Home marriage Christian Marriage: He Can’t Read Your Mind

Christian Marriage: He Can’t Read Your Mind

by Kelly Crawford

The most important reminder I think I received from the recent marriage seminar was:

“Your husband isn’t out to get you; he just can’t read your mind”.

Women have an uncanny way of assuming the worst and even villainizing their husbands for not being able to read minds.

Can I just be honest and give you a real-life example?  (I can’t believe I’m telling this.)  Though the reason absolutely eludes me, I have often found some sick pleasure in setting my husband up for failure so that I could claim “hurt feelings”.  What is that??!!

So Aaron and I go out for dinner.  (Let me preface this by saying we live in the country.  So if you forget something in town when you go, you just go without.)  I crave ice like a Meth-fiend craves his next fix and I happen to love Sonic’s crushed ice.  But of course, if my husband loves me, he’ll remember this and spontaneously stop to get me a cup, just to demonstrate said love.  If he doesn’t stop, I wait—calculating the time so he can’t whip back around.  Then I say in some sad tone, “You didn’t stop and get me ice”.

Can you believe I’ve done that?  I should know better having read Dr. Laura tell wives over and over, “Tell the man if you want something–he’s not a mind-reader, for crying out loud!”

Ladies, let’s just assume the best!  He loves us.  He doesn’t want to make us upset.  “Lord, grow me up.”

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”  Proverbs 10:12

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Quinn February 9, 2010 - 8:32 pm

I’ve done that before I’m sorry to say… just with donuts. 😀

Didn’t want you to feel like you were the only one.

Beckie February 9, 2010 - 8:40 pm

Thanks for sharing that story! We can be so pathetic sometimes, can’t we!?

And in case you don’t already know this – craving ice is a classic symptom of iron deficiency.

Elizabeth February 9, 2010 - 9:05 pm

I had a roommate in college who did this. It was so frustrating to have her mad at me and have no idea why. Being on the receiving end was a quick cure for me. Now it’s a joke around our house and we often ask each other why the other person didn’t read our mind.

Kelly L February 9, 2010 - 9:37 pm

Oh, Kelly, thank you for being so transparent! I too have wanted my husband to know instinctively what I want at that very moment, even if it is not the normal want. Glaring at him from the kitchen thinking “Can you please help set the table!!!” Knowing full well that he’d be happy to if I’d only ask. Normally it is because I am jealous of their free time as he and our daughter are talking, snuggling or having fun while I am working. Great. Two ways I stink in one night. So sad. Well, guess I’m done with that. Father, please keep showing me the areas in my life that separate me from you!

Linda February 9, 2010 - 10:53 pm

Your honesty is refreshing. I have also wished my husband would read my mind and then felt unloved when he didn’t. Having it pointed out so clearly is rather humbling. I will be much more careful. Thank you.

Word Warrior February 9, 2010 - 11:23 pm


Yes, I have always struggled with low iron. The supplements do bad things to me, I hate black strap molasses, take chlorophyll but not regularly enough, cook in an iron skillet but not enough…it’s hard to get serious about treating it when the only real symptom I feel is this delicious craving that is easy, fun and FREE to satisfy 😉

Kim M February 10, 2010 - 6:15 am

I even tell my husband “You don’t have to” even though deep inside I know I want it, and mope inwardly to myself.

Or even worse “You shouldn’t have” when he did.

Is that dishonesty or what?!

Virginia Knowles February 10, 2010 - 6:54 am

What an encouraging and helpful word this morning! Thanks for sharing, Kelly!

ycw February 10, 2010 - 9:35 am

A while ago, when we were still getting in the swing of things with our new little boy, I was wishing that my husband would stop on the way home from work and pick up dinner. I fantasized a little bit about him surprising me like that. Then I realized there was no way it would happen. So I called him at work and asked him to pick up dinner on the way home, and he did. Happy ending.

Of course, most days I have dinner at least started when he gets home. So if he did spontaneously pick up dinner–which does sound awful good when I’m busy or behind–and I’d made dinner, well, it would be an insult to my cooking, wouldn’t it?

Candace February 10, 2010 - 10:11 am

Oh boy. The title of this post alone is enough to put me to shame! My husband has, on more than one occasion reminded me that he is not my enemy.

Word Warrior February 10, 2010 - 10:18 am


LOL! Yes, of course it would! You have to know our husbands just continually scratch their heads at us!

I heard an interview yesterday from an author who had written a book on marriage. She said, “Women only need 2 things–it’s easy.” The interviewer, who was a man, was not convinced.

She then said, “one of them is that she needs her husband to show her love…it’s just that the way she interprets love changes constantly”.

Doesn’t really seem fair to husbands 😉

Christie February 10, 2010 - 10:19 am

We say, “Sorry – I failed MindReading 101!” 🙂 But seriously, why do we do this? Why do we say, “_IF_ you loved me you would spontaneously….” ? Are we testing them? (yes) Are we doubting their love and devotion? (yes) Have I done this since I was a child? (YES!!) Why? Perhaps it highlights more my insecurity than his love for me.

