Silence in Your Marriage

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The past few weeks at our house have been a little crazy. We haven’t been on a schedule or in any kind of routine with the kids. I’m trying to get ready to go back to teaching soon and planning for our move. The kids and I just finished a full week of Vacation Bible School. Chris’s job is at it’s busiest point of the year. We’ve had various visitors and company stopping by for a night or two at a time. It’s been a lot of fun, but it’s been exhausting.

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Times like these past few weeks weigh on my marriage, too. My marriage feels tired. Do you ever feel like that, or is it just me? It’s different than being in a rut. In a rut, we’re almost bored with the blase routine. But when we’re going in a thousand different directions during the day, my relationship with Chris becomes just plain tired. At the end of the day when the babies are sleeping and the house is finally quiet, neither of us feels like connecting…on any level (wink, wink). We barely feel like having a conversation. The other night, I think the most we said after putting the kids to bed was, “Did you set the alarm for in the morning?”

If you’re anything like me, after a while, you start to take this kind of interaction (or lack of interaction) very personally.  If we’re not talking, then I must have done something wrong.  So, I quickly go through my head all of our interactions (or lack of interactions) that day and realize that I haven’t done anything wrong after all.  Unless…maybe he’s mad that I ate the last taco at dinner.  That’s just ridiculous!  Who gets mad over tacos?!?!  And since when is he monitoring what I eat?  DOES HE THINK I’M FAT????  Is he trying to tell me to watch what I eat so I don’t become a whale?!?!  I CANNOT believe what a shallow jerk I married!

(I get all of this from Chris sitting on the couch next to me, quietly watching Deadliest Catch.)

So, then I start to get pissy back at him.  If he’s mad about something so stupid, then I’ll just be mad, too.  And for the rest of the night, I have this whole, silent, made up fight in my head between me and Chris.  All because we were too tired to talk to each other at the end of the day.

Please tell me I am not the only one who does this.

I guess the reality is that I want Chris and I to talk, even when we’re too tired to think of anything to say.  I feel like the talking is connecting.  Like, if we don’t talk, we’re going to end up like one of those old couples in restaurants who go through entire meals without speaking.  I used to see those couples and wonder how they ever got to that sorry state.  But the longer I’m married and the older I get, the more I realize that those couples aren’t ignoring each other.  They’ve probably just bought a home, volunteered at their church for a straight week, managed a very busy work schedule, and fed, bathed, and put two kids to bed.  They aren’t sitting there avoiding or plotting against each other.  They’re probably thankful that they are married to someone who just lets them be for a while.

And maybe there’s a lesson in that for me.  Maybe after a long day or week, it really is a blessing to be sitting next to someone on the couch who still holds my hand after twelve years.  Maybe it’s a blessing to pass the remote and know that he’s either going to turn it to the Discovery Channel or the History Channel or any channel with a re-run of Everybody Loves Raymond.  Maybe it’s a blessing to know that he’ll stretch and sigh about 5 minutes before he’s ready to head to bed and that he’ll bring a glass of water with no ice when he goes.

Maybe we’re so well connected already that it’s okay to take a few nights off and just be still.

In the early years of my marriage, I might have thought something was seriously wrong since we weren’t communicating.  But with a few years of marriage under my belt, I’ve learned that communication is more than just words.  Sometimes, in fact, it’s the lack of words that have the most meaning.

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43 Thoughts to “Silence in Your Marriage”

  1. Jenny

    Hi Katie, I’ve been following your blog for a while and really enjoy your openness, but I’ve never commented before. You are absolutely not alone in this, my sweetie goes quiet if he’s tired, or thinking something through or even when he’s just utterly content, and it drives me insane! Like you, I invent rationales and conversations to fill the silence, without talking to him, ‘cos where’s the fun in that?!? I’m learning that if he has a problem, or he’s just annoyed he’ll say something and in my head I completely get this, unfortunately my less rational side takes over and fills the silences. Somehow I need to learn to enjoy the silence… So lovely to learn I’m not alone!

