Oddly enough, my husband just made this comment to me today! I'm working on it. I, too, constantly tell me husband that he doesn't listen to me. I'm very fearful of being called a "nag", but I am easily frustrated when he doesn't acknowledge something I said (i.e., "Don't forget you need to call about the car." ...silence). I just need verification that he literally heard me. Yes, ok, I won't/will, uh huh, etc. anything would do. Continuing on that thought, if I try to explain something to my husband and he stares at me blankly like I'm speaking another language and never has input, I keep talking because I think he doesn't understand and that maybe I'm doing a poor job at making my point.
I can't speak for your wife, but I will say that I just want my husband to be engaged in the conversation. Feedback would be nice. On top of that, if what I am talking to him about involves him taking some sort of action, it would be nice if he would do so. If I misunderstood your question, I apologize.
That you think she talks in circles just proves you really aren't listening. If you're not getting the point, ask! I can feel your frustration and I imagine she is just as frustrated that she can't make you understand (can you guess I've been there). Usually this is because my husband is busy marshaling his arguments. Try listening as much with your heart as with your ears!
1) Realize that your wife is at least as frustrated as you are.
2) Realize that your wife is working just as hard as you are.
3) If you think she's talking in circles, it may mean that she has tried over and over to say something, and you haven't heard, even if you heard the words.
4) We listen to coworkers, bosses, sportscasters, and others who say the same things over and over. I think you can listen to your wife say the same thing 3 or 4 different ways and times, even if it's somewhat frustrating.
5) You might want to read "You Just Don't Understand" by Deborah Tannen, or another book on male and female communication styles. A very quick taste: You probably think the main purpose of talking is to convey information. Your wife probably thinks the main purpose is to relate to you, connect with you ... the topic is secondary in some ways.
It's not uncommon for a piece of information about marriage to get taken out of context in order to construct an argument whether it's true or not. Dr. Karen Sherman weighs in on a few of these out-of-context arguments.