My Husband Won’t Talk…What Can I Do?
My husband will not talk to me. I come home from work to find him glued to the TV, and that’s where he stays the rest of the night, even to have his dinner in his recliner. He says he loves me, and I believe he does, but he says he simply has nothing to say. I feel shut out and lonely and resort to Facebook friends. We’ve been married 11 years — second marriage, no children — but I can’t see spending another 11 in silence. I love him and don’t want another divorce, but I am frustrated with the situation. Is this something I can change?
Silence is golden, until it’s not worth a plug nickel.
Were you sitting across from me, I would have to ask you, was your husband Mr. Chatty when you were developing your relationship? I would be curious to know who carried the conversation, even in your earlier years of marriage. If this is a new development, then you might have cause for concern. However, if his actions are not that altered but rather have settled into a pattern, then perhaps you married the man he is today.
Is there something you can change? Absolutely. The key is “you.” It’s the only starting point anytime a modification takes place. We can’t control others’ actions; we can only control our own. Therefore, let’s look at some things to modify in the hopes of creating a livelier homeplace for you and your husband.
- Dinner at the table. When the meal is prepared, set your table, add some flowers and candlelight, and call him to the table to enjoy. Turn off the TV. You might sit there in silence initially, but a repeat of this table activity could generate conversation. Ask creative questions. The usual “How was your day?” is likely to invoke a response of one or two words. Rather, have some very pointed topics about how your day was, what happened in the world, and even a scenario of “what would you think if someone….” In other words, create questions that call for thought-provoking, meaningful responses. Don’t give up if the first week is a bust, or even the first month. Eventually, you will land on a topic of interest.
- Get him out of the recliner. Set your Facebook friends aside and have him join you on the couch to watch TV. If he resists, simply join him in the recliner. Not big enough for two? That’s OK. His lap will do. Tease, even nibble your way into claiming a bit of his attention.
- Develop an interest in what gets his. His TV tactic is either an escape or an addiction. If it’s an escape, what is he getting away from? ork? Problems? You? I understand this plays a role in your dilemma, and you need to get to the bottom of the issue. If, however, you have concluded he has always been the “quiet sort,” you have a man who simply doesn’t enjoy conversation.
- Observe his behavior. Does he talk to others? If the answer is no, then he obviously needs help in developing his communication skills. Hopefully, you’ve explained to him your need for conversation with him without being confrontational. If you haven’t, let him hear your heart on this. If he stares at you blankly, your marriage is in dire need of counseling.
- Strike a deal. If he loves you and desires to spend the next 11-plus years with you, agree to have designated nights set aside for other things — dates, social time with friends, board games with the two of you, a book you read together, or a night simply to catch up with each other’s heart language. Any of these could certainly prove awkward for someone who has settled into a blasé lifestyle. But every marriage is worth the effort in saving, so I would encourage you to keep at your attempts to heal the ills you are facing.
- Learn to be content. If divorce is not what you desire and your attempts at bringing more conversation into your marriage should fail, it leaves you to determine to be content. Facebook friends are great, but that’s not audible comfort. Pick up the phone and talk with friends. Get lost in good books. Plan a girls’ night out once a week. Get involved in a sport, gym, or exercise program. In other words, fill your time. You don’t have to throw away your love in order to be content.
Settling for silence is not the ideal marriage, I’ll be the first to admit, but it keeps you married to a man who loves you. Marriage doesn’t always change people, but sometimes, neither does divorce.
Struggling with a relationship issue? Write Joyce Oglesby, Family Life FIX-IT Pro at firstname.lastname@example.org and find a solution for life.