Spouse Won’t Talk to You? Here are Some Tips for Marriage Communication Help

One of the most frustrating marriage problems for couples tends to be communication within the marriage. Couples sometimes feel they need marriage communication help or marriage counseling to get back on track with one another. And although marriage counseling may be the right solution, I would like to offer some advice to consider trying first.

Typically, communication problems for wives stem from when their spouse has difficulty confiding and sharing. Comments like “my husband won’t talk to me” are a common symptom of communication problems within a marriage. These comments are also indicators that getting help to work through the problems could be important to consider.

It doesn’t matter if it is a major or minor topic, many women share during marriage counseling and therapy sessions that they feel extremely anxious and alone when their husbands have difficulty in providing the level of communication needed. After years of experiencing rejection, wives sometimes report feeling abandoned, and in the worst of situations, believe they need help for a broken marriage.

Intimate marriages where both partners feel a strong and close communication connection and are able to confide in one another, frequently have two processes at work. The first is gentleness and the second is acceptance. Intimate marriages have an “emotional intimacy barometer.” In most of these marriages, the wife is the monitor of the emotional intimacy levels. This is a wonderful, intuitive gift for knowing when the emotional distance between two people is too much and often leads to the wife attempting to draw the husband to be closer emotionally. The wife often brings something to her husband in an attempt to reconnect and open communication. When her attempt is met with acceptance, love, and open arms by her husband, the balance of closeness and distance begins to be restored. When her attempt at improving communication within the marriage is met with rejection by her husband, ignoring, or even belligerence, closeness continues to erode and intimacy embarks upon a slow death. A broken marriage can sometimes be the end result.

My advice is first for the men reading this: Meet your spouse’s needs for communication, ANY kind of discussion, with responsiveness. Instead of lecturing or providing all the reasons why something is the way it is, or the pros and cons of it, give your spouse a compliment and focus on her strengths. Appreciate that she is coming to you, confiding in you, sharing…communicating. Let her know you hear her.  It can be something like “Thanks for bringing this up” or “I am really glad I have you to pay attention to these things.”  Next, find something in what she is saying that makes sense and you agree with.  Ask for more of her thoughts on the matter. I guarantee she has lots to say on the issue. Value her and all that she brings to the table!

Advice for wives: Timing of the communication is everything! How you say it is as important as when you say it!  Gently approach your spouse and ask if it is a good time to talk about something important. Don’t accept ignoring! If this happens, simply state, “After X” or “in 10 minutes” I want to get your opinion and thoughts on Y. Be specific with the topic and stay with one topic – gently. Believe me when I tell you that husbands can get easily overwhelmed and can have a difficult time tracking multiple topics. Stay with one topic and only one topic. That will be enough for your spouse to digest at one time.  And, the same expressions of appreciation apply, but in a way that embraces communication, such as “I really appreciate you listening to me. It makes me love you and be more attracted to you every time you do it. Thanks.”

These communication tips won’t solve every marriage problem. However, I encourage you to give them a try for at least three to six months. No less. If there is a setback in communication, think about how you can make it better next time rather than what your spouse needs to do different. And, if it does not go so well, be the first to extend an olive branch and say “I am sorry for…Can we try again?”

You are always welcome to call our team of highly-trained professionals at Stein Counseling and Consulting if you ever feel that you and your spouse could benefit from unbiased and impartial marriage counseling. We have helped many married couples eliminate the feelings of living in a broken marriage. Some marriage counseling successes can be:

  • Increase intimacy and closeness in a relationship
  • Build a culture of praise and appreciation
  • Increase teamwork in a marriage
  • Solve challenging problems of communication, sexual relationships, finances, co-parenting, household chores, fun and recreation, in-laws, religious differences, and intimacy

Communication problems are normal and seeking advice from someone with experience can oftentimes be the right solution to getting a marriage back on track. Call us…we would be happy to help.


  1. What a information of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable knowledge regarding unexpected feelings.

  2. My fiancé won’t talk to me about our relationship and I’m ready to call it quite because he shows no emotion towards me when I speak of leaving. We have a 1 year old son together and he doesn’t help me with anything regarding him. He doesn’t feed him, bath him, put him to bed, he rarely ever plays with him. When I ask him if he wants this relationship to work, if he loves me and is willing to work on things, his replies Are either ” that’s a stupid question” or “sure”. When I ask if he would rather be single and have me leave he tells me to do what makes me happy. He refuses to sit down and open up to me about anything and it’s killing me inside. No deep down I don’t want to leave him but he won’t even tell me what he wants. When I ask what he wants he replies with “I don’t have an answer for you”. What is that supposed to mean? What am I doin wrong? Please please help me. I just want to be happy. Thank you.

