Handy Cheat Sheet for Husbands to Decode What Wives are Saying

We have all heard the complaints from men that they don’t understand women. Why don’t we just say what we mean? I like to think that I am a pretty straight forward, say what I mean kind of gal. Sometimes, however, even though I am visibly upset, when my husband asks “What's wrong?” I respond with “Nothing.”

Why do I do this? Well, probably because saying “nothing” is a lot easier than saying “I am exhausted from taking care of the kids, the cat, the house and the yard during the summer while you are in an air conditioned office, eating lunch by yourself, while I am cleaning up the floor for the 8th time today because someone spilled something AGAIN and don’t tell me going to work is hard because I work, too, during the school year, and let me tell you, mister! Staying home with the kids is WAY harder than going to work, and the only time you call me during the day, thereby giving me a chance to talk to an adult and a reprieve from the endless whining and arguing I hear all day is to ask me if you can go out with your buddies tonight when all I want is for you to be home to see your children and to give me a much needed, freaking BREAK!”

That’s a mouthful. And I haven’t probably processed all that at the time of the question, so the easiest thing to say is “nothing.” Eventually, the truth will come out. And then my husband will be sorry he asked. I’m sure I’m not alone in my vagueness when it comes to certain situations with my husband. I will work on being more direct.

But, in the meantime, in an effort to help out any other husbands out there, I have created the following:


Cheat Sheet to Decode What Your Wife is Saying

What she says: “Nothing” (in response to “what’s wrong?”)

What she means: As mentioned above, when you ask your wife what is wrong and she replies “nothing”, you can bet your boots that something is, in fact, very wrong and she needs some time to put it into words. Maybe she’s so mad at you, she doesn’t want to talk to you at all.  Or, there may actually be nothing wrong at all. Hard to say.

What you should do: Definitely clean up around the house. Take the kids to the park so she can have some space if she wants it. Make dinner and CLEAN IT UP! Give her a foot massage. Ask her if there is something bother her and LISTEN when she tells you. If she’s mad at you, apologize. And mean it.



What she says: “we should…..” as in “we should probably mow the lawn today”, or “we should get that hinge fixed on the door.”

What she means: “YOU should….” as in “YOU should DEFINITELY mow the lawn today”, or “YOU should fix that hinge on the door that I’ve been complaining about for the past 5 weeks.”

What you should do: Know that “we” usually means “you” and DO IT. Also, clean up around the house.


What she says: “Do what you think is right.” For instance, you ask her if you can go to the casino with your buddies instead of watching your daughter’s school music program and she says “do what you think is right.”

What she means: “Under absolutely no circumstances should you do what you are proposing.”

What you should do: You’ve already pissed her off by asking. She is not your mother, you do not need her permission, and you should KNOW the right thing to do without even asking. Family events trump casino trips with your friends. Every time. You already knew that. Tell her you were just kidding and you can’t wait for the program.  Oh, and clean up around the house.


What she says: “What should we have for dinner?”

What she means: To understand this question better, let’s first talk about what she does NOT mean. She is NOT saying “tell me your favorite meal that your mom made for you growing up so that I can make it for you, too, my precious darling.” I promise. If she really wanted to know that, she would specifically say that.

“What should we have for dinner?” is actually shorthand for “I am so tired of cooking for your offspring all day and night that if I have to make one more meal I may snap. Please pick something up, take me out to dinner, or better yet, make something for yourself and the kids. I am fine with just eating cereal or maybe drinking my dinner in the form of a martini while reading a book and/ or catching up on Netflix.”

What you should do: Feed yourself and the kids something healthy, make your wife a martini, and clean up the house.


What she says: “I’m tired” when you are trying to put the moves on her in bed at night.

What you think she means: “I am not attracted to my husband anymore, I am having an affair, my husband doesn’t turn me on, etc., etc.”

What she means: “I’m tired.”

What you should do: Let her sleep. She’s tired. Tomorrow, clean up around the house. Maybe she won’t be so tired the next night.


Take home points:

All women really want is to be loved, respected, and appreciated. When in doubt do the following: Be helpful. Listen. Let her sleep. And clean up the damn house.