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How can I get my husband to talk to me in a nicer tone?

My husband of 25 years has always had a "gruff" tone of voice with me..he answers questions sharply and defensively 80% of the time. I ask him questions in a normal tone of voice and he responds before I even finish the question with a harsh question in return. Example, today I was cleaning one part of the house and he was cleaning another...I asked where the rest of the cleaning supplies were...instead of answering "there are some on the kitchen counter", he automatically "barked" at me "what are you looking for?" instead of just answering the question. I felt like I was being verbally attacked for asking the question and I finally got the answer and tried not to talk much anymore. (see next)

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Asked by Anonymous at 12:14 AM on Apr. 26, 2010 in Relationships

Answers (8)
  • Continued....
    Tonight I was sitting her in the chair beside him and I was looking online at our checking account. Our lawnmower tire had a flat and I tried to fix it while he was out of town. It didn't stay inflated and he had to take the tire off. I asked him calmly "did you have to get the tire fixed or.." Immediately he started with his gruff tone "YES, I GOT THE TIRE FIXED!" and I stopped him and said "let me finish the question...what I was asking was did you get the tire fixed or have to get it replaced?" He answered again yelling at me "YES I GOT THE TIRE FIXED!"..."WHERE DID THAT QUESTION COME FROM?"...I just stopped and said he didn't have to yell at me and I was trying to figure out if I didn't fix the tire, what I could have done differently to fix it....he continued to yell and then I just told him I was going to stop talking to him if this is all I here we sit, still in silence...

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:20 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • Why is this a problem now....after 25yrs?? I mean, I wouldn't tolerate it at all, but if he's been this way all these years, he most likely will never change. You have taught him that it is ok to treat you this way.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:42 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • I am struggling with this behavior myself after 17 years together. and yes, I have tolerated it even though I say things to him about his tone. I have tried leaving but that is just not where it is right now. IDK what to do either. Thanks for asking the question.....Julie

    Answer by mom2priceboys at 1:23 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • Sorry but it sounds like it's just the way he is and I doubt if he changes.

    Answer by admckenzie at 7:14 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • You're going to have to train him (I know that sounds bad, but it's true) like a dog. He's an old "dog", so it's going to take a long time, especially since you have allowed him to behave in this way for so long. Each time he interrupts you, stop what you're doing and say, "Please don't interrupt me." Then try to continue the conversation. You might have to remind him to not talk over you numerous times in 1 sentence, but keep at it. When he yells, do the same thing. In a calm voice say, "Please do not yell at me. I am speaking to you in a kind, respectful way and I would like to be treated in the same manner." You might have to do this a thousand times every day and it could take a year or more to get him to change. Like I said before, he's an old "dog" and it's going to take months or even a year or more to change this.


    Answer by -xoxo- at 7:24 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • I would speak to him in the same tone that he spoke to me in for a while. See how he likes it when the shoe is on the other foot..

    Answer by mommy11260 at 9:54 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • Bring up how that tone makes you feel. My husband used to say everything in a very condescending tone, he's getting better about not doing it now that I point it out (nicely!) when he does it.

    Answer by StellarJKD at 11:29 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • I am the OP. It isn't a problem "just now" has been a problem since about a year after we married. The older he gets (55), the "grumpier" his tone becomes. I do occasionally find myself raising my voice when he answers my question with a question, just to say "WHY can you just answer the question?" He then turns it around on me, and says "WHY are you yelling at me?" It's a vicious circle that I hate. I, as Julie has with her husband, have repeatedly pointed out his tone to my husband and he answers "that JUST ME". I was in a previous marriage and was verbally and physically abused. This tone makes me feel like I'm back there.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:59 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

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