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Why Can’t I Talk to My Husband Without Him Getting Defensive?

Doesn’t it annoy you when your husband gets defensive when you tell him something he doesn’t like?

You want to have a normal conversation and point out something he’s doing wrong, but he goes into defense mode, and the conversation becomes an argument.

His defense is so strong you feel he has raised a huge shield around himself, which deflects your words.

You can’t help but wonder what the cause of his behavior is, and you even consider whether it is your fault.

To talk to your husband without him becoming defensive, you first need to understand the reasons for his defensiveness, not to attack or criticize him, but also to let him know that his behavior is disturbing your marriage.

woman arguing with husband

His behavior like this disrupts your relationship because, in addition to arguing often, you also distance yourself from each other.

To change his defensiveness and save your relationship, you need the following:

  • Identify the cause for your husband to start acting defensively
  • Find ways to deal with this defensive behavior

This article will help you with both.

Why Does Your Husband Get Defensive When You Talk to Him? 5 Probable Reasons

It is too simple to say that your husband is becoming defensive to defend himself. To find a solution, we need to go deeper into the reasons for his behavior. These can be:

1. Your Husband Takes Everything as Criticism

Nobody generally likes to be criticized. However, we know very well that criticism can be positive and negative but also justified and unjustified.

Also, telling your husband that he forgot to take out the trash is not a criticism but a fact. But he doesn’t see it that way.

Your husband can’t separate criticism from facts.

He perceives everything that is said to him that he does not like as criticism. But he loves praise and compliments.

Your husband is a narcissist and thinks too highly of himself. He perceives himself as someone better than others and hardly accepts criticism.

Such a narcissistic partner may think that he is better than you, so it is difficult for him to accept criticism.

But these people are usually the most insecure, and by being overly defensive, they avoid facing their insecurities.

2. Your Husband Doesn’t Want to Change

Not everyone is willing to change, even if that is the change for the better. That’s how your husband starts to defend himself when you suggest things that obviously limit him but also negatively affect your marriage.

These may be some changes concerning his engagement at work and at home.

Your husband fell into this trapped mindset, working a 9-5 job he hates, and when he comes home, he just wants to play video games and do nothing. This cannot be good for your marriage because you want an involved, motivated, and, most importantly, present partner.

Maybe it’s some even more reckless behavior that gets your husband into trouble. It can be problems with alcohol. Has he got fired for drinking at work?

Whatever it is, when you comfort your husband about it, he becomes defensive and always finds some crazy excuses to justify his behavior.

3. Your Husband is Hiding Something

What is he hiding that makes him so defensive?

You know that when people feel guilty, they need to over-defend themselves. Instead of facing the consequences of their behavior, they choose to defend themselves and avoid those consequences.

Whether it’s a potential affair, problems at work that he doesn’t want to tell you about, or the fact that he spent all your mutual savings on gambling, he’s doing everything he can to keep you from knowing the truth.

4. Your Husband is Always Playing a Victim

This is not just about you and how you treat him, but how the whole world treats him.

According to your husband, everyone is against him, and he needs to defend himself from the whole world.

Your husband always feels like a victim, like no one respects him enough, and everyone takes him for granted.

He probably also has some unfounded theories about how everyone is against him, and he needs to be defensive, closed, and protective.

If this is the case, it is possible that your husband is going through a difficult period and needs understanding and support.

5. Your Husband Learned Such Behavior Because of Others

Who do we think of first when we say that someone learned behavior from others? Of course, his parents.

If your husband’s family responded to problems with a defensive attitude instead of solving them, it is possible that your husband would adopt this as normal.

Previous experiences are also essential because it is known that we learn patterns of behavior based on previous experiences.

Has someone hurt your husband so much that he is now overly defensive of everyone, including you? That makes no sense because you are his wife, and he should be open with you.

Various disappointments lead to this usually overly negative attitude toward life.

Can Defensiveness Ruin a Relationship?

Let’s first see what your husband’s defensiveness looks like, so it will be more evident to you what we are talking about. 

Your husband probably uses various manipulative methods in his defense, which can be:

  • Lies and denial, or so-called half-truths, because we know very well that not saying something is the same as lying;
  • He belittles or dismisses your feelings;
  • He becomes impatient, moody, or angry;
  • Turns it back on you and your flaws or mistakes;
  • He gives you the silent treatment;
  • Your husband is ghosting you and making you think you are delusional;
  • He emotionally shuts down and withdraws from the conversation.

Are these all extremely toxic relationship behaviors? Absolutely YES!

They can lead to the fact that you cannot have honest conversations without your husband getting angry.

They can also lead to you no longer knowing when he is telling the truth or lying.

Over time, you will also be distant toward your husband because instead of being open with you, he needs to defend himself and raise emotional walls in front of you.

All of these can be the cause of the end of your marriage.

What To Do When Your Husband Gets Defensive?

We understand you are tired of living with someone who interprets everything as an attack. 

Instead, you want a marriage where you can talk honestly and enjoy with your husband without his defensiveness. Here’s what you need to do: 

1. Be Mindful About Your Words

We didn’t say you should always be careful what you say to your husband; that’s not the point.

In every conversation, there is a difference between what you want to say, what you say, and what the interlocutor hears. Sometimes we expect our partners to read our minds, but that’s not always the case.

This is especially true regarding criticism or something explicitly related to your husband.

Instead of having a negative and angry attitude, try approaching the conversation with a calmer tone and a more positive attitude.

You can’t expect your husband not to be defensive for a while when you say hurtful things to him.

2. Make Your Husband Feel Safe

To relax and stop defending himself, he must feel safe.

So make your relationship a safe place where he can express all his feelings without being judged.

This includes choosing the right moment for the conversation as well as the place where your husband will feel safe.

3. Keep an Open Mind and Be Supportive

Your husband may be facing various problems that force him to be defensive.

Don’t minimize his problems or past traumas that make him behave like that.

Instead, show understanding and support for your husband.

4. Explain to Him How You Feel

Do you feel distant when your husband is defensive toward you?

It hurts you that you can’t share things with him without him getting defensive, and that lack of emotion on his part bothers you.

It would be best if you told him all that to wake him up finally so he understands how his behavior affects you.

5. Don’t Give Up

Don’t stop talking at the first appearance of defensiveness in your husband.

Also, don’t let him manipulate you with his defensive techniques, even if you have to avoid his methods as ninja shurikens.

He has mastered it, but you can persevere because your intentions are sincere and pure.

6. Don’t Enter the Conversation to “Win”

The point is not who wins the conversation but the overall well-being of your marriage.

You are both on the same side and don’t compete to determine who is right.

So focus on solving the problem and overcoming the situation instead of debating who is to blame.

In Conclusion – Defensiveness Doesn’t Protect The Relationship

You need to defend your relationship from outside influences, not from each other.

It is clear to you, but it is also time for your husband to finally understand it and start enjoying it more because he can relax with the person who loves him and whom he loves.

Apply our tips, and watch your husband’s defensive walls crumble and more love and understanding emerge from their ruins.

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