Andrew, as a semi-professional husband (happily 4 times divorced), I can tell you the secret of a successful marriage:
The key is that both husband and wife keep the conversation channels open all the time. Both should constantly keep telling about their plans, hopes, wishes and dreams, and then agree to do what the wife says. The wife then informs you about why your plans, hopes, wishes and dreams are wrong. This way you'll learn every day something new about yourself, learn to know how wrong you have been and how miserable you would be without her telling you what's right, what to do, how to do, when to do.
Some time between year 5 and 7 into the marriage you should have learned the correct way to discuss with her. Some pointers:
She will never ask your opinion because she wants to know it, she only asks it to get her opinion confirmed. This can be a bit tricky because the question often comes before you've had a change to hear her opinion. In these cases carefully try to find out the correct answer.
An example: She asks suddenly "Would you like to visit my parents this weekend?". Both "Yes, I would like it" and "No, I would not like it" are ATM wrong answers because you have yet no idea about what she wants (= the correct answer). You have to be careful now, find a question or two to find out the correct answer. You could for instance try something like this: "When was it now we have seen them last time?", which if you had any luck could produce the correct answer: "Yes, I was also thinking that we have not seen them in such a long time it would be nice to go there now".
Now you know. The correct answer is in this case "But of course I would like to go, my dear!".
The above is just an example, although based on real life events...
Another thing is to learn an answer pattern which keeps her happy. In couple of my last marriages this worked quite well:
Make a list of 6 to 8 short answers, practice it so that you can keep a conversation going. My list was this:
- Of course, my dear
- Did she?
- No, that's OK
Let her talk (anyway, you are not supposed to voice independent ideas or arguments). Now in every 20 to 40 seconds say the next item from your list, again wait 20 to 40 seconds and say the next item and so on. Using this my list as an example, I would let her start speaking then after about half a minute I would say "Yes", again after some half a minute I would say "Of course, my dear" and so on. After some practicing you can do this subconsciously, without thinking, so you can read or watch TV or surf the net, let her talk and in semi-regular intervals give her the feedback she is expecting to hear. As she is not really listening you it is irrelevant what you say, any short answer is OK.