What to Do When Your Wife Won’t Talk to You

It’s not just men who withdraw and create emotional distance in relationships. Husbands, what do you do when your wife won’t talk to you? These marriage tips are inspired by a reader’s question:

“My wife had an emotional relationship with another man,” says J. on 6 Signs Your Marriage is Over. “Long story short, I gave her an ultimatum: end it or I leave. She 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 her. But I can’t live like this. She refuses any counseling, and says to leave her alone, but doesn’t want to leave. I need help.”

How about getting counseling on your own? That may give you some insight into your own motivations, actions, and responses to your wife. You can’t drag her to counseling and make her talk to you, but you can get emotionally stronger.

Another marriage tip is to read books like The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife’s Heart Forever. I guarantee you’ll learn something new about your wife and married life. The more you read and learn about relationships, the more tools you’ll have to build a healthy marriage.

What to Do When Your Wife Won’t Talk to You

When I shut down emotionally (which I tend to do), I respond when my husband doesn’t give up. I’d much rather he keep knocking on the door, because it tells me he cares.

Here’s a marriage tip for men: find out what your wife’s love language is. Here’s an article that will help: Five Love Languages Examples – Different Ways to Show Love.

And, here are a few more tips for married men whose wives are emotionally distant…

Talk to someone you and your wife trust

If your wife isn’t talking to you but is talking to close friends or family members, talk to them. Get their perspective on why she’s unhappy. Ask for their feedback, suggestions, tips, and opinions. You don’t have to do everything they say – or even believe everything they say! But, the more you know about how your wife feels – especially when she won’t talk to you – the better able you’ll be to reconnect with her.

Get ready to hear what you don’t want to hear

One of the best marriage tips for husbands is to listen when their wives talk. My husband and I have a good marriage, but sometimes he just doesn’t hear what I’m saying. I don’t feel heard, and that frustrates me. But to be fair, the same goes for him: he’s told me that he doesn’t feel heard.

Maybe the reason your wife won’t talk to you is because she’s been singing the same tune for years, and you haven’t heard her.

Accept that husbands and wives have different expectations of marriage

I went to a live marriage counseling session (several married couples witnessed another couple getting marriage counseling) a couple weeks ago, and learned that husbands are often happy with the status quo. They don’t often seek out marriage tips because they’re satisfied! Wives, on the other hand, always want 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.

Something J. said reminded me of the couple who got live counseling: “We’ve been married for 8 years now. We have a beautiful daughter, and bought a house in the city she has always wanted to live in. I have provided, supported and never asked anything of her that wasn’t unreasonable. We have never had any problems until recently.”

Fix Your Marriage

The husband said almost the exact same thing! He supports his wife, doesn’t put any undue stress or strain on her, and doesn’t see that they have any problems at all. Yet his wife is tired of talking to him, of trying to make him see that she’s not happy with “just” being provided for and supported.

One of the best marriage tips for husbands is this: most wives want to continually improve and strengthen the relationship. Being supported and provided for isn’t enough.

Be proactive in getting to the root of why your wife won’t talk to you

Here’s a marriage tip from Joel & Kathy Davisson, authors of The Man of Her Dreams The Woman of His:

“The five most important words describing a husband’s calling in marriage: Proactively create a happy marriage. 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 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.”

Granted, it’s almost impossible to be affectionate and loving when your wife won’t talk to you! But, if your marriage is in trouble, you need to dig up the roots of the problem. Be proactive.

Learn how to change your marriage

What to Do When Your Wife Won’t Talk to YouIn 7 Ways to Be Her Hero: The One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For, Doug Fields shares seven very doable actions to transform any marital relationship, guaranteed. It also includes a bonus chapter for guys to read with their wives. So if you want to understand some simple ways to invest in your marriage and be your wife’s hero (again), this is the plan!

“My primary audience for this book is guys (sorry, wives),” says author Doug Fields. “I am writing in a way that most men seem to talk and learn.”

He also says that a husband’s biggest, most important job as the hero husband of his wife’s life is to identify the baggage, help her unload it, and then fill it up with what God would want her to know – which is how precious and wonderful she truly is.

I encourage you to read this book, and get insight into why your wife isn’t talking to you. You may also find How to Love an Emotionally Unavailable Man helpful – I wrote it for female readers, but the tips and strategies apply to men, as well.

Your thoughts and comments on what to do when your wife won’t talk to you are welcome below. I can’t offer relationship advice, but you may find it helpful to write about your marriage. Often, writing brings clarity and insight – even if we don’t come up with the exact solution to the problem. Writing can help us move a step closer to awareness and insight, and change how we see the problem.

