Many of my clients share that they would rather stay silent, instead of engaging in difficult conversations in marriage. They share that if they suppress their feelings then they do not rock the boat.

They feel like their silence is a protective shield, shielding them from the uncertainty and discomfort of addressing difficult issues head on.

My curious nature wants to know, does silence come with a cost to the relationship?

I would say, yes, it does.

Silence might provide temporary relief and that might feel okay in the moment.

However, it often comes with the cost of long-term resentment, misunderstanding and emotional distance.

It is important to realize that silence does not make the issues disappear, instead, it allows the problems to grow beneath the surface.

This will erode the foundation of the relationship and have a big impact on the trust and intimacy in the marriage.

Why Do Spouses Avoid Difficult Conversations in Marriage?

Some of the reasons are:

1. The feeling of being overwhelmed takes over.

2. Not knowing how the other person will respond.

3. Feeling like, it is not important enough to bring up.

4. The foundation of the relationship is not secure thus creating a fear of the relationship crumbling.

5. Difficult conversations in marriage can put someone in a vulnerable spot.

6. It feels uncomfortable.

(It is important to mention that if the discomfort of communicating is coming from being in an abusive relationship, then these tips are not suitable for your situation. If that is the situation, then please seek alternate sources of support.)

Sometimes a spouse chooses silence and does not realize that they are making an active choice. By choosing long-term silence over short-term discomfort. It might be easier to convince yourself that by avoiding conflict, you are preserving the harmony of the relationship.

Unfortunately, it is the opposite, by avoiding talking, you are giving resentment time to grow and taking away the opportunity to discuss the conflict and build a partnership of honesty, trust, and unwavering support.

Angry couple sitting in silence avoiding difficult conversations in marriage

Five Consequences That Could Happen When Avoiding Difficult Conversations in Marriage

1. Resentment Grows

2. Communication Breaks Down

3. Loss of Connection

4. Conflicts Escalates

5. Diminished Trust

All these consequences can have both short- and long-term negative effects on your marriage.

Do not put your relationship in jeopardy.

Instead step into the conversation with some communication tools that will set you and your spouse up for success.

How to Have Difficult Conversations in Marriage

Do not trade temporary discomfort for long term issues.

Remember, healthy marriages are not conflict free.

Couples are made up of two individuals who are entitled to their own opinion, perspectives, thoughts, and feelings.

Healthy marriages navigate conflict with grace, integrity, understanding, and empathy.

1. Address the conflict directly.

2. Use “I” statements when speaking.

3. Avoid judgement, blame, criticism, and contempt during the conversation.

Try to understand each other’s perspective, while postponing your own agenda. Take the time to truly listen to your spouse with the agenda to understand.

4. Take responsibility for your part of the conflict.

5. Try to achieve a win-win with understanding, empathy, and compromise.

6. Acknowledge the fear and discomfort that comes with having difficult conversations in marriage and find the courage to engage.

Break the cycle of silence and have open, honest, conversations. This can help cultivate a marriage that is authentic and one with mutual respect at the foundation.

married couple holding hands

If these tips are not enough for you and your spouse to be able to navigate a difficult conversation on your own, then contact me.

I help couples move from surviving to thriving because I Transform Relationships, one relationship at a time.

Your Relationship Expert,

Michelle