Silence is NOT Golden: 5 Helps When Silence Hits Your Marriage

The question driving today blog: Is your heart for your marriage stronger than your silence?

Isaiah 62:1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, And her salvation like a torch that is burning.

Silence can be good.  Small increments of silence are gifts.  Whether it’s for prayer or just to simply gather your thoughts, silence can be refreshing (especially if you have little ones…been there, bought the t-shirt, had a baby throw up on the t-shirt).  You’ve heard the cliché, “Silence is golden.” But strategic silence against your partner for the purpose of anger, resentment, and/or punishment is destructive.  Hear this from the pro at the “silent treatment” (me).

Just the other day, Anne approached me on the subject. She’s reading Jen Hatmaker’s book, “For the Love” and gave me an amazing quote from Jen.

Truthfulness hurts for a minute; silence is the kill-shot.  My resentment built a stonewall; my voicing it began crumbling the divide.

It confirmed what I’ve come to see from my own life and years of working with couples: Strategic silence is deadly.  So many couples are concerned about talking about certain subjects.  Some are afraid to bring things up fearing the outcome.  Ladies and gentlemen, this ought not to be.  If you want to be healthy, don’t be as concerned about the talked as you should be when the talking stops.

Here’s a few practical thoughts:

1 – Suck up your stubbornness and break the silence!  The pain of speaking to an awkward or painful subject doesn’t compare to what your silence is doing to your marriage. A silent issue does not equate to a solved issue.  I liken it to a sliver.  Just because it stopped bothering you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remove it.  Waiting and/or ignoring just invites infection AND more pain than necessary.

2 – Make an appointment with your spouse! It’s so practical yet so overlooked.  You both need to be position to give your undivided attention to the conversation without distractions. You’re kids don’t need to hear your conversation.  Your friends and family don’t need to be a part of your biz (this should be its own blog).  Keep your social media “friends” out of it (another blog idea). Keep this between you two and have it done so that you can focus on the conversation.

3 – Don’t get tired of breeching the same subject. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, “We’ve talked about this before.” My admonishment: Don’t stop.  If you’ve dealt with it, then keep talking BUT change your approach. Restart the conversation but brainstorm a different solution.  If that doesn’t work, invite a Christ-centered counselor. Just don’t stop the conversation because you think you’re at an impasse.  Calling it an “impasse” is pronouncing it “impossible.” Don’t give up hope.  If you’ve got Christ AND a teachable heart, all things are possible.

4 – Taking a “time out” is healthy but doesn’t end the conversation. Time outs are good when tempers flair. Requesting one can be good for:
– Relaxing and calming down.
– Doing something that will get you to decompress. Perhaps you ladies want to hit the speed bag or go for a fun. Maybe you guys want a bubble bath with Kenny G playing in the background.
– Remembering what is important.
– Praying for humility, patience, and wisdom.
NOTE: When the time out is done, resume the conversation.  Just because you have decompressed, don’t let the talk go back into silence.  Resume and resolve.

5 – Remember: The priority isn’t striving a personal win. Humility and teamwork from both of you will pay huge dividends for your marriage. When selfishness and maliciousness are set aside, casualties are few and far between.  Marital “wins” result in successes for the marriage itself.  They’re rarely one-sided. I say it so many times in premarital counseling, “A win for the ‘we’ is always a win for ‘me.’ But going after a win for ‘me’ isn’t going to be a win for the ‘we.’”

Isaiah 62:1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, And her salvation like a torch that is burning.

Victory, provision, blessing, and destiny for Israel were intrinsically connected to God’s silence.  They were a broken and lost nation.  God had REPEATING reached out to them.  Through prophets, the conversation was extended over and over.  In my own flesh, I wondered why God put up with them.  But out of His deep love for them, God refused to remain quiet.  He knew his shattering the silence would revive the wayward nation giving them a new identity.

Is your heart for your marriage stronger than your silence? If you’ll walk in humility, break the silence, you’ll have an opportunity to speak victory, provision, blessing, and destiny into your marriage.

Step up. Speak up.  Break the silence.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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