Here’s a question to answer in writing: Why do you think your wife stopped talking to you? Describe three reasons. Tell the story of what happened, why, how you felt, how you think she felt, and how the experience affected your marriage. Work through it, wrestle with it. Tackle it and expose it.

Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.


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19 thoughts on “What to Do When Your Wife Won’t Talk to You

  • Shyam Kumar Kedia

    I do not talk to my wife because as and when we talk she always blame me from past wrong doing, I feel depressed or guilt. Please suggest what to do. I tried my wife to change her but she never change. Suggest what to do

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Tony,

    I wish I had the right words to fix your marriage and change how your wife talks to you, but I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what would make your wife act differently, or what you can do to smooth things over with her.

    What do you think causes your wife to lash out at you, to be so unpredictable and hurtful? Maybe that’s a clue about how to move forward with her.

    Is there anything you can do to change your marriage, or how you respond to your wife’s words or actions? You can’t change her, but you might be able to change your response to her.

    How does she want you or your marriage to change? It sounds like she’s unhappy…is she an unhappy person, or is there something in her life that makes her angry?

  • Tony

    Hi i dont no what to do my lady is pregnant and we have been happy and sole mates forever but she always puts down my kids from a past relationship.she is meen and most of the time i dont no were the lady i love has gone.i mean she has her ways of making me feel low empty and sad im an emotional male and she can get the better of me in our fights.she understands what triggers my emotions.i have done and i do any for her because i love her she stopped talking to me tonight and its hard to except my mate and his boy have came to visit us and she is jealous of that.we went out for dinner last night and she was mean to my mates boy and made him cry i got upset with her she was out of order.hes only 10 she did the same to my 7 year old daughter a while back it was so bad my daughter will never forget it and noor will i.she has a thing that if a kid is disrespectful she will make them pay by bullying them and makeing them brake down and she wont stop their she will continue to go on at the child untill i dont no cause i stop her.and her narcissistic way of control.you may be reading this and wondered what the heck im i doing with her well im starting to Dout that myself .if its running smooth she is loving kind to me and all is good.kississ hugs our sex life is hot but when its bad its bad.i think ive hit my limit with her actions or how she deals with things i cant live in fear of our future.im worried about our baby she is 7 mounths pregant and im scared she will be or have narcissistic tendencies with it.she so unpredictable help me please with some advice.

  • Laurie Post author

    The answer to difficult marriage problems – such as your wife not talking to you – is in you, your wife, and your relationship. I don’t know why your wife stopped talking to you, because I don’t know anything about your marriage, interactions, communication style, history, experiences, or personalities. Thus, I can’t give you specific advice.

    But I do have a few questions for you:

    What happened to cause the rift in your marriage? Why did your wife stop talking to you – what were the circumstances surrounding it?

    What reasons would your wife give for not talking to you? Don’t say “I don’t know.” I suspect you DO know because you’re a smart man. And, women talk. Wives stop talking if they….wait a minute! I can’t give you the answers! You need to think about your marriage and do the work yourself.

    What are your options?

    Who can you talk to about your marriage?

    Feel free to write your answers here in the comments section, or in your own private notebook. Either way, I encourage you to write down your thoughts. Writing is a great way to figure out what you really think and feel, and can give you the tools you need to rebuild your marriage.


    • Geoff

      I quite often do not listen to my wife because she thinks out loud. How am I supposed to know when, what she is saying is actually relevant to both of us. Should I listen to every word she says and then filter out what requires an answer.? I`m sorry but my mind actually needs to concentrate on some matters to hand that do not require talking. Some might say, ahh well women can multi task and talk while they act, so why cannot men.? Well therein lies a problem. Women will never understand men, yet often dictate how men should and should not act .

  • Carlos

    Married for 30 years, one child my wife keep the son in my bed for 12 years he is 16 now. Her mother was living with us for over 2 years passive aggressive until I kicked her out. Since then we got into every single fight. This year is the worse.she’s has the tendency not to talk about it so she keeps the distance. This year we change for worse I don’t sleep with her since March and we stop talking since September
    No matter how long ago we stopped she has the tendency to come back again with the same hate
    Any idea?

