One of the biggest complaints women have about their husbands is “He doesn’t listen.”

The problem is that men have no idea what women mean when they say that.

The first thing you need to know is that women have a natural need to beWomen have a natural need to be understood understood. When they feel understood, they feel loved. When she tells a friend “I really feel like he understands me,” she is saying “I feel loved.”

This is difficult for men to understand, because men don’t have a natural need to be understood. Becoming a good listener takes a lot of patience and effort, and the reward is tremendous.

The next thing to understand is that, being natural listeners, women get extremely frustrated when you don’t listen. That makes for an unhappy wife, and you don’t want to go there.

The reward for becoming a good listener is a happy wife, and a deep, close and meaningful relationship. She will become your strongest advocate and stay by your side through thick and thin.

Listening is understanding her from her perspective. To do this, you need to shut down your way of thinking and try to experience her feelings from her perspective. This way you really get to know her—not your understanding of her, but her understanding of her.

Listening is more than hearing words. Women say a lot without talking. They use facial expressions, body language, clothing and self-care to express themselves, and they expect you to notice.

Women are detail oriented, while men see the big picture but miss the details. They especially notice things that are wrong or out of place. For example, she could be all made up and dressed to the nines. You see an amazing, flawless sight. All she sees is a small pimple that appeared on her chin.

Listening requires noticing details and putting the clues together to form a conclusion. At minimum you should notice that something is wrong or that something is different. Then you will be able to ask “What is wrong?” or “What is different?” If not, you are clueless. Don’t be clueless.

Here are some tips for good listening:

1) Set aside time

Make it a habit that the first five minutes after you come home is for listening. Ask your wife how her day was. Imagine how good she will feel knowing that she is first on your mind when you come home.

Another good time for listening is after the children are asleep, but if she is too tired at that time, do it earlier. It is okay for the kids to see you together talking; it will be a valuable lesson and will give them a sense of stability.

The main thing is that you set times that work for the two of you, and that you keep to them. Your wife will look forward to being with you at that time.

“I don’t have the time” and “I’m too busy” are not acceptable excuses. Make the time.

2) Listen to her

All she wants is for you to listen and understand, that’s it. Refrain from sharing your suggestions, opinions or advice. They are not relevant to her feelings. Just listen and understand.

3) Listen again

Women change every day, so every day there is more to tell. There are also deeper parts of herself to share. What you heard yesterday is not enough today. There are new facets discovered today that need to be shared. There are also new things going on in her life.

4) Look at her

Notice her expressions and body language. Every so often, give her a subtle hint to let her know that you understand. It could be a nod or a soft sound. This will let her know that you are paying attention. If you don’t, she will assume you didn’t understand and will repeat herself. She might get aggravated and complain that you don’t listen.

5) Be present

You are not required to be listening all the time, but when you are supposed to be listening, do it correctly.

Be focused and pay attention. Remove distractions, put away your cell phone and teach the children not to disturb you at this time. Let her know that you are totally there for her; let her know that you are interested in knowing her.