want to understand their husband’s point of view is making assumptions about what they think or feel their partner thinks or feels about something happening in their relationship.

So don’t hesitate to tell him everything you feel or think.

He’s probably just as confused as you are. And he needs to know that you’re not mad at him.

And besides that, it’s good for the relationship!

5) Don’t criticize his personality

Can I be totally honest with you?

Sometimes wives get really frustrated with their husbands because they don’t have the same personality traits.

For example, you may not be very good at staying quiet and relaxed when things aren’t going well. And he can be quite restless and anxious when something is bothering him.

And that can make me feel like he’s not being sensitive to your feelings or doesn’t care about them at all!

But if you’re as sensitive as most women, you know that this isn’t true. He’s just wired differently than you are!

But guess what?

By saying that he’s too defensive, you’re attacking his personality and character. And this is not going to work at all!

That’s why you shouldn’t criticize his personality traits!

They’re different from yours for a reason! He just needs to learn how to be more understanding and sensitive in his relationships with you too. That’s all there is to it.

Yes, I get that it’s not easy to deal with the fact that he doesn’t accept your feelings and gets defensive, but if you stop criticizing him, chances are that you’ll manage to deal with this problem and make him realize how much he means to you.

6) Understand why he’s being defensive

Okay, you do realize that your husband is being defensive when he gets angry or defensive when you tell him that you don’t like something he’s doing.

But do you understand the real reasons behind his behavior? Do you know what he’s really trying to say?

Let’s try to figure out why he feels the way he does.

Maybe he’s been hurt by you in the past. And that makes him feel insecure and angry. He may have been hurt by something you said or didn’t say to him, or something you did or didn’t do for him.

Or maybe he feels that he’s taking more responsibility than you are in the relationship.

He may also be afraid that you’ll leave him if he doesn’t take care of everything for you. He’s been hurt by other people who did things for him and then left him. And he feels that if you leave him, too, it will crush him.

So he doesn’t want to be left any more vulnerable than other people have been in the past. He doesn’t want to be hurt again. So he takes care of everything himself so that nothing can hurt him or disappoint him anymore.

Whatever the reason, the way he reacts is a way of trying to protect himself from being hurt again.

And it can be hard for him to understand why you would be upset if that’s what he was trying to do!

That’s why you should try to understand the psychology behind his behavior. And be patient with him.

7) Avoid overreacting and don’t get mad at his behavior

  • “He seems very defensive!”
  • “He’s probably trying to confront you! He’s going to ignore you if he feels like it!”
  • “He’s going to fight with you if the need arises!”

Does this sound familiar to you?

Well, if your thoughts are similar, then you’re probably overreacting. And that’s not a good thing.

But you don’t know how to handle this, do you?

You get frustrated when your husband gets angry and defensive, and you don’t know how to deal with it.

He seems so stubborn about not listening when you tell him how you feel, and it makes you feel like he doesn’t care about your feelings at all.

Perhaps not surprisingly, overreacting is one of the most common causes of relationship problems, and it can actually lead to divorce.

The truth is, your husband may be acting defensively because he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings or make you mad at him. He probably doesn’t know how else to act!

And even if he does want to confront you about something, he probably won’t do it in the way you’re imagining.

He may try to avoid doing so because he doesn’t want to make you upset!

So here’s a suggestion: think about his behavior and his words before reacting negatively.

Don’t jump to conclusions just because he may have a different point of view than you.  Instead of getting mad at him for what he did or said, ask yourself why he did or said it.

You see, many times we react to things in a way that makes things worse instead of better.

We tend to overreact and get angry at our spouses when they do something wrong. And this usually leads us to feel upset and guilty.

But in reality, there are things we can do to make our spouses feel more secure and comfortable in the relationship without making them defensive.

So, start by avoiding overreacting to your husband’s behavior.

8) Don’t make your husband feel guilty about his feelings and thoughts

Now I want you to stop and think about this for a moment.

Does your husband feel guilty about his feelings and thoughts? Are you the one who’s making  him feel guilty about anything?

Maybe you’re making him feel guilty about his thoughts and feelings. Maybe he gets frustrated when you ask him to do things for you.

If this is the case, then you need to take a step back and consider: why do you make him feel guilty?

The simple truth is that, if he feels guilty, then the way you share your emotions with him might be making him feel this way.

Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable in your relationship, you need to tell him. You need to share your emotions.

But the way you do it should be a lot different than what you’re doing right now.

If you get angry when your husband doesn’t do things for you, then tell him that he should do it.

But don’t put pressure on him to do so, and don’t make him feel guilty about it.

And if you find yourself trying to guilt-trip your husband into doing things for you, then stop doing it!

Tell him that he should do things for you if he wants to. But don’t use guilt as a tool to manipulate him into doing so.

You see, if he feels guilty about his thoughts and feelings, then he will start doubting himself and feeling weak.

And this is the last thing you want your husband to feel!

So just try to have an honest and clear conversation without putting pressure on your husband and making him feel guilty.

9) Listen to his claims and let him know when he gets defensive

If your husband gets defensive when you tell him how you feel, chances are that he will start to make claims.

For example, if he says that he loves you and that you’re the only woman for him, then he might feel defensive when you ask him about it.

If this happens, then just listen to his claims and let him know that you heard what he said, but you’re not going to accept them.

Explain that you understand him, but you’re not going to accept his claims because he’s being too defensive.

But this isn’t everything. What’s more, you need to let him know every time he gets defensive to help him be aware of his actions and behaviors.

Maybe he’s trying to deal with this problem on his own and needs your help.

Do you know what I mean when I say this?

It means that sometimes wives don’t realize how important it is for a man to express his feelings and thoughts about things happening in the relationship.

Because men feel very vulnerable when they’re not able to express themselves clearly or openly enough!

So try to listen to him, make him realize you respect him, and help him express his thoughts and feelings to feel better about himself.

10) Point out how much it affects your relationship

And the final thing I want you to do is to tell your husband directly that his defensive behavior and thoughts are badly affecting your relationship.

If he gets defensive and starts to make claims, tell him that you heard what he said, but you don’t accept it.

Tell him that his claims are affecting your relationship negatively and that you want to work on this together.

This is a very important step because if he doesn’t know how much his behavior affects the relationship, then he won’t be able to change it.

What I mean by this is that if he doesn’t know how much his behavior affects the relationship, then he won’t be able to change it.

But if you explain that his behavior is affecting your relationship negatively, then he’s more likely to want to change for the better.

It’s a lot easier for him to change when he sees that his behavior is hurting your relationship. After all, he loves you and he also wants to save your relationship.

And it’s also easier for him to change when you make him see how important it is for him to change.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, by now you’ve got a better idea of how to handle your husband’s defensive behavior.

Keep in mind that regardless of which strategy you use, if you continue to show him that you trust him and that he means a lot to you, then he’ll be more likely to change his mind and start acting in a more loving way.

But if you’re still unsure of how to go about resolving your marriage issues, I’d recommend checking out this excellent video by marriage expert Brad Browning.

He’s worked with thousands of couples to help them reconcile their differences.

From infidelity to lack of communication, Brad’s got you covered with the common (and peculiar) issues that crop up in most marriages.

So if you’re not ready to give up on yours yet, click the link below and check out his valuable advice.

Here’s a link to his free video again.

Picture of Nato Lagidze

Nato Lagidze

Nato is a writer and a researcher with an academic background in psychology. She investigates self-compassion, emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and the ways people make decisions. Writing about recent trends in the movie industry is her other hobby, alongside music, art, culture, and social influences. She dreams to create an uplifting documentary one day, inspired by her experiences with strangers.

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