And think about it, it take maturity to 1) realize what you want and 2) to verbalize and ask. It also takes vulnerability because if we ask, they could decline! And then where does that leave us? Vulnerable, rejected, in need of taking those feelings to the Lord.

So I think that by NOT ASKING – we are trying to protect ourselves, to remain in control, to keep the upper hand…somehow. But it doesn’t work, does it?

Also – asking is a sign of RESPECT to my husband, knowing that he is NOT a mindreader and giving him the opportunity to fulfill it – trusting that he certainly would if he only knew.

ANYWAY – looking forward to more comments on this! It’s something I’ve pondered throughout the years, especially now as I’m training my 4yo DD to speak up, and ASK when she needs help!

Valerie February 10, 2010 - 10:19 am

I too crave ice, it started with the second pregnancy and went away after baby was born, then again with the third and went away after that baby was born, only to return a month later. It has not gone away even after number 4 came! I wondered if it was a lack of iron, but had not looked into it! I have actually sent my husband home after getting to church and realizing I had not had any ice yet!! (we only live 5 min. from church).
As to expecting my husband to read my mind, I have done it many times too! I read the book ‘The Politically Incorrect Wife’ and she had a great chapter that encouraged me to just talk to him! It was also an all around excellent book!
Thanks for the encouragment today!!

Word Warrior February 10, 2010 - 10:28 am

I meant to mention the example we heard at the seminar…

A husband had forgotten his wife’s birthday. They went out with friends that night. When they arrived, all her friends wished her a happy birthday, with her husband being visibly humiliated. She could have protected him from such by simply telling him it was her birthday. However, this takes a BIG woman, doesn’t it? I would think most women would have let it go like this woman did. But why? His forgetfulness is not a vendetta against her? Men just don’t think in a hundred directions at a time and are prone to forget. Small things like that I think, fester and do great damage to an otherwise healthy marriage where the wife is wise. I want to be a wise wife!

the cottage child February 10, 2010 - 10:57 am

I am prone to impatience with my husbands forgetfulness. My thorn – if he asks me one more time where his car insurance card is I’m going to fall out….it’s in the glove box, your wallet, your planner, on the bulletin board, in the rolodex, loaded as a pdf for quick printing when you lose the other 84…I keep them all over the place because it seems like they’re needed for everything these days. “Why can’t he hold two thoughts in his head at once?” I wonder.

Because he’s in a hurry to get MY car inspected so we won’t get a ticket, because the thoughts crowding out what I want him to think are: will the client pay today as promised because I really don’t want to have to take legal action, am I being a good Christian and a good man if I take legal action?, when will our work lives be secure enough that the occasional forgiveness of a debt will not threaten our families material well being? are the federal prisoners I’m interviewing going to be difficult?, I’m going to walk the dog so you don’t have to….

Honey, here’s the insurance card. My pleasure.
I bust myself like this all the time – ugh.

KTHunter February 10, 2010 - 11:43 am

Hee hee hee.. thank you for the reminder. I think most of us have done that from time to time (I know I have – guilty!). It’s good to get that gentle nudge from time to time about that topic, because for some reason it is easy to forget. Maybe I should cross-stitch that and hang it on my wall so I’ll remember more often. And I say that in total seriousness, I really should stitch that one.

Rachel February 10, 2010 - 1:41 pm

Thanks for this – we can be very unfair to our husbands can’t we?!

MML February 10, 2010 - 1:53 pm

Dear Kelly, Have you ever tried Floradix iron and herbs? It is a liquid iron supplement. I cannot tolerate iron products either but was able to take this during some very tough pregnancies. It is pricey but available discounted through lucky vitamin. If you are truly needing some iron you should give it a shot- that or eat up your liver and onions:)

Carol Lee February 10, 2010 - 4:11 pm

Hello, my name is Carol and I think my husband is a mind-reader! Guilty!! Admitting it is the first step to overcoming, right? I am definitely a work in progress (my husband will attest to this). Thanks for the reminder and your honesty. My husband thanks you, too!

Word Warrior February 10, 2010 - 5:04 pm

Carol Lee,

Too funny!

Kelly L February 10, 2010 - 6:46 pm

Wow! off topic, but about the iron…My whole pregnancy I craved slurpees and cherry lime aids. I didn’t give in once because of all the artificial stuff and sugar, but every day it haunted me! Maybe I know why now…really, really late. LOL

Kelly L February 10, 2010 - 6:48 pm

Oh, and someone smarter than me…Why is that? It sounds crazy and completely unrelated. But I believe it immediately. Does that speak to trust or gullibility? 😉

Terri February 11, 2010 - 5:20 pm

Too funny Kelly – We are so very much alike – only I expect hubby to bring home bags of ice from Sonic – they sell it here in Huntsville by the bag for 1.99 and lasts me for a few days! We just recently got word that our family is moving to Germany for a year with my husband’s job and one of my first thoughts: How will I get my ice?!!