  3. Hi Amanda
    What a difficult situation. I can sense the resentment building with each day that passes and the feelings of neglect that you are experiencing. Often, the first two years post baby is when a couple experiences significant relationship dissatisfaction…everything changes and when it used to be just the two people in bed – there are now three. And, the male has a difficult time being – well, replaced as the most important relationship in his partner’s life. Based on what I read, you really in your heart of hearts want to know if he delights in you as well as your desire to be closer and work together – enjoying these moments of raising your son together and for him to be a haven of safety and base of security for your son. Some men are reluctant to talk about the relationship because the often experience feeling overwhelmed during these discussions and experience a flight or fight response. They also may stonewall their partner – (withdraw or give no feedback that they are “present” in the conversation). This usually makes the partner, particularly the female, feeling very anxious – much as you are now. Men sometimes need very clear directions – much like telling the dog to “sit.” Often, men also like to experience they are the knight who can rescue their partner, although they often struggle to do this emotionally. Here is what I suggest. Next time you are feeling anxious or insecure, be gentle with your approach and say something like, “Can I talk to you? I am feeling really anxious inside and just need to hear that we are going to make it through, that we are committed to each other, and then I just need a big hug until I am done with the hug first. Can you do that for me?” Many men will jump at this because they now know exactly how to offer the comfort that their partner most needs. But, you mustn’t judge his motives – “you are only doing this because….” or it will backfire and cause a fight. Just accept that he is doing this because he loves you and wants to make you happy. On the other hand, if he has difficulty responding to that type of direction, there may be more going on and finding a qualified, relationship therapist will be just what you might need.

  4. I am a 58 year old woman. My husband is 60. We’ll be married 40 years this July 2012. He has always liked hunting and fishing to the point of being obsessive about it. Like he can’t get enough. He is very passive. Wants to be liked by everyone. Everything and everybody else comes first. He won’t communicate about anything. Then he starts kissing on me at night, and I’m supposed to want sex. I am so angry and resentful. We haven’t had sex for about 4 months. I had a complete hysterectomy 8 years ago and my desire for sex isn’t there to start with. So anything that happens, I have to force myself. Then it’s painful. We can ride in the car and never speak two words. In the beginning I tried the hunting fishing thing with him. But he never knows when to quit. If the fishing is good you keep fishing. If you’re not catching anything, you stay until you do. If he’s at home he’s on the phone talking to his buddies about hunting or fishing. Depending on the time of year. Or if he sits with me to watch tv, he falls asleep. We have three kids. They are all grown and on their own. I threw myself into them when they was little, and he was hardly ever around. I want things to be better, but I don’t know what to do. He was like this before we got married, I was only 18, and very stupid.

  5. My husband and I have been together for 15 years. The past 5-6 years have been difficult. My husband and I always fight about the same things. Every 1-2 weeks my husband gets mad, it’s always something to do with the kids. Either they don’t listen to him, I spoil them too much, or they are disrespectful. We have really good kids3 girls ages 17, 12, and 2, 2 are teens and sometimes are a little lazy and make smart comments. The problem is, when something happens that upsets my husband, he just stops talking to everyone, and basically pouts until I finally say enough. I will have a big argument and tell him to stop ignoring everyone, tell him how much I love him, and after this he is great for 1-2 weeks till it happens again. I’m just tired. I feel the things he gets upset about are so pety, and he acts like a child, but I don’t want to leave over this. I want to keep the family together, but don’t know how to stop this cycle. When he’s mad he ignores me, acts like I’m not important, and won’t do anything for me. When he’s finished being mad, he acts as though he loves me so much, does everything for me, and treats the kids great. What should I do to stop this cycle? Should I talk to him when he’s not mad about the good 2 weeks mad 1 week mad cycle? I just feel tired of the same thing, I can’t even enjoy our marriage when he’s happy because I’m trying to do everything not to make him upset again. I just never know what will upset him, but am sure after 1 week or so he will find something to be upset about.

  6. I have a big problem, I’ve been with my husband for 9 years, & we’ve been married for 4. We have no communication at all, and the only emotion he ever shows anymore is hatred, we have a 2 year old little girl together, and she can even tell things are different! I have tried everything but when I try to talk to him he ignores me then when he finally listens he blows up and starts yelling over nothing, I feel so alone and like our love has completely abandoned us. He won’t do anything with me and our daughter, we are always doing things alone, and we just can’t get along anymore because he is so hateful. He dosent care what he says to hurt me. We Literally say maybe 10 words to each other on a Dailey basis! I really would appreciate your help! 🙁

  7. I sense you despair and desperation! This is a very difficult situation. You describe a situation that is very volatile and you don’t know what to expect from one minute to the next. To make matters worse, your daughter is being exposed to the toxin and research is very clear about the effects of unregulated anger/rage on a child. It can lead to behavioral symptoms of ADD/ADHD, anxiety, and/or depression, even in young children. Often when spouses describe what you are describing, it may be a case of depression. Often in males, depression shows up as anger/irritability, withdrawal and isolation, giving up pleasurable activities, increased drinking/pornography use/other, and a “going their own way.” They often blame their partner for all the problems.
    Also, marriage satisfaction often reaches new lows the second year following the birth of a child. Often, the man now has to adjust to his needs coming last. Some men make this adjustment while others have a difficult time adjusting.
    The best I can offer is to get in with a good counselor to talk this over or contact us to schedule a time with one of our counselors via skype or other. You will need some support to get through this as it may take setting some strong boundaries if your pleas continue to fall on deaf ears.

