When you got married, did you imagine endless conversations and an unending exchange of thoughts, ideas, dreams, and emotions? Fast forward a few years down the road and now you find yourself sitting in the bed or eating a meal together in sheer silence, feeling disconnected from each other…
Finding yourself in this place isn’t that unusual. Many couples experience times in their marriage where the talking to each other seems to stop. However, like anything else in marriage, conversations do take a little extra intentionality than when you first began. To start talking again, it helps to understand some of the reasons you may have stopped talking in the first place.
Here are 10 reasons couples stop talking and a few ways you can spark the conversations again:
1. You’re just out of words.
It’s easy to run out of things to talk about. At times it’s okay not to be talking each other’s ears off.
The ebbs and flows of marriage will often self-correct this situation. Conversation starters can begin casual conversations that get you below the surface and learning new things about your spouse. Sometimes sitting and simply enjoying each other’s presence, taking a stroll down memory lane, or embarking on new adventures all aid toward a new batch of conversation.
2. You’re tired and busy.
Life stacks up, and all of a sudden you find yourself lying in bed at the end of the day too exhausted to connect.
Stop, take a timeout, gain control of your schedule, and consider your priorities. Give yourselves the margin to gain your energy back and reconnect again.
3. You’re tired of having the same conversation over and over again with no resolution.
You know the argument… the one that never ends and neither of you can seem to agree or feel heard. You both feel like your feelings are being invalidated. This affects anything else you talk about, causing tension to build. Instead of saying the same things over and over, you choose to remain silent.
Giving attention to make sure you’re addressing the real issue and not just the symptoms may be the first step in removing the roadblock to your communication.
4. You live separate lives.
You work, exercise, talk to your set of friends, and golf. Your partner works, is a wine-tasting connoisseur, talks to their set of friends, and plays video games. You’re not sharing time, experiences, or interests.
Begin doing something together: cooking, hiking, puzzles, learning a new skill together, etc. It sparks conversations, creates memories, and cultivates curiosity in your relationship..
5. There’s a lack of emotional safety in your relationship.
You don’t feel cared for or like you matter. When you do share, you feel judged, misunderstood, criticized, or dismissed. To prevent experiencing the sense of rejection, you shut down.
Have an open, honest conversation about how you’re made to feel when you share. Gently give specifics about comments made or expressions that hurt. Share with your spouse what an emotionally safe space feels like.
6. No one is taking the first step.
Neither of you wants the responsibility of initiating a conversation about what may be causing the lack of communication.
Choose to take the lead in meaningful conversation. Just like leading a dance, when one person leads, the other typically falls into rhythm and follows along.
7. Technology has taken over.
Distracted by the phone, social media, and all the technology trappings?
Consider phone-free and tech-free time just for the two of you to connect.
8. You’re ignoring the elephant in the room.
There’s a topic that needs to be brought out in the open, and it’s causing the potential for any other point of connection to be shut down.
There’s only one solution for this: have the hard conversation; but, make a commitment to discuss it in a healthy, respectful way. Remember to affirm each other’s opinions and feelings.
9. One of you is an introvert and the other is an extrovert.
If an extroverted partner doesn’t leave room for the introvert to talk… pretty soon, the introvert just gives up.
10. There is anger or unresolved conflict present.
Something has happened in the past which causes you or your spouse pain. And this pain short-circuits any kind of meaningful conversation you could have with your spouse.
Whatever has happened needs to be addressed in a safe environment. Each person’s pain needs to be validated. Seeking professional help may be the best option.
There are lots of reasons why couples stop talking, but you don’t want this to become the norm. You are always in the process of either connecting or disconnecting in marriage; there’s no such thing as maintaining the status quo. Reflect back on why you married your spouse in the first place and become a student of your spouse; there is always more to learn about them, and therefore, always more to talk about.
Understanding the reason you stopped talking in the first place can be the first step to reconnecting again. Ironically, talking together about why you aren’t talking can be the start of a beautiful dance. The goal to reconnect on a deeper level just might be, at the moment, the one thing both of you can talk about.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***