Diana February 12, 2010 - 1:13 am

This post is GREAT! My dh and I have talked about this alot over the years. I am convinced so many marriages could be lovely if people would stop expecting their spouse to read their minds. Wow. My dh constantly hears complaints from the gals a work especially around the holidays. Valentines day is coming up so all of us gals get to practice this soon I actually am doing pretty well in this area (I have plenty of other faults but was spared this one) and decided years ago that it just didnt makes sense to expect this sort of false romance (probably from reading too many books). Now when I clean a room or wear a special dress or whatever it is, I dont wait for him to notice. I just say ‘how do you like what I did to this or that’ or ask if my dress looks ok (which he usually responds with something flowery). If I need a hug I just go get one (and it also makes the wife seem more loving and affectionate to initiate this too). Another thing is that I have stopped worrying at all about ‘special days’. They are no big deal to me (though it is sweet if he thinks of something). Women stumble and get full of bitterness and anger all the time over holidays. My husband didnt get me this or that..or he forgot or was late etc . Or they covet what another woman got instead of being glad for them. But the fact is that many years ago I had a horrible marriage. We were violent to eachother and my dh was addicted to pornography. He almost left me and the kids for porn. But the Lord was merciful and now we have such a beautiful marriage. Holidays or anniversaries etc are just silly things to get uptight about. If your dh works hard, doesnt get drunk or beat you etc you should be glad. Find the good things about him to dwell on and just mention your bday if it is so important to you. Each year dh and I just pick a place we want to go out to eat for our bday and we do it at our nearest convenience and take the whole family. Let’s praise God for what he has given us in our husbands! I can tell you it will make you feel so free and blessed and maybe even save your marriage! Also, it might help you financially so your dh wont feel like he must buy you expensive stuff or go into debt for gifts. My dh is a baker. sometimes he will bring me a special donut from work. That is better than a diamond bracelet or whatever any day! 🙂

Word Warrior February 12, 2010 - 9:51 am


You made so many great points. And I agree…many a marriage would be saved/improved if we could “get it”. One important point you made: “false romance” Bingo. We expect things from husband that are unrealistic because somewhere we’ve been fed this false ideal.

And thanking him for the way he does show love…HUGE.

He’s pretty simple…we need to work on being that way too!

Kelly L February 12, 2010 - 10:28 am

I was just tearing up and praising God fr what He did for your family. I love Him, He is so great!!!!!

Charity February 13, 2010 - 2:31 pm

Ok, maybe I’m the weird one here, but I feel guilty to tell my husband something that I want. In fact he has to draaag it out of me! Holidays, birthday, special days…I can’t bring myself to ask or show or hint even when there is a certain something that I would love for him to do or get for me. Maybe I have a disorder or something. It bothers me that I can’t speak up and it bothers him that I don’t because he wants to do all he can for me to show that he loves me. I’ve wandered lately if this stems from my coming from an abusive home?? I guess I’m just a case. 🙁

Oh, and the ice craving…I’m right there with you Kelly. I have always had low iron too. My husband goes out on the porch and crushes ice almost every night for me. (I’m sure our neighbors think we are nuts!) And yep…Sonic ice is a must have expecially when I’m pregnant. Can’t get enough!

Diana February 15, 2010 - 2:36 am

thanks..I think if we remember that we ourselves were forgiven and are sinners (and really ponder it sometimes) we’ll be far more gracious to others. I read something once..I dont remember who said it. Maybe RC Sproul Jr..whoever it was said that we should be tough on ourselves and heap grace on others. For example when someone is rude to us we freak out but when we are rude to them we say we just needed sleep and had a bad day. But what if we rebuked ourselves for our own wrongs and then say …oh, THEY must have had a hard day. Giving them the benefit of the doubt. I think people just think too highly of themselves and so we focus more on the offenses recieved rather than the ones we are sending. Sort of on the same thought as the faslse ideals from romance novels etc only we are thinking falsely of ourselves as well.

Diana February 15, 2010 - 2:42 am

Yes! God is good and it fills me with awe whenever I stop and look at my precious family and marriage. Only His work saved us and I certainly didnt deserve a bit of it. Over and over again I think of that verse about turning mourning to dancing. That is what the Lord did for me. Thanks for praising Him with me 🙂

Diana February 15, 2010 - 3:29 am

By Charity-
Perhaps you are just the frugal type? I grew up that way and could never ask for stuff as a kid. I’d feel guilty to tell my grandma what school clothes I wanted even when she took me shoping for that exact purpose. I’d feel guilty to buy the large OJ when she’d take me to breakfast. Once my dh gave me money for a new bra and I felt guilty and used it for bills, lol. I dont even like to pay extra for BBQ sauce at a restaurant…just too practical for my own good sometimes. Or perhaps you are just worried that you might sound demanding or ungrateful. Those are probably good qualities that will help keep you from taking advantage of his kindness. I think if your dh asks you you should just be honest and go ahead and give him the help he has requested sometimes then just leave it to him and be easy going if you dont get everything you ever dreamed of. After all, many gals who look like they have a sweetheart husband dont. They just have material things given to them and no real love.

-sorry for all the posts, lol. I’d better get back to tending to baby.

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