  2. It’s nice to read that I’m not the only one. Lately, our relationship has felt a little bit tired too. I came home yesterday and barely wanted to say two words for a while. Sometimes that’s just how it is. Thankfully I have someone who is okay with just relaxing on the couch and watching a show, too. I think we all make up fights in our heads every now and again…sometimes I’ll come home and be so mad at Rob, and he hasn’t even DONE anything! I think we all get through these silent periods…sometimes we just have to be quiet together and enjoy those times even when they make us a bit nervous.

  3. You are not the only one in this at all, trust me! With everything going on with my family, work, our new house, etc., it does feel like our relationship suffers from that, too. And it honestly is hard, at the end of a long day, to come up with truly meaningful conversation. But I don’t think you and Chris will ever be that couple you see at a restaurant who barely talks. (At least that’s what i keep telling myself for my own relationship! or so I hope!)

  4. Caragh

    Love this post, you guys are a total inspiration..

    But can I just say (Not that I advocate drugs) but you guys totally look like you’ve just smoked a doobie and your perfectly content with each other.

  5. Oh my goodness. I am so glad that someone else feels this way. That is exactly how my hubby and I are. Whew! You and Chris are so great together and after the weeks you’ve had you need to just sit on the couch and relax together. Enjoy it! 🙂

  6. Sarah

    Learning how to just be is hard for us as individuals, much less trying to navigate that as part of a couple as well. I find comfort on knowing that my partner and I can spend time together where neither of us needs anything more than the presence of the other one to help recharge our hearts, it makes me think that ok maybe just maybe I do have this thing worked out.

  7. Jennifer

    Katie, oh Katie, you are soooo not alone. I, too, have imaginary fights in my head. It’s so funny to find the things we imaginary friends have in common. Hang in there – Love the blog!

  8. Ashley

    Oh how relieved I am to know I am not the only one to have imaginary arguements with my husband in my head. The silence after a busy day is one one thing, it can be relaxing but when the busy last a whole week, the silence or only talking done is to complete necessary tasks can wear on a person(s). Thank you for letting me know it’s not just me / us!

  9. Rachel

    This post reminded me of pulp fiction actually. Not that that is a great place to take marriage advice… but Mia did have a point when she said: That’s when you know you’ve found somebody really special. When you can just shut the hell up for a minute and comfortably share a silence

    🙂

  10. HAHA! Love this! This is totally me. I’m so glad I’m not the only one. The ‘made up’ fights are a regular occurrence in my mind. My imaginary fights go so far as to settling who will take what when we divorce. This is all going on while my husband is mowing the yard or taking a nap. Thanks for this post! I enjoyed the laugh 🙂

  11. Hey Katie!

    You’re definitely not alone. I’m also guilty of being the quiet one though. A lot of what I do requires that I be outgoing and always talking to people. But at the end of the night, when all is said and done, sometimes I just want silence. It is nice to just “be” together. But I also make up imaginary fights in my head with people, too. Glad to know I’m not alone. Thanks for this post.

  12. I do that too…the making up a fight thing.

    But my husband and I are definitely the ones with nothing to say at the restaurant if we’re alone. We talk on the phone a few times throughout the day, even just to say hi and see how the day’s going, and then we just really have nothing left to say.

    In fact, we went on a road trip last fall and I had to write down all the things I wanted to talk to him about for a few days beforehand so we wouldn’t run out of conversation. It was hard to not talk for two days but I had to do that or else it would have been a very quiet 8 hours!

  13. I do the same thing. We just had a very crazy couple of weeks, and now I feel like we’re in the same place. What I’m learning after being married 8 years is nothing is stagnant, and while we may not feel like talking or doing anything else (wink, wink) for a while, it will all change relatively quickly. I’m not a “quiet” person by nature so I think silence scares me a bit. But I’m learning to appreciate it. 🙂

  14. Such a relief to know this happens in other marriages too! I was really worried about this exact thing last night. Feel a little better about it now. 🙂

  15. You just explained my marriage & my week to a T! We’re both so tired and going in different directions that we’re not connecting right now. I’m hoping to somehow change that soon!