  8. So, I’ve been with my husband for 4 years and we’ve been married for two. The lack of communication is definitely becoming an issue. When I bring up a concern about finances or something important, he just tells me not to worry. I don’t want to worry all the time, but I feel like he does nothing to remedy the situation. I don’t want to make him feel bad about not providing for his family, I am just expressing my concern and he just ignores the problem and calls me a constant worrier. We just had our first baby, so I know finances are tight, but this has been going on since before our son was born. I just want to be able to confide in him and receive an honest response. I hate it when he dismisses my concerns. I’ve told him this time and time again and it never changes anything. Help!!!!!

  9. Hello,
    Thank you for your supportive article. I have been married almost 6 years, no children. This past year has been a main struggle because of my husbands new position. He is in the military and trains new recruits. Each recruit training is 13 weeks long, and I only get to see him 1-2 times per week if he’s able to come home, and it’s late a night. He usually comes home, showers, eats and goes to bed. We probably have about 25 minutes of time to communicate. I know he is stressed with his job, and I accepted his career choice knowing the high demands. However throughout this year, my husband has been being secretive about looking at pornography, and I recently found out he’s been text messaging his friend’s younger sister excessively while he’s not home. I found out by looking at our phone bill because he deletes the messages.

    I confronted him on this subject, and he basically called me psycho and told me he was unhappy in this marriage and didn’t want to be married. I was shocked because we hardly see each other to have problems, so something must of built up. I told him how I felt, and I asked him to please stop looking at porn because it made me feel ugly and unwanted, plus we have not been intimate in months. I also told him I don’t mind him talking to his friend’s sister, as long as he didn’t delete the messages, because if it’s innocent, why hide it? I know he’s not physically involved with her, but I think maybe she is meeting his emotional needs and it’s something new for him.

    He refuses to talk to me and blames me, calls me immature, and psycho. He said he’d stop looking at porn, but didn’t feel like he had to stop talking to his friend’s sister. He made it clear he would do what he wanted. I found out he was looking at porn again and he continues to text and delete the messages from that girl. I thought our marriage was solid, we had a lot going for us. But somehow I’m blinded by something because his feelings about not wanting to be married to me can’t accumulate over night. Especially since before I found out about the texting and porn, we were great. He texted me all the time that he loved me and even affectionate (but not intimate) with me at home.

    I am in such a shock about all this, I don’t know what to do. And I don’t want to make any rash decisions because if I do, they always turn out bad. What can I do for myself during this time? How can I handle this? I don’t expect to change his mind, but I need to do something to make myself get through this.

    Thank you!

  10. My husband and I have been married for 5 1/2 years now. He use to always look at me with that special ”I love you” look. Now it’s gone. I see disappointment. He use to always say ”I love you” before leaving even if we argued. Now he doesn’t. Lately all he has are complaints about me and what I do. We have a son who is 4&I just feel so alone. Like I’m living with a stranger who doesn’t love me anymore. He never talks to me about important issues. In turn this lack of intimacy had led to lack of sexual intimacy on my part. I’m not withholding but I’m not jumping with excitement so he gets upset and won’t have sex with me. That seems completely odd for a male. He has excuse after excuse to get counseling. I’m at the end of my ropes. What else is left to do

  11. My husband and I have been fighting almost everyday. He decided to leave me but I begged him to stay for our 2yr old daughter and try and work it out. He stayed but we can’t seem to say anything right to each other without getting mad. He also has to young children from a previous marriage. He is blaming me for not being in their life even though he has never really been there for them. He says it’s not fair that he is there for our daughter and not his other two. I don’t keep him from his kids they come every other weekend and I’m the one taking care of all three children. The only thing he does is play with them. I don’t know how to make things better. He refuses to go to counseling. Please help before he leaves for good!!

  12. Of course as with most stories there’s a lot more to this but to keep it as short as possible & address the main issues, here’s my situation: After 7yrs together (6yrs being married) my husband came home from work, said he had to go somewhere overnight for work which he’s never done before, packed a suitcase, looked me straight in the eyes & said “I love you”, kissed me & my son, then left. For months he was very distant & most of the time he acted, treated me & looked at me with such intense hate. It turns out he was actually running away to go live with another woman he worked with & was having an affair with for almost 2 months!! I didnt know this untill about 1-2months after he left & found out from cell phone records. He never called, wouldn’t answer my calls until I threatened to call his work & family because at this point I didn’t know what had happened to him! The few times we did talk I could never get an answer to why he left, just that he was staying with a guy from work & he said “No” when I asked if he was with another woman. He was gone for about 3mths & with this woman for 5mths before he came crawling back wanted to “come home” & I reluctantly said yes, you can sleep on the couch”. It was the 1st time in months I could actually have a conversation without him avoiding me & ask all the questions I had, event though most of the answers that 1st night were lies. Well that was 4yrs ago & even though (as far as I know) there hasn’t been anymore cheating, I’m still dealing with the pain of it & he refuses to open up about it or anything else I bring up that I feel needs to be addressed. The communication got so much better the 1st yr we were back together and then it all slowly went back to the way it was, maybe even worse then before & I’m not sure why. As of the last 2+yrs, everything seems normal & he acts normal & we get along fine as long as… I don’t want to talk about Any of our problems! He refuses to participate in dealing with & changing anything in our marriage & we have 3 children & 1 on the way. I no longer have a job & no where to go. I feel so trapped in everyway that that means. I can’t either play along, pretend everything’s fine & try to block out all of my true thoughts & emotions, continue to try & talk to him about our issues & going counseling which will anger him, we’ll fight/argue & then I’ll get pissed off that always leaves a lot of tension between us or I can leave things the way they are & continue to be deeply depressed & suffer in silence, which I’ve had just about enough of! I just don’t know what I can do as only 1 half of this relationship to make things better for myself since he won’t be apart of anything. Without the option of leaving, I Need to do something to get myself out of this constant state of feeling so alone & depressed! Unfortunately it’s very difficult for me to consistently seek outside therapy since I have little kids, no babysitters & no one seems to have nights, weekends, either to far away or doesn’t take my insurance.
    I apologize this was sooo long!

