My husband won’t talk to me is something I hear from wives often.
The stories are heartbreaking.
Most women got married because they found a guy who makes them feel seen, heard, and understood. So it’s frustrating when once married the very thing that attracted her to her mate is shut off.
Or it’s available i.e her husband goes along for the ride, but conversations feel like sitting in a dentist chair, having a root canal – excruciating.
My husband and I were recently chatting with a friend about a season in our marriage when our communication broke down. He shared how he closed up when I brought up difficult subjects. (He wrote a post about it Communication in Marriage: A Husband’s Perspective.)
Back then, I had great intentions of responding healthily to his withdrawal. And I did, some of the time. But I was also disappointed, angry, and afraid. All those emotions, while perfectly natural under the circumstances, didn’t inspire healthy action.
In coaching, we say unhealthy emotions don’t drive healthy actions. When we react based on negative feelings we feed the problem, not address the problem. It was true in my case. Even with the healthy steps I took, I had a lot of underlying fears and inaccurate beliefs.
I did the right thing, but I lacked endurance. And peace. I second-guessed myself and over-relyd on others to fix things for us.
I’ve seen many wives respond the same way I did when they feel “my husband won’t talk to me.” They avoid the gut reactions for the most part (Yay!): No yelling, slamming doors, shaming, etc. All good stuff.
But their determination and “healthy responses” fade away within a short period. They are unable to maintain the “grown-up” mindset for th e long term because it’s one thing to respond healthily to a husband who won’t talk the first few weeks of marriage. Months and years? Quite the feat.
So what’s a wife to do when her husband won’t talk? How does she reach this man that she fell in love with, but who for one reason or another, has slammed the door shut?
My husband spoke about the fears he had when he shut down, how he withdrew from conversations as a self-protection mechanism.
Since I preferred to talk out problems, I believed my approach was the only healthy approach. That there was no way wanting to attack issues, immediately they happened, could be a problem. Isn’t it funny how we try to mold our spouses into our own image? And then light up like the fourth of July when our mates are less than delighted by our efforts?
I learned the hard way that you can’t solve problems when your MO involves changing your spouse to be like you. Trying to change others does not inspire them to change. Instead of changing, some spouses dig in their heels and refuse to budge.
Others go along for the ride, but the trip feels like sitting on a dentist chair having a root canal. Exhausting and excruciating.
So when I talk to women who feel driven to take action because their spouse has shut down, I remind them not all movement is created equal.
I am not a licensed therapist and do not provide diagnosis, therapy, counseling, treatment or mental care services and what I am about to share next is based on my personal experience, experience as a certified marriage coach and research: Broadly speaking, there are two types of marriage problems:
1. Chronic marriage problems.
2. “Regular” marriage problems.
Chronic issues stem from behaviors or patterns of behavior in a spouse (or spouses) that devastate the fabric of a marriage. These can include toxicity, manipulation and control, abuse, unrepentant sin, complete desertion of the vow.
“Regular” marriage problems are often just that – issues that arise out of two human beings (baggage and all) learning to love and serve each other with Christ-like love and devotion. Don’t be fooled by the word “regular” though: Common marriage issues can also be severe and deeply wounding.
But the difference is there’s the presence of goodwill: Even with flaring conflict, there’s a remnant of empathy or care for each other. Even when a husband shuts down, he still shows up – or attempts to show up – in other areas of marriage.
Spouses can address regular growth pains through repentance and growth – where we own up to our immaturity and pride and we ask for forgiveness and seek to serve each other.
When I coach wives, we try to figure out what type of problems they are experiencing because that determines the kind of help they need.
My husband won’t talk to me: A healthy response
When a husband won’t talk, the pressure is high to take the sledgehammer and break him out of his cave. But overreacting turns the relationship into a bustling construction zone. Not the safest place to open up, talk or heal.