  • Robert

    our 20 yr old, jobless son moved back into the house recently and within 2 days he stole lawnmower gas from me. He has done this many times and told him to leave our home if he did it again. Now he has a learning disability but is not disabled. Has educational autism is what we were told when he was younger. My wife won’t talk to me about it.
    We have had other problems before this but so in ways this don’t surprise me but come on! My wife said said, “I don’t care what our kids do…IF they hit you…you don’t hit back but you never charge or strike your children!” I agree but I feel bad already enough but its past or over so let’s talk about it!
    Other things going on but this is the just of what life is like…Mom is protective and enabling where nothing is done to hold the kids accountable at all! I set limits and rules and kids go to Mom and the opposite of what I set was trumped! Heard many times…”you don’t need to listen to your dad!”
    Wonder why our 3 oldest kids have all been caught stealing, doing drugs, jail and so on? I know I have been a part of things raising them but really…being a friend to your kids when they are young and without setting limits…here where we are today! Wife Giving-Both Love and Money! ME Giving-Love and guidance and advise! Who do you think wins the affection or attention from the kids?? Sorry for the length ..have a great night!

  • Al

    What a ridiculous article about what husbands should do when wives don’t talk to them, of course its written by a woman. The man is to do all the work to get his wife to talk with him. Give her 20 hugs and kisses and all she has to do is kiss back.
    How about she does something proactive to show she still cares and values the husband and his love instead of expecting him to chase her his entire life. Gents, please listen to me, if she isn’t talking she is hiding secrets and secret behavior. A woman who is silent will not incriminate herself and certainly won’t talk things over. In most scenarios, the financial or physical security you have provided her has already been replaced by another man or financial means where she can provide for herself. Women don’t leave the shelter until they know they can enter another one. They are planners and you are probably a year behind her scheme.
    Five of my friends wives have left them in the last few years and every time there is another man involved, its a simple situation really, they are just tired of your flavor. Best advice I can give is to be a different flavor, don’t beg her to come back or communicate, move forward with your life and make future plans without her and intend to carry them out, she won’t be able to stand the lack of control she has over you any more. This will probably draw her back in if that is hat you want. Just remember the hunter does not chase his prey, he lures it in, and as men, we are hunters.

  • Dave

    My wife seperated from me a week ago. All she said was she needed a break and needed some time. She has not mentioned divorce and has not told me it is over but at the same time she will not communicate with me either. The only communication we have had is I texted her that I understand her position and to take all the time she needs. 24 hours later she answered “Thank You”. Also one of the reasons for the seperation was because I don’t have that good a job. I told her that I am actively seeking a better job and again over 24 hours later she answered “OK, Thanks”. I have asked her to go to counseling with me but she won’t say yes or no. We have been married 16 years and have a 13 year old son. We both made mistakes but in her eyes only I have. I am willing to accept that and told her I am sorry for all the pain I have caused her and that was never my intent. I have been giving her space but it is so hard not knowing what is going on and whether or not just is just temporary or not.

  • Mike

    my wife of over 25 years has not spoke to me in 2 years but i guess its karma at work I have been inattentive to her for many years now its payback time if there is one thing in life that makes sense its “be nice to everyone or it’ll bite u in the ass”

  • Don

    My wife has never been much of a communicator. She retreats into the TV and her idea of a good date is a movie where we both stare straight ahead. She gets angry easily and tells me she is tired of me complaining when I thought I was just sharing my heart. If I didn’t initiate conversation we would never talk.

  • Laurie Post author

    Hello Jose,

    It sounds like marriage has been very difficult for you and your wife – and having children makes it more painful. I’m sorry for what you’re going through. You can’t force your wife to talk to you or to make your marriage work. All you can do is get as emotionally healthy and happy as you can, despite the pain and unhappiness you feel.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Amy,

    What is keeping you in this marriage? It sounds like you aren’t happy, and I suspect you have good reasons for staying married.

    If your husband won’t talk to you, how are you meeting your emotional needs?


    • Jose

      Hello we’ll my wife won’t talk to me left home for two month in 2013came back home to work it out got worse in nov dec and news years 2014 have 3kids she demand a lot but she not working she said she don’t belive in marrige anymore want a divorse she be saying all this to get sacared I left home I’m stressing over all this don’t known what to do

  • Amy

    I have the opposite problem, my husband won’t talk to me at all. In fact he won’t do anything with me. We’ve been married 45+ years and he only had sex with me once, has never slept with me, eats and sleeps down in the basement. And as far as talking to me its been years since we communicate. He avoids me at all cost.

  • valimer

    If women want to be treated as equals they must communicate without games-we are not equals, never will be and never were. But we were raised to believe so, and we must contrive twisted tactics to communicate. It never quite “fits” though since it is based on such a lie. If your wife won’t talk to you then hold her accountable as an adult for her failure. Easier said than done I know

  • Jack

    My wife who I thought was my best friend left today.Im in shock eventhough for the last month or so I knew something wasnt right.She just no longer cared about spending anytime with me.I feel embarrased,stupid,angry,upset all at the same time.