  13. In general, our marriage is very good. My husband and I find plenty of common ground and share a mutually strong sense of humor. However, when my husband feels stressed he tends to blow up in my direction and I often get the cold shoulder / silent treatment for a couple days. It leaves me feeling very nervous about the future of our relationship. I’ve tried to voice my thoughts, feelings and concerns but my husband simply says, “I don’t want to talk; stop trying to change me; talking never does any good,” etc. He insists he is doing things strictly to make me happy, like providing a house and maybe letting us have a baby (he already has 3 kids from a previous relationship). But at the same time he has made it abundantly clear that these things leave him miserable. He refused to tell me what HE wants, or what would make HIM happy. At this point, I don’t want to give up on our marriage or lose all the positive things in our union. But I also hate that he is so miserable, even though he’s doing these things for my benefit. (He refuses to seek counseling, and when I mention it he tends to laugh at my need to seek out assistance in sorting through our feelings.) I’ve tried to make my feelings very clear, and have hoped that he would reach out to me to comfort me and assure me that he loves me and wants to make this work (I’ve even told him this) – but he still holds me at a distance and doesn’t even make an attempt to bridge that gap between us. I’m torn and don’t even know where to turn or how to sort through these intense feelings and worries.

  14. My husband and I have been married for 3 and a half years and together for the last 6. My husband is an alcoholic, which I knew going into the relationship. He has been on 3rd shift for the last year and a half and I see him maybe 45 minutes a day. We have been trying to get pregnant, and I recently found out I have PCOS. With him not being around, I do feel extremely alone and that I am worthless. I have asked him to get up earlier to spend more time with me or to see if he can switch shifts and his response is “I don’t know what to tell you”. We had an argument a few months ago about his drinking that ended in us not talking for 2 weeks. He still doesn’t seem to listen to me and I am so frustrated. He has 2 kids from a previous marriage and it seems like when we have them, I am the one taking care of them. They are very disrespectful to me and my patience wears very thin very quickly. I don’t know how to get through to him. I feel like we are living 2 separate lives and if I feel that if I’m going to be this miserable being married, what’s the point?

  15. Good Evening Crystal
    As I was reading your post, the song “You Lost that Loving Feeling” was playing over in my mind. Usually, marriages that are suffering from losing the loving feelings at 5.5 years is primarily due to poor communication habits and a loss of fondness and admiration in the marriage. We know from research that there are 4 horseman in marriage communication – criticism, defensiveness, withdrawal, and contempt. Even happy stable marriages have the first three but not as frequent as couples who divorce and contempt is predictive of divorce. The antidotes to these are gently starting a conversation, complaining without criticizing, being open to influence, showing interest during a discussion (head nods, other tracking) and finally, fondness and admiration. I suggest putting the relationship talk on hold for now – believe it or not, talking about it can only make things worse!! Instead, I suggest a 180 approach: Decide for the next three months that you are doing to only find ways to compliment him, express delight in him, and when you need something done – let him know kindly – asking for help as if you would be asking a stranger for help. He won’t know what hit him!! If he neglects to help you for whatever reason, gently remind him as such, “When I asked you for your help yesterday, I really appreciated you said you would. It means a lot to me. I know you have been busy and will get to it soon. Thanks again.” Do that over and over until it is done. Do not add any more to it. This will allow his own guilt to rise inside him and motivate him to get it done. Re: the sexual issues – when a male thinks his wife is not delighting in him he often feels rejected and most husbands in my office state “I want my wife to want me” which translated means, “I want to see the reflection in her eyes that I am her superman – that she delights in me for just being me – that my presence warms her heart.” There is an old resource out called “Changing Your Man without Him knowing it” by Michelle Weiner Davis, find it, read it, and use it. I have seen when wives can do this, their husbands are capable of great changes! I am praying for you.