  16. Lauren

    My husband thinks of us watching tv together as spending time together. He likes when I am just in the same room with him watching tv. Especially if I am wearing sweat pants. For him relaxing, just vegging out, is one of the great things about being marrried. I think its a guy thing…

  17. I often assume we’re just “being”, but then I realize that my husband feels neglected. Last night I was trying to finish up work, and he threw a fit about being lonely. I perhaps need to work on the quiet.

  18. I totally agree. Sometimes I feel like we’re all business. Sometimes all of our talk is business talk of baby poop or dog poop.

  19. I really needed this today! My husband and I have been married two years, and his beloved grandfather passed away, with the wake today and funeral tomorrow. He’s been very, very quiet and I’ve been trying to just let him be, but it’s so hard for me. I interpret his silence as him not feeling close enough to me to talk about his grieving, but after reading this I’m starting to think he probably just needs some space to sort out his feelings. Thank you so much for writing this today!

  20. I am still a newlywed to some extent. I appreciate this post. We haven’t had many moments like this but when you say early on in your marriage you would have maybe panicked. I can relate to that. I am always so worried that things need to be going a certain way. I guess what I’m worried about is how you know that something is only temporary…only for a season. I always worry if things get let go for too long, how do you make sure it doesn’t become an actual problem. I watch a lot of other couples, and I often worry about getting to that point and not realizing it, if that makes any sense. It’s nice to hear such open thoughts. Thank you!

  21. I totally do the same thing! I actually did it twice last week! I would start the silent fight because he chose to sit on the computer all night instead of be with me, when in reality I was doing the same thing watching a movie. Or I would get mad that he didn’t realize that my rubbing his tummy was more than just rubbing his tummy, and then I would be mad at him the next day…. I think this is something we all do!

  22. april in TX

    My husband and I have always enjoyed our quiet time together. Just being together is ok after a certain amount of time and also depending upon your personality.
    We’ve been together 16 years and I still enjoy him the most in the world. I think that’s a good sign for everyone.
    Also, find some friends who have horrible marriages; it helps your relationship self esteem.

  23. Melissa

    Uh, so for starters – taking the last taco is totally fight worthy at our house. I mean, not a Taco Bell taco, but a homemade taco, definitely. Take the last homemade taco, and prepare to be stabbed with a fork.

    As for the talking, there are some nights where my Chris and I are so tired, we just acknowledge that coming up with words or paying attention to what another person is saying is just way too draining. So, we veg out in front of the tube and hold hands. It’s the holding hands that helps. That way, when something funny happens, we don’t have to muster the strength to laugh together, we just squeeze each others’ hand and it’s like, “Yeah, we both knew that was funny. We still think alike!”

  24. Laura B

    You are not alone. In fact, I think you’re in my head! Nine and a half years of marriage and I still want to talk and hear what’s on his mind. But deep down I really already know what’s on his mind and everything’s fine if we’re just quiet.

  25. Lauren

    Hi Katie,
    I have been reading for awhile and can relate to a lot of what you share. I have gone through these times with my husband, but I have also believed it is important to be with someone whom you can sit quietly with. Sometimes there isn’t anything to say and a conversation can become shallow in my opinion. I also do the fights in my head thing so you aren’t alone on that one. I hate to say it but it may be a girl thing.

  26. Tressa

    LOVE this post!! You teach me so much every day!!

  27. well, i’m glad i’m not the only one. i tend to take times like this so personally, but when i stand back and look at it, i realize that i am taking it way too personally. our marriage has felt “tired” lately, but we are also in the middle of selling our house, looking for a new one and still working every day and living life. life itself it tired right now. thankful to hear your perspective.

  28. Farrar

    Been following for a while, don’t comment much, but had to here. It is so nice to know that I AM NOT ALONE, when I make up fights in my head, and I get pissy because HE is acting pissy, although in reality he has just had a stressful day and is decompressing. It is so nice to hear that we aren’t alone when sometimes it feels like we are the only couple going through things!! We will be married a year in October, but we have been together for nine, living together for seven, so my “marriage” sometimes seems to mirror yours, and it is SO refreshing to see that maybe I am not doing such a bad job after all, and that when I get my panties in a wad, maybe it is okay because like you said, I am blessed to have a husband that still holds my hand, and catches my eye in public, and blow kisses when he walks by, gets us both water before bed because he knows that I have forgotten, even after 10 years!

