The Silent Treatment is another one of those games that some people are far too good at. Some people like to yell, some like to use sarcasm and wit and others like to use silence to make their point.
When on the receiving end of the silent treatment, it can seem like an extremely unfair tactic- especially if you are a talker. But I would like us to take an unconventional look at what the Silent Treatment might actually mean and how to use it for the benefit or advantage of our marriage.
Silence As A Tool
Okay, so let’s be honest, some people may use the silent treatment as a tool or tactic to get what they want. They have noticed that by being intentionally quiet, others will bow down to their wills.
It is a very childish way of behaving. If this is the situation you find yourself in, the best way to fight the silent treatment is WITH the Silent Treatment.
WHAT?! I know that might go against who you are if you are a talker. But by giving into their childish behavior and then jumping when they want to talk only adds to the level of control they are trying to exert in the situation.
A lot of times, the person who is using the silent treatment will only be silent during certain times but when they want something (like dinner), then they will become surprisingly chatty.
The way you can use the silent treatment to your advantage is by saying:
“If you don’t want to talk through this issue, then we won’t talk about anything until this issue is resolved.”
By all means, if they open up and want to talk through the issue, then you should do so. We are not saying to use the silent treatment as a tactic or way to ‘get back at your spouse.’ Only that you are not going to allow it to work with you.
By constantly trying to force your spouse to talk, you only give them more sense of control.
*Now, of course, if you are in a child custody situation or some other situation where you are required by the law to speak with your spouse do so. Don’t use the silent treatment in those situations.
Silence- What it Means.
Let’s take a look at some unconventional uses of the Silent Treatment.
Some people use the silent treatment as a way of protecting themselves. They don’t want to be hurt anymore OR in some cases they realize that they are hurting you and they don’t want to hurt you anymore.
The best thing to do in this situation is to look back at everything that occurred prior to them using the silent treatment.
- Did you have a big argument?
- Were there some very hurtful things said or done?
If you can go back in your mind and revisit the situation, often you will be able to see where things began to change. If you are able to discover what the cause is, then talk to your spouse about it.
Don’t worry about them talking right away- this actually works to your advantage as you are able to address the situation without interruptions!
But I would start with, “I think I know where you may have been hurt,” or “I think I know why you are not talking to me.” Most people will be interested as to why you think they aren’t talking.
If you are right, then they will usually open up to you and if you are wrong, they will usually open up enough to tell you why you are wrong. Either way, you have begun to make strides in the right direction.
I Don’t Know What to Say!
This can come in many different forms.
- They may truly be at a loss of words.
- They might not know how to respond properly to the situation.
- They might be afraid that they will only make things worse.
- They might just be tired of arguing.
The way to address this scenario is to assure them that you aren’t looking for the perfect words or answer to the issue right now- you only want to begin talking about it.
By letting them know that you don’t expect “the answer” or solution right away, it may relieve some of the pressure.
In any case, you eventually need to find a way to begin talking again. The silent treatment has never solved a single problem– not ever.
So, start slowly. Don’t force your spouse, but at the same time, make sure they understand that you are going to have to talk about this situation or issue eventually.
If you let them “win” by not talking and you brush the issue under the rug, it won’t be long before the silent treatment becomes a permanent part of your communication style and that isn’t good for you, your spouse or your marriage!
*How can we pray for you and your marriage? Let us know in the Comments Below!