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The Secret to Making Your Spouse Happy: Listen!

I was having lunch the other day when I overheard a woman complaining to a friend about her husband.  She said, “I asked him for a dogwood tree.  And he got me a DOG!”

In the famous words of Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

Unfortunately, this happens way too often in marriage.  The one we love tells us exactly what it would take to make him or her happy, but instead of doing what we’ve been asked to do, we do only what we want to do and we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. Then, if our beloved has the nerve to get upset, we pull the old, “I can’t do ANYTHING to make you happy” routine.  But if we had to be completely honest with  ourselves, the truth is, we never really tried.

Jesus says, “He who has ears, let him hear.”  (Matt 11:15).  Well, most of us have the capacity to hear, but we lack the will to listen.  Today, when your loved one speaks, open your ears. Listen. If you do, you’ll be taking the first steps to learning how to really love.

For more information on how to really love your spouse, check out For Better…FOREVER! and other resources by Dr. Greg Popcak

Cupped ear photo available from Shutterstock.

The Secret to Making Your Spouse Happy: Listen!

Dr. Greg Popcak

Gregory Popcak, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping people-of-faith find effective solutions to tough marriage, family, and personal problems.

The author of over a dozen popular books integrating solid theological insights and counseling psychology (including; For Better...FOREVER! , Holy Sex!, Parenting with Grace, Beyond the Birds and the Bees), Dr. Popcak directs a group pastoral tele-counseling practice that provides ongoing pastoral psychotherapy services to faithful couples, individuals and families around the world.

Together with his wife and co-author, Lisa Popcak, he hosts More2Life, Airing M-F, Noon-1pm Eastern (Tune in online or to podcasts at A sought after public-speaker, Dr. Greg has been honored to address audiences across North America, Australia, and Hong Kong.

For more info on books, resources, and tele-counseling services visit

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APA Reference
Popcak, D. (2012). The Secret to Making Your Spouse Happy: Listen!. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2019, from


Last updated: 19 Apr 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Apr 2012
Published on All rights reserved.