  29. Thank you for sharing! It is so nice to know I am not alone! I am currently 35 weeks and 6 days pregnant with twin boys and my family just moved back in town. Between trying to be in a good mood while carrying around 13lbs of baby and entertain my family since they are over at our house every day I feel like my husband and I have not had much time together and when we do get an evening just us we are both so tired we either want to sit and say nothing or go to bed! Plus when you are huge and pregnant the last thing you want to do is have someone hugging and hanging on you, my husband’s love language is touch and I have been awful at conveying to him how much I love and appreciate him through his love language. I am trying so hard to cherish these last few days/weeks we have just us two, but I am doing an awful job at it. I guess I just need to sit back and cherish the quiet moments we have as well!

  30. You’re not the only one who does this! I did the same just last night. And you’re right, it’s wonderful to be married to someone with whom you can just sit and be quiet.

  31. You are definitely not alone. I feel like you just wrote a post straight from my heart / head. Thanks!

  32. This is just another part of marriage. The part that bonds you like veterans of a war. You are just fine, do not doubt it. Raising kids is like fighting a war, and it builds a trust and respect that very few things can stand up against.

  33. El

    You are sooo not the only one. I do that all the time. And 99 times out of 100 my husband has no issues with me at all 🙂

  34. Brie

    I have whole arguments in my head too! So happy that I’m not the only one that does this…sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy! Most of the time my husband has no issue with me, it’s just me filling the silence with me wondering what’s going through his head, if he’s mad at me, and then arguing with him (in my head). Thank you for making me feel better about my sometimes silent relationship with my husband
    (and which he has no idea about) 🙂

  35. I read your thought process and burst out laughing- that’s exactly what I do!! Worst still, sometimes I DREAM we have a fight and then wake up cranky, even though he’s done nothing but sleep beside me all night. Women are crazy!

  36. sue

    men like to go to their “EMPTY BOX” when they are tired. which for the record baffles the hell out of me. but i’ve made my peace with it … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Huy-oOiDMLE

  37. This is really touching and encouraging for a newlywed. Thanks for sharing such heartfelt insight into marriage.

  38. Amy L Butler

    Wow. I love how your posts reflect things that are going on in my life! It is so nice to know that I am not going through these things alone. My husband and I are going through the exact same thing right now. I pray that we will be able to slow down just a bit. I hate standing right in front of him and still miss him like crazy. Working opposite shifts makes our life interesting, but most of all it makes us appreciate the time we do have together. Going through this right now really sucks. I’m ready for date night with a little conversation 🙂

  39. I know how you feel about the fight started in your mind about something! I used to do this a lot if I felt disconnected from my husband when we were still just dating long distance. I saw in my behaviour that I would start a fight only to feel closer, in a weird way. It kind of gives you something to connect about. Our pre-marriage counselor told me that fighting can be a means of grace. I really think that when we feel distant for whatever reason (busy-ness) it is easy for our mind to get into a tailspin and create something tense to talk about because in the end it brings you together. That’s just my thought. 🙂 You’ve been married longer than me, though.

  40. Erin

    I think it’s a blessing to be with someone where sometimes, conversation isn’t needed and as you said, you can just “be”. *Sigh* There is just something very comforting in that.

  41. Kate- you’re not alone. I feel like this – especially since we’ve had Peanut. It’s really hard to go through because a part of me feels like I should make the connection but the bigger part of me (not the fatter one, just the bigger percentage wise) is just so effin tired that I don’t feel like making the effort. Then I usually end up getting mad at Jon for not putting the effort forward. It’s so self destructive. Thanks for writing about it. I’m glad we’re not alone. (ps- we’re both sitting on the couch right now, with the TV on, not talking…*sigh* and lol)

  42. ashleigh

    I also have fights with my husband for no reason. We are high school sweethearts going on yr seven and 1st yr of marriage and a lot of the time I just won’t say anything just to c how long it takes him to start a conversation instead of me being the one to initiate conversation. Our valentines day consisted of silence I didn’t even get a card..he got breakfast cooked for him and a card. So idn wat goes on in mens heads but apparently intelligent conversation isn’t one of them

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