Maybe your communication feels like a construction zone? Has your husband shut down, and you are tired of feeling like a babysitter for your problems – always being the “grown-up” while your spouse gets away, responsibility-free?
Or maybe you have great communication, but you want to inspire a deeper, more authentic connection with your spouse.
I learned that communication in marriage can change. But it doesn’t change until spouses are willing to be different.
I made so many mistakes when my husband shut down, and I wanted to support wives who want to inspire healthy connections with their husbands without using a sledgehammer.
I am excited to announce my brand spanking new mini-course, Authentic Connection: How To Address Problems When Your Husband Hates Talking, is now open.
And it’s FREE.
This course will help inspire real connection with a husband who struggles to connect and address marriage problems.
Authentic Connection is a powerful, easy-to-digest email course that helps couples engage in a way that empowers and addresses problems. You start by watching a video, followed by 8-days of practical encouragement, delivered straight to your inbox.
Your marriage can be different. You can learn how to connect without throwing each other under the bus or enabling unhealthy behavior.
WHAT YOU GET:
- One video class + powerful eBook to jump-start healthy communication.
- No-fluff guidance to help you take action through an 8-day email series.
- Bonus workbook and printables to help you apply the lessons (so you know exactly what to do.)
You deserve to be SEEN and HEARD. Your marriage is counting on it!
But why design a course for wives when it’s the husband who is the problem?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a question along these lines, I would have a beach house in Kenya’s charming Diani Beach.
Kidding aside, it’s a legitimate question. Wives want to know, “well why do I have to make any effort? Why do I need another resource to fix me when he is the problem?”
I asked these questions myself. I felt beaten down and misunderstood. I wondered why our marriage mentor kept telling me not to give up: to keep praying and hoping. Frankly I was exhausted.
So I get it.
I wish I had a simple answer. But simplistic and my husband won’t talk to me don’t go together. So let’s talk about why I created this resource.
I created Authentic Connection because
1. Marriage takes two.
So this course, while targeting wives, works for husbands too. By that, I mean the course shows you how to inspire an authentic connection with your husband. I am not focused on fixing you as I am on helping you heal that wounded connection in your marriage. Yes, we’ll talk about you, but we’ll also talk about your husband.
2. Even when a husband is wrong, there’s an opportunity for growth for the wife.
His issues will reveal her triggers, blind spots, and fears. Addressing these areas via taking individual responsibility doesn’t mean she’s getting red-carded. No. She’s doing her part. And that’s all she can do anyway.
3. You are in a relationship.
If he’s struggling in an area, you need all the equipping and skills because his challenges are unfamiliar to you. Looking at him, waiting for him to “fix it” before you engage, is not how to be a helpmate.
Genesis 2:18 ESV says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
“Helper” does not mean weak or feeble. It means equal in strength, a powerful influence in a husband’s life. That means showing up where you need to show up and doing what you need to do.
Marriage is still a partnership, even when one spouse is acting wrong. You don’t take action to fix your spouse. You take action because you are already connected.
This course is for you if:
- Are tired of sweeping problems under the rug and ignoring issues that matter to you.
- Want a vibrant, mutually satisfying marriage where problems get addressed, not ignored.
What other wives are saying:
“Love this course! It’s practical and clear. If you and your spouse are willing, it will soften hardened hearts. It will help you dive below the surface to address the real issue so you can solve conflict and see a difference in your marriage…” K, Married 10 years.
“The video and content is extremely value packed!” M, Married 7 years.
Authentic Connection is a mini-course for wives and marriages experiencing “regular” marriage conflict. (See #2 under “Addressing Problems”) It’s not for marriages where there’s a complete lack of goodwill and empathy from one or both spouses. If your husband is controlling or toxic, if he continuously and without repentance disregards his marriage vow, if he’s abusive in any way or form, the tips shared in this course, while helpful to know, will not work for your particular situation. Please get to a safe place, call an abuse hotline (United States: National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.7233), create boundaries, talk to a licensed counselor or mentor.