  16. Arica
    I sense quite a bit of resentment as I read your post. What I am about to say is difficult, but most fathers who have custody every other weekend are the “play dads.” That is frequently how fathers relate and spend time with their children. It is often intimate bonding time from the father’s perspective and the childrens’sperspective and mutually enjoyable for both. He seems to be feeling resentment as well being at the point of leaving. Given the dire straits you are in, seek out a good counselor in your area who is trained in solution focused therapy and values the sanctity of marriage and go by yourself. A therapist with this approach will work with you to find solutions and work hard with you to save your marriage. Call a number of therapists and ask them specifically, “Do you have specific training in solution focused therapy? Do you believe in saving marriages? Tell me your thoughts on when a couple should divorce?” Also, look for someone who has the letters MFT in their title. I only suggest this because in the counseling world, that means they have training in marriage and family therapy. While there are many counselors, such as myself, who do not have MFT in my title but I have sought out much additional training to specialize in marriage work, given this is a blog, it is a suggestion that increases the probability of finding a therapist with the training I suggest (they are know as Marriage and Family Therapists).

    I pray you find a good therapist for your situation in the name of Jesus…

  17. Garfila
    You are a strong woman! I admire your persistence! Yet, as I read between the lines, it seems as if the possibility was there, you would leave the marriage. Affairs become perpetual problem in a marriage that need continual salve and soothing throughout the life of the marriage or the marriage runs the risk of bleeding out over time. What I am about to say is going to be difficult for you to read but – I wonder how the resentment you feel is playing out in your communication towards him and how he is experiencing you? It reads as if the walls are up and you are continuing to protect your vulnerabilities – which is understandable after what happened. Your situation is complex, but resources that might help is divorcebusting.com – they have an online community and coaches who can help as well as any of Michelle’s books. I wish I had more for you at this time, but those feelings of abandonment you experienced and continue to experience are so strong, that you need much more than I can give through a blog. I pray that God heal your heart, your marriage, and mold you and your husband into the man and woman He intended you to be in your marriage.

  18. Carol
    I am reminded how much “boys will be boys” but you deserve so much more. Congrats on the 40 years and sorry it has taken me as long as that to reply. You are a very giving woman and feel extremely taken for granted and neglected. I think a firm discussion is in order about needing more – but be specific and don’t, DON’T criticize. State what you want specifically in positive terms, “I want to go out for dinner twice a week together OR I want to talk for 30 minutes about something important to me and you to listen and be interested what I am saying – even if you have to pretend OR I want to spend a weekend together next weekend at ___ and when we are there I want us to ______.” These type of statements go a long way. I would also let him know something like, “I want to have sex with you again and I plan on it, but I need my batteries charged, and until they are charged, it will be difficult for me to love you in that way. So, I propose to charge my batteries we ______ IE, have date night once a week, watch a movie on the tv and sit with each other, etc (follow rule 1 – state what you want positively). Don’t worry about the sex for now, it is ok to set limits but in the meantime, get Michelle Weiner Davis’s book ‘The Sex Starved Marriage.” It is really good. I pray that God give you the marriage that He planned and you feel cherished by your husband through the power of the Holy Spirit given to us by Jesus.

  19. Kim
    Most of the time, when males withdraw, at least initially, they are trying to sooth themselves so they avoid doing or saying hurtful things, however; when it goes on, then it is often their feelings are still hurt. I have to be truthful, I think you are handling this situation great. You are going to sooth and comfort him when he needs comforting and it is WORKING! I am suspect that there are other stresses he is not bringing to you for comfort and it is building up until this cycle happens OR he is having more mild stressors and bringing them to you for comfort but there is a miscommunication. At the same time, I hear that you have needs for comfort from him that seem to not be met as well. An important thing here is to somehow separate yourself from his withdraw. When a husband withdraws, the wife often feels very anxious and abandoned and like “they are not important.” A risk factor is that male disengagement and withdraw can lead to mutual withdraw and once a wife disengages, the marriage enters a danger zone – which reads as if you are flirting with this zone. I think it is a great idea to talk to him about it. If he denies, it, track it, but be objective – list only the facts and then approach him in the spirit of compromise and changing it!! Tracking the behavior is good as well as you may be describing some symptoms of depression – irritability, withdrawal; so I think you have some good ideas!

  20. I just got married 2 months ago and I have been with my newly husband for 6+years. I found that he has so much things to talk to his friends but me. I have asked him why don’t you talk to me? His reply always is I told you the main thing which only 1 or 2 things. And he likes to go out with a lot of friends together, hardly go out just 2 of us. Once I have asked why don’t we go for dinner just us. He replied that you will ask a lot of questions which I did not ask during dinner last time. I don’t understand that he can accept that not talk but I can’t ask question. I found before married he was more loving and caring person, after marrige he has changed to another man that I can’t feel his love when he is sober; I feel he loves me only after his drinking. Can anyone tell me why? And sex life is not as good as before also. Most of the time don’t feel love. We still have the rest of the life to go, and how to deal with it?

