How do you talk to someone who will not communicate? How can a wife engage when her husband shuts down?
Communication in marriage is one of the top issues here at Intentional Today. It’s one of the areas I get asked a lot of questions.
One of the most frustrating things in marriage is a husband who won’t talk. I know because my guy once struggled and I was super frustrated.
In our disappointment and desire to settle the issues, we wives can resort to drawing conclusions and making big decisions based on those assumptions.
But I want to show you why you should not fill the gaps for your husband when he shuts down and what you can do instead.
I’ll do that by sharing an excerpt from my book, Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After In The Early Years.
One wife shared of her husband’s inability to open up when they had differing opinions. They could talk about anything and everything, but when she was upset about something, he clammed up and refused to engage. The shut-downs drove her nuts.
It took a long time, but at some point, she decided to start praying for her husband, instead of agonizing and forcing him to talk. One morning while praying, she remembered a discussion they’d had about his upbringing. As a young boy, he had witnessed his father hit his mom. “I was dazed by what I witnessed that day” he confessed. As so as he grew up, he vowed to never enter a heated discussion with someone he loved.
That morning, it all came together for this wife. All that time she believed they were having a career crisis, (she was worried about both their careers and the strain it was putting on the marriage.) But the problem lay elsewhere. Instead of being upset over his inability to talk, she was heartbroken.
In prayer, she began to grieve over the pain and agony he went through as a child. The self-defeating secret vows he made to avoid hurting people he loved. The fear of turning out like his father. The anger and shame of not being able to help his mom. Over months, she prayed for his healing and deliverance.
She shared their testimony after years of a happy marriage. While the old struggle still reared its head from time to time, they had learned to fight together, instead of against one another. She believed God healed her man because she was willing to forgo a temporary concern (career prospects, her comfort, agreement) and instead pick up the eternal; healing for his heart.
Alongside prayer, they did other things, like seek counseling. But ultimately, healing came because someone interceded with clarity. She did not tell her husband what God revealed to her; she merely prayed. And God moved. Friend, there’s power in prayer for those who are willing to pay the price.
Here’s something we can glean from the excerpt above
– Just because your husband shuts down or struggles to engage does not mean he doesn’t have anything to say.
I think that’s important to accept if you are going to learn how to engage better. Understandably, as a wife, you’ll find it easier to draw conclusions based on what you know, feel or see.
That, plus your husband might not even know what he thinks or feels. But the truth is, given time, effort and a lot of Jesus; a man can eventually learn how to process the broken pieces of his inner life.
– When we run in to walls, we are at our best position to receive supernatural intervention.
Instead of assuming we know what is wrong and making decisions based on those assumptions, we can choose to invite God into the situation instead.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6
– We must engage outside help
As early weds or newlyweds, the last thing we want is for people to think we have any problems. We want to shine the image of happy Christian marriage. There’s nothing wrong with that desire, but we must not be so consumed with protecting a picture, that we lose the marriage.
Here’s the bottom line if your husband shuts down
You might not know why your husband is shutting down. Your husband might not understand why he’s shutting down either.
But His Creator knows, and as you appeal to Him, He can begin to show you things that have nothing to do with your conflict, to start with.
He will pull back the covers and show you the underlying hurts, life experiences, upbringing, beliefs, etc. that have shaped him. And for these areas, you will begin to pray.
Now if your husband isn’t talking to you, there’s a lot more you should do. In fact, I have shared nine steps in my book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After In The Early Years to help you bridge the gap in your communication.
I really believe that a marriage can turn around when a couple has the right tools for communication. Yours does not have to abide by the heated waters of shut-down, fussing, anger, or passive-aggressiveness.
You can learn how to connect better. And I go into a lot more detail in Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years: We talk about connection, not just talking. We discuss pursuing peace and creating boundaries (because you need both.)
We examine the power of preventative maintenance, of slowing down, sleeping over issues (in the same bed) and much more. And all that in the Communications chapter alone.
But the book is much more comprehensive. I also cover expectations, your relationship with God, drawing boundaries and protecting your marriage, finances, sex and intimacy, submission and leadership, your vision as a couple, and much more
If you think your marriage can do with a little education in any of these areas, I encourage you to pick it up and learn!
Get on the road to a great marriage (or improve the one you have) BUY NOW –> Amazon Paperback I Amazon Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF I PDF UK/Europe.
Lets talk! How do you work through communication challenges in your marriage? What is your one tip that has helped you the most? Let’s talk in Comments below!