By: Davida Brown
No matter how connected we are to our spouse, we all experience conversation lulls in our marriage. Some may last a day or two, others weeks. Is this a sign that bad times are around the bend? Not necessarily. Let’s face it, sometimes you go through periods when you don’t feel like talking, or, at a particular point in time, you just don’t have anything “worth” sharing. If you are currently experiencing this in your marriage, don’t be alarmed. Every couple goes through it. If however you find that you more often than not have nothing to say to your spouse, that the conversation is often forced, that you really don’t care to converse with him or her, action is required to get things back on track. Conversation is a key part of communication, and a consistent lack thereof will adversely impact your marriage over time. If this is you, don’t fret. There are things you can do to restart the conversation.
I generally put couples in one of the two following categories:
We talk a lot, but not about us. Many couples don’t even realize that there’s a lack of critical conversation in their marriage because they are communicating on lots of things that don’t directly impact the marital connection. Critical conversation here means conversations that feed your marriage. My husband and I sometimes fall into this category. We have three kids under ten and a significant amount of our conversations is about the kids: homework, schedules, extracurricular activities, chores, etc. Admittedly, we sometimes go days at a time without talking about anything but topics related to our children. Now don’t get me wrong, having those conversations are important, but there must be room to have conversations about things that keep you and your spouse connected on a spiritual and emotional level. If you fall into this category, I recommend you carve out a minimum of 15 minutes each day to talk about things unrelated to your day-to-day obligations. Share something funny you heard on the television or that a co-worker said. Share your opinion on a hot button issue in the news. Share a new idea you had that day or recently that could positively impact just the two of you, like taking a trip. Revisit a great memory of just the two of you. Making the time to have these types of conversations will help maintain and reinforce your connection and ultimately your communication.
We have time to talk, but nothing to say. Many couples have become so disconnected that it’s like pulling teeth trying to find something to talk about. And for many, the effort it takes to get reconnected can be overwhelming.
I find with many couples that the cessation of conversation is gradual.
At some point, one or both realize there’s a communication issue, but either try to wait it out, hoping the issue will resolve itself, or refrain from putting in the effort to improve the connection because of other issues in the marriage. Either way, I believe to my core, that most couples want to be connected, despite what may be going on in the marriage. They just don’t know how to turn things around. If this is you, I recommend that you first take some time to figure out what’s really going on your marriage. You probably already have a good sense, but if you aren’t communicating with your spouse, he or she may have a very different view on what the underlying issues are in your marriage. You have to identify the issue before you can fix it. Depending on the severity of the disconnection, you may need counseling.
The good news here is that no matter how dire things may be in your marriage, or how severe the disconnection or lack of communication is, you can turn things around. Here’s why.
- Wanting and committing to improving your marriage and communication is half the battle. Once you are aligned here, the stage is set for you to do it.
- There is common ground in your marriage. Even in the worst of times, you and your spouse agree on at least one area that affects your marriage. It may be finances, sex, roles/responsibilities, religion. Whatever it is, no matter how small, use it as a spring board to further your connection. Make the time to understand how you’ve managed to stay in sync in that area and apply those skills to other areas. In doing so, guess what? You’re communicating.
- Help abounds. If you’re ready to jump start the communication in your marriage and can’t figure out how, there are tons of resources available to you, including marital counseling, marital coaching, self-help books, and likely friends who’ve been through it and come out on the other side. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Lots of other couples are experiencing the same issue(s) and there is a way to develop and implement a workable road map to strengthen the connection and ultimately the communication in your marriage.