  21. Julie
    I hear your suffering. What a difficult situation. At the point you are at in the relationship, most problems and reasons why couples divorce is communication. I am not certain about the alcohol and the role it plays in the marriage, but it can be debilitating to a relations should it qualify for alcohol abuse or dependency. Regarding the communication – the primary toxins of criticism, defensiveness, withdraw. and contempt can ruin any relationship!! Men really struggle when it comes to “communication.” Often when they are asked a lot of questions, they take it as an interrogation of sorts, even though the wife is only wanting to connect, bond and be intimate in this manner. Women have often discovered that the way to get their men talking is to make statements before questions, for example: “Why don’t we go for dinner, just us?” when made into a statement with a question is this, “I want for you and I to go to dinner together this week. What night works best for you, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday?” (three choices is always best!) The second example is rather than “why don’t you talk to me” which is actually a criticism, to be specific with what you want to talk about, for example “I want to talk to you about the new blinds we need in the living room and I can’t decide on a color and need you to tell me which you like better – the red or the blue.” I can tell you he will respond with one of three answers, either Red, Blue or I don’t care.
    I dont’ care means he really does not care about the color and often has nothing to do with the relationship. It is an insensitive moment as men don’t realize that their wives crave their input and want to have a discussion about the colors and the pros and cons of each color and how it will match the furniture, etc…this is often very overwhelming to a male and when they are overwhelmed – men withdraw and are quiet, which makes the wife more anxious and ask more questions!! So, rule of thumb when talking to your spouse – short, sweet and too the point. Less is more with men!!!
    Practice, practice, practice….!!

  22. Hello. Ive been married for a year and a half. I’m 31 years old and my husband is 51. I have to say that I feel neglected and in appreciated already in my relationship, and I don’t know what to do at this point. I have a 13 year old son, and he has 1 son and 3 step children from his previous marriage. My son lived with us and his children have pretty much decided not to have anything to do with us as a couple but they will deal with him alone… And my husband condoned this. He says they need to respect me as his wife but he has allowed his youngest to disrespect me in public…. She told me I was not welcome in the family, and called me out of my name all of this in front of his whole extended family( ex in laws) I was mortified as she attacked me and he said NOTHING. I also said nothing as I felt that any response in that setting would result in a serious altercation. His oldest step child had pretty much done the same thing only hers was done over the phone. He has female friends that he sends money to. He had a woman that calls him All the time even at 5 am and he says nothing is going on with her. He lied and said he wasn’t dealing with her but phone records indicate that as soon. As he leaves for work or vise versa he calls or she calls him and they are on the phone for hours. She even called not expecting me to be home and when I answers the phone I had my husband speak to her she said I didn’t mean to call remember you told me not to call you until after 8 or wait for your call when it’s safe to talk…. This was months ago. He still calls her to talk but he won’t talk to me.. I’ve had to deal with not having a say so in how the house is run because the entire house is filled with his deceased wife’s things and his step daughters things. He doesn’t want me to deal with my sons father at all even though he is a minor and I feel that his father still has rights to communicat with me about his child. But it is ok for his ex wife to call him regarding their 24 year old son. And the god mother can still call. Not only calls but he lies to me to go meet up with all these women for various reasons… I’ve tried to be kind and understanding to his situation but I’m overwhelmed now with the fact that he needs conversation but he refuses to talk to me. Everything is ok with us when I don’t want to talk about the problems in our relationship but when I go want to talk about them, he avoids the conversation he will just sit and state at me and refuse to talk. What do I do?

  23. My fiance and I have been together for almost two years now. He is the perfect man for me. He always does sweet things for me, like rubbing my feet everyday after work, putting my lotion on after I get out of the shower, warming my car up every morning, buying me flowers for no reason, etc. We have had the perfect relationship up until a few days ago. He had bought me an engagement ring that I really didnt like, so we agreed that I would go get the one that I really liked. He didn’t have the money to pay for the ring on the day that he promised I would get it and borrowed the money from mom (unbeknownst to her) the day before we were scheduled to pick it up. My mom had noticed the discrepency in her bank account and realized that he had taken her card from her the day before because he was the only one in the house with her. He had gone to the ATM and withdrew the money from her account. When we confronted him about it, he said that he was going to admit he took it and pay her back that next day when he got his paycheck. To say the least I was vexed! My whole family hates him now and is pressuring me to leave him. I have forgiven him because that is the Christian thing to do and he really does seem sincerely sorry. He told me that he did it because he has a hard time telling me no. He says that he feels like I belittle him whenever he has to tell me no to something. I dont feel as though I do this; i think he is overly sensitive because he has issues from his mother always making him feel like he was never good enough. I feel like he should have been able to come to me and tell me that he didnt have enough money for the ring but instead he chose to steal instead of face me. I told him that if we are going to try to make this work, he needs to learn how to communicate his problems with me. I am hesitant because I feel like if lack of communication has been an ongoing problem with someone their whole life, it cannot be changed overnight. How do I assure him that he can come to me with any of his problems, also how do I open the communication back up with him and my parents to start the forgiving process?

