Publication date October 20, 2023

When Your Spouse Gives You the Silent Treatment in Marriage: Here is What to Do

I’m sure we all can agree that there are definitely things you should not say to your partner during a heated argument. 

But have you ever given or gotten from your partner a marriage silent treatment instead? If yes,  you should not have! 

The silent treatment might seem an easy way to avoid a conversation that is bothering your spouse but it is also super unhealthy and toxic. 

Your partner may not know but giving you a cold shoulder is a subtle form of manipulation. The silent treatment is also known as withholding which is used to punish and regain control of a person. 

It may feel good for your partner to ignore you when they feel frustrated but, it keeps away them from finding the real solutions to the problems that are bothering you the most.

Also, a long-time silent treatment can hurt a marriage and cause loneliness.

If you’re a lonely spouse, suffering in silence, here are some things to understand and to do to encourage communication with your partner again.

1. Don’t assume that you know the right reason 

The reason could be anything why your husband is giving you a silent treatment in marriage. 

The reasons can be complex as well as varied. Simply assuming that you can figure out what’s going on in your spouse’s head and heart can be ineffective. 

If your partner has not explained the silence yet, your assumptions can cause defensiveness, anger, and extended silence with your spouse if you are seen as oversimplifying or arrogant. 

2. Explain to your Silent Spouse your need to communicate

This may seem simple, but your silent spouse may assume that you don’t need or desire to communicate with them. 

They may think the silence is golden, causing a false sense of peace, and not realizing that the silence is damaging your marriage life.

So it is always good to explain your need and desire to talk with your partner, so they can express their thoughts and feelings. 

3. Be ready to listen, before you talk 

It is also important to keep in mind that when you and your partner are finally ready to communicate, let them talk first. 

Communication is a two-way street that requires both talking and listening and listening skills are more important when you are trying to coax your silent partner. 

When they will realize the need for their thought expression and you just want them to talk they will likely break the silence. 

So learning effective listening is critical to your communication with your partner. 

4. Practice how you respond

When dealing with a silent partner can elicit a lot of negative emotions. So it can be hard for you to treat them the way you want to be treated.  

But it is important to stay calm and more sensible when you talk to them.  As you are making a model how you want them to interact and communicate with you. 

So it would be the worst idea to use the Golden Rule as a manipulation. Simply put yourself in their shoes and hear yourself, before you speak anything to them. 

5. Try to show empathy 

In most cases, a silent partner feels afraid to tell certain things to their partner so they see silence as a way to protect themselves from more pain.

In such cases, it is best to try to show some empathy to your partner who is giving you a marriage silent treatment. 

But, empathy can be hard for you to do when you are already feeling hurt. 

If you want their sympathy for your loneliness more than you want to empathize with and understand their pain, you are probably encouraging their silent treatment.

6. Give it some time

Breaking your silent treatment relationship or getting your silent partner to talk takes some time. And you might need to steal a time when you and your partner can just be alone. 

date night

Source: HerNorm

If you are not in the habit already, this might be a good reason to start going on some date nights. 

In this way, you will have some time alone away from your kids, work, and everyday stuff and will be focused on communicating.

7. Be ready to ask and offer forgiveness

The silence sometimes comes from an unspoken hurt you’re unaware of causing. 

And if this happens don’t be defensive instead accept it and ask for forgiveness.  

Asking for forgiveness from your partner in a meaningful way can be a powerful way to keep a healthy marriage life. 

Whenever you feel that your partner is giving you a silent treatment, just simply say “I apologize. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”

And on the other hand, the silence can sometimes also come from your spouse’s guilt or shame. 

If such happens, having a forgiving heart may be just what’s needed to open up the gates of meaningful conversation again with your partner. 

It can be a really big thing for your partner that you forgive them. By doing this you are making a decision to release, embrace, pardon, and grow.

8. Don’t give up

Being patient with your silent partner is the most important thing when it comes to how to handle the silent treatment with dignity

Becoming complacency is so destructive in marriage. 

If you are feeling frustrated by the loneliness and the silence, find friends and family who will encourage you to keep trying to make your marriage better. 

I hope after reading these few tips you know exactly how to respond to silent treatment. Also, as a short note, you need to remember that marriage is just not easy to handle sometimes. 

But patiently pursuing peace and resolution can help your marriage get stronger as you grow from various stages of silence and loneliness together. 

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