The only thing worse than living with someone who won’t stop talking is being married to a wife who refuses to communicate! What do you do when your wife won’t talk to you?
“My wife had an emotional affair with another man,” says Jason on Is Your Wife Cheating on You? A Simple Test. “Long story short, I gave her an ultimatum: end the relationship or I leave. My wife ended it, but claims she has nobody to talk to. She won’t look at me, talk to me, and can’t be in the same room as me. She is now bashing me to close friends, and blowing things way out of proportion. I am lost, confused, and still in love with my wife. But I can’t live like this. She refuses to get counseling, and says to leave her alone. My wife won’t talk to me but won’t leave. I need help.”
One of the best ways to cope with a wife who won’t talk to you – or a troubled marriage – is to get counseling on your own. Find ways to get as emotionally and spiritually healthy as possible. The healthier you are, the better able you’ll be to make good decisions about your life and family. A counselor (or even someone you trust and respect) can help you see how much responsibility you need to take, and how much you need to let go of.
Additionally, consider reading books like The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife’s Heart Forever. If you’re more of a handyman than a reader, think of books like this as tools to add to your tool belt! You’ll learn things from reading marriage books that you could never learn otherwise. You may not find your exact situation in the book, but the information will spill over into your own relationship.
Learning how to deal with the silent treatment in relationships is another powerful way to cope with a wife who refuses to communicate. Your wife may not be talking directly to you, but she is still communicating with you. And – often – actions are more powerful than words.
What to Do When Your Wife Refuses to Talk to You
Every marriage is different. Not only does every wife and husband have a different relationship from other couples, every marriage changes! This means that what worked for you and your wife a few years or months ago won’t necessarily work today. So, these tips for coping with a wife who won’t talk to you may not change your marriage…but they have the potential to change you.
Since you are the only person you have any control over, these tips may be more powerful than you think. It depends how you absorb and apply them to your relationship with your wife.
1. Find out your wife’s “love language”
Gary Chapman’s love languages – as described in The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great – isn’t a gimmick. It’s a powerful way to look at communication in marriage, and find ways to connect despite months or even years of silence, miscommunication, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.
“When you express your love for your wife using her primary love language, it’s like hitting the sweet spot on a baseball bat or golf club,” says counselor and bestselling author Gary Chapman. “It just feels right—and the results are impressive.” If you’ve never heard of “love languages”, read Examples of Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages – From Affirmation to Touch.
2. Learn how to deal with the silent treatment
I’m one of those wives who refused to talk to my husband when I was hurt, angry, jealous, or scared. I shut down emotionally and clammed up physically. My husband would try to get me to talk, but eventually give up — much sooner than I’d like! I wanted him to keep reaching out to me, because I saw it was proof of love. I was able to figure this out on my own, and I stopped “talking” to my husband this way. I don’t know why your wife isn’t talking to you, but she has reasons that may (or may not) make sense to her.
If your wife isn’t talking to you but is talking to close friends or family members, you might consider talking to them. Make sure you express your love and concern for your wife and marriage. You’re not trying to be emotionally manipulative or go behind her back; you just want to build a healthy marriage. You want to talk to your wife, but you can’t. Consider asking for their perspective about why she’s unhappy. Ask for their feedback, suggestions, and perspective. Take what they say to a counselor or someone you trust. Talk it through, find out if it rings true to you.
3. Consider the possibility that your wife is tired of trying to talk to you
Why isn’t your wife talking to you? If you honestly don’t know, then there’s a deeper problem to deal with. And that problem may be that you’re oblivious to your what your wife has been trying to tell you. You don’t know what’s going on in your marriage and home. Why is that? What have you been too busy, too stubborn, or too reluctant to hear?
Sometimes we don’t hear what our loved ones are saying. We don’t pay close enough attention, we don’t listen…and sometimes we just don’t want to admit the truth. Maybe the reason your wife won’t talk to you today is because she’s been singing the same tune for years…you haven’t heard her.
4. Accept your wife’s perception of you and your marriage
I went to a live marriage counseling session once. It was fascinating and a little weird; the pastor of our church was also a licensed, experience marriage counselor. He invited a few couples to a series of three marriage counseling sessions because many couples face the exact same problems.
One of the insights from the first live marriage counseling session was the fact that many husbands are perfectly happy with the status quo. They don’t want their lives to change because they’re satisfied with the way things are. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Wives, on the other hand, are often more keen on trying to improve their marriages, talk more, connect on a deeper level. If your wife won’t talk to you, there might be something she’s trying to tell you.
The husband in the live counseling session said he supports his wife, doesn’t put any undue stress or strain on her, and doesn’t recognize any problems at all. They’d been married for a short time, only three years or so. Yet his wife was already tired of trying to talk to him, trying to make him see that she’s not happy with “just” being provided for and supported.
5. As far as it depends on you, create a happy home
“The five most important words describing a husband’s calling in marriage: Proactively create a happy marriage,” write Joel & Kathy Davisson, in The Man of Her Dreams The Woman of His. “Start with giving your wife twenty hugs, kisses and compliments each day. The five most important words describing a wife’s calling in marriage: Proactively respond to your husband’s efforts. When he hugs you, receive it and hug back. When he kisses you, receive it and kiss him back. When he compliments you, thank him and compliment back.”
Could it be as simple as that? Wouldn’t that be amazing! Is it possible that your wife needs to be touched, loved, hugged and complimented? I don’t know. What would happen if you tried this for a month? Even more importantly: what do you have to lose? Your wife already isn’t talking to you…how much worse could it get?
If you want to go light and easy with your wife, read 10 Easy Ways to Make Conversation With Your Girlfriend.
6. Work towards changing the only person you can: you
In 7 Ways to Be Her Hero: The One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For, Doug Fields shares seven practical, do-able actions to transform any marriage. He wrote his book the way most men seem to talk and learn – especially Christian husbands who want to build more Christlike relationships with their wives.
“Your biggest, most important job as the hero husband of her life is to identify the baggage, help her unload it, and then fill it up with what God would want her to know — how precious and wonderful she truly is,” writes Doug.
Doug believes that most men feel like they are decent at their jobs and being a parent, but they usually don’t feel like a good husband. “We want to be good husbands but we don’t know how,” he says. “We know we suck, but we don’t want to suck any more. By the end of our lives we will be glad to know we were our bride’s occasional heroes and that we tried our best. That is the key theme of a hero. They try.”
If your wife is cold and distant emotionally, read How to Love an Emotionally Unavailable Man. I wrote it for women, but the tips apply to both mean and women.
How are you coping with a wife who won’t talk to you? Feel free to share your thoughts below! Writing can be such a healthy, safe way to figure out what you really think and feel. Sometimes we find answers to questions we didn’t even know we had while we’re writing. And, sharing your story helps other husbands see they’re not alone.