  24. I thought I also might add that he has never stolen from me or my family before this incident

  25. I adore my husband we’ve married for 4 years and dated for 5. We recently had a baby girl and she has become the center of our universe. He and I have always had some challenges communicating, but it seems to be amplified after having our daughter.
    I can’t say much of anything without him taking my comment as a criticism, or complaint. Even if I say, I’m not complaining, and this is not about you.. he still ends up telling me that I am the one with the problem, and that I’m never satisfied or that he doesn’t want to play “this game”.
    Even saying that maybe I need to get some counseling because I am oversensitive. When I suggest couples counseling he says NO, they will only blame him for everything.
    Its very disheartening my husband seems withdrawn, less affectionate and frustrated when I try to talk to him. I tell him I miss him, being close with him and he says I am complaining? He will get so annoyed he will shut down, sleep in the other room and I wind up crying myself to sleep. Then he seems even more annoyed that I a cry, making me feel like I am weak or over sensitive to how he reacts to my questions. Sometimes I feel like he is withholding sex because hes angry with me for some reason, he seems resentful when I ask him to be affectionate and tells me if I want it to come and get it, not to ask. I don’t mind doing that, initiating but if he expects me to do that shouldn’t he too sometimes? I feel like he doesn’t initiate, hold me, or kiss me because hes not that interested. I feel lonely, sad, and frustrated that when I try to discuss with him my words get twisted around and somehow its my fault and my problem

  26. this advice only works if your husband will talk to you. the only way i can even sometimes get my husband to listen to anything pressing i have to say is to write a letter and most of the time he refuses to read it and he will NEVER talk about what was written.

  27. My boyfriend and I have a 1 year old. We have been together for 2.5 years. We have a very bad communication problem and I have had enough. Everytime I would talk to him and ask him to be more romantic he say that’s not the way he is or when I would ask for a night out with him he would agree and then completely forget what day of the week we had talked about. He would never even apologize for forgetting and one time on Valentine’s Day he came home at night when he would normally get off of work ar 4:00 p.m and explained he had to work late. I am at wits end and have decided that maybe the best thing will be to leave him. When we argue he just stops talking to me and a week later he expects me to just talk to him as if nothing has happened and he wants to have sex. When we watch tv together he falls asleep but when we argue he stays awake til late watching tv. He has 3 other children from 2 different relationships. He also snores which has been an ongoing problem and we end sleeping in two separate beds all the time because he hasn’t done anything about that. He says he really love but he sure doesn’t act like it.

  28. Im at a loss. I have been married for almost 16 years. We have 6 children. He is a hard worker, never complains about my housework, cooking, or anything……really. He does what he needs to do to take care of all of us. I do not think he is cheating, and I believe he loves us.

    Why am I so lonely? We were young when we got married (I was 19 he was 25). I had become pregnant shortly after we met, but didn’t marry until my daughter was 4 months old. My husband has never had a big sex drive…but now its almost non existant. He says it was because he was fearful I would become pregnant. He promised after his vasectomy it would get better. It has not. I know he chronically masturbates. When I confront him on it he just says he’s sorry (all of a sudden he becomes interested in sex, gets it over with and then nothing for another two months until I bring it up again…)

    He also says very little to me. If it isnt the kids or his job, we dont talk. He sleeps all the time, but doesnt seem depressed. It bothers me because he will sleep as soon as he gets home from work…but after I put the kids to bed he suddenly is “awake” and makes himself popcorn and watches a movie.

    A few times a year, the lonliness gets to me and I kinda lose it on him, asking him why things are like this, why he doesnt want me, if he still loves me…..

    He always says yes, he still loves me, apologizes, and promises it will get better but it never does. We can go days without speaking. He will take me to a restaurant sometimes. Other than the weather and talking to our waiter, it can be silent.

    Oh, and one more thing….he’s snappy to our children. He has the shortest fuse….the kids have a clear understanding that daddy is just in a bad mood all the time. I have confronted my husband on this and he insists that isn’t the case….they are all misunderstanding him…..all 6 kids at different times in different place and situations are misunderstanding him EVERY time…..right…

    I hate leaving the kids in his charge because I know he will be crummy, bossy, and barking orders until he puts them to bed. They aren’t bad kids.

    I feel like a jerk…when I read the other posts on here I see my husband could be worse….and I shouldnt complain if he keeps us fed and clothed, doesnt beat me, and doesnt complain at me. But….he does NOTHING with me. We are like 2 separate people living in the same house. I am lonelier here with him than if he were away. I have tried talking to him, very bluntly, until Im blue in the face and Ive had it with his rejection.

    How can I learn to live in a marriage like this? How can I overcome my loneliness? Am I being selfish? Am I asking too much?

  29. My husband and I have been together for 3 years and married for almost 2 years now. I have a 5 year old daughter from a previous relationship. When I first met my husband, he used to go out of his way for us and my daughter. We used to have little arguments but nothing we could not resolve. He used to be open and try and talk things out with me when we had a problem. I opened up to him about everything and all my problems so he knew exactly what kind of a relationship he was getting into. He said there was no problem in who I was and he wanted to be committed in the relationship all the way. When he met my family, there was still resentment in them from my last relationship with whom I had my daughter with and so my family was not as accepting to my husband and I wish they would have been. It made him feel horrible and I tried to talk to my family about it and it became a little bit better after a while. We were okay until we got engaged. Suddenly he started coming at me more aggressively and the fights became more physical. He wanted to call it quits and not get married anymore but I did not want us to give up so easily. I reasoned with him that we could work on this and we finally agreed to getting married. He still held a lot of resentment towards my family by this time and the day of our marriage felt forced instead of being the best day of our lives. We still did not have a place together so the next time I saw him was about a week after our honeymoon. He was at work and I called him about something I had found on his iPad about him pursuing a relationship with another woman and he refused to acknowledge what I was saying and tried to avoid the whole topic. When he came home, I gave him time to settle in and when I asked him again and showed him what I was talking about he finally admitted to what he did. I asked him why and he said he was bored and that all we both do is work and don’t even get to see each other. I found this ridiculous since I thought we were both working extremely hard to get the house that we wanted to live together in. He said he would call it quits with the other girl but he said I deserved what he did because I went through his things in the first place. I noticed he did that a lot after we got married. He always tried to turn the whole topic around from what he did wrong to something that I could have done differently and been “right”. I wanted to still work on the relationship and asked him if he did too and he said yes. So we did. A few months later things became worse. The physical fights escalated to him putting his hands on me a lot more and the verbal abuse was simply out of control. Everything I said didn’t make sense according to him, I was retarded, I was stupid, I wasn’t a good wife because after working the whole day and taking care of a child and go to school, I was expected to cook, clean, and make time for him. The name calling has progressed since then every time there is something in the conversation that is not acceptable by him. Nowadays he simply ignores me more than 80% of the time unless he needs something, like sex. I notice he is only affectionate when he wants sex. I feel horrible having sex because it makes me feel like he’s only having it for his own pleasure. There’s no intimacy anymore. The only people he chooses to speak to are his friends or other women that he doesn’t personally know. I feel like it is my fault and I have gone out of my way to do everything for him. I have gone to that point where I cook when I come home tired and I take care of our child and I take care of his needs, emotionally and sexually. But he still refuses to be affectionate and talk and I am slowly going insane with the silence that surrounds this house. I cry all the time when I am by myself and I feel worthless because it has gotten to the point where he’s even insulted the way my body looks and compared it to not being as perfect as another woman’s. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want a divorce and I want to keep praying that things will get better. Please help! He won’t even go to marriage counseling with me. He thinks I’m the only one who needs help.

  30. Hi my name is Kai and me and my husband have only been married for 7 months but he still wont talk to me. Every time i try to talk to him he always shuts down and says he doesn’t want to talk about which makes it even more difficult. I have tried to speak to him gently and talk to him when he isn’t busy, but none of that works he still just shuts down and doesn’t talk to me. I have also tried giving him time and waiting for him to come to me but he never does and just leaves all of our problems hanging in the air. I don’t understand why i cannot get him to speak what is on his mind and what he is thinking and i feel as if we will never fix anything if he doesn’t tell me what is going on.

  31. I believe my husband has Aspergers, he doesn’t talk to me or our older son. He is always moody quite and rigid. Never says i love you and shows no empathy or appreciation for what I do. I hate being married to him and feel so trapped. We have 3 children together the youngest is 1. I feel that if I leave I will ruin my children’s life breaking up their home. But I am so miserably, we are in marriage counseling but it doesn’t help much, Asperger’s syndrome can not be cured. I am resentful that he chose me and married me and had kids with me, if he could not meet the basic requirements of being a husband than he should have not pursued this relationship I feel like he has destroyed our life’s even though its not his thought. I hate my life right now, I am so alone all my family are back in the UK and I’m the only one in the US. I feel so trapped I don’t know what to do, he shows absolutely zero affection for me even when I’m ill or crying he says and does nothing. He is so damaged.

  32. I am tired of not feeling wanted. Me and my bf have been together for over a year, friends for 6 and have recently had a baby. Communication has always been our biggest hurdle among his close ties with his family. They are over everyday, like clock work. I feel like I’m dating him and his family. I just want to be appreciated. I always try to go above and beyond for my family..just don’t feel like I’m gettin anything in return. I voice how I feel, I tell him everything and he listens but never responds. I get the stone wall and I’m tired of trying and hitting my head on this wall with no.result of any change or effort. He never communicates and its frustrating. I so badly want my family but at this point I don’t know if that’s what’s best.

  33. I am 63, and have been married for 12 years. This is my first marriage, and my husband’s third. We have four adult daughters between us – I had a daughter in a short relationship, and we didn’t ever marry. I was on my own for 20 years before marrying my husband, and I love him very much.
    My husband has been diagnosed with PTSD, as a result of the Vietnam war. He is now aged 72. We have had counselling individually and together, and overall, I am sure we have made good progress – but at times I feel none of the problems have really gone.
    He no longer drinks, but at times become depressed and becomes irritable and withdraw.
    At these times, I bear the main brunt of his negativity. He will be very warm and friendly with other people, but as soon as we get into the car, