When Your Spouse Won’t Talk

three crumpled pieces of yellow paper in green paper speech bubble
Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash
Relating to each other is not a technique we're born with. It's like a muscle that needs to be developed over time.

Relating to each other is not a technique we’re born with. It’s like a muscle that needs to be developed over time—and massaged when it hurts.

If you have a spouse who doesn’t want to talk as much as you do, the following suggestions may help:

  1. Read about the differences between men and women, especially as they relate to communication. These differences are a mystery to almost everyone except God, but they may help to explain why your spouse tends to be the silent type.
  2. Learn to not take things too personally.
  3. Don’t overanalyze your partner. You may think you know what’s behind your spouse’s unwillingness to talk, but you can’t read his or her mind.
  4. Talk about your feelings in a non-accusatory, non-blaming way. To do otherwise will only drive a reluctant talker further away, especially when it comes to discussing emotions.
  5. Ask your spouse what would make him feel less overwhelmed when it comes to communication. Would it help if you set aside a regular time for talking? If you waited until he decompressed after work?
  6. Ask your spouse for a specific, short commitment of time. Most reluctant talkers can handle a conversation if they know it won’t last forever. Let your mate set the limit. You may find that it increases as he or she grows more comfortable.
  7. Learn each other’s personality type, and how it shapes communication style. Make the process fun—a discovery of your uniqueness, not an opportunity to stereotype each other.

One of the hardest things for couples to learn is to lay down their lives for each other (see John 15:13) in the mundane world of daily living (see Romans 12:1). Learning to understand the needs of a spouse who talks less or more than you do requires sacrifice. It means not demanding your rights, and loving another as you love yourself. But these are things we can do because God promises to help us by His Holy Spirit if we ask.

It’s easy to get discouraged when all you hear from your spouse is silence. It may seem that things are hopeless, but you can gain new perspective through prayer, reading the Bible, or seeking counsel from a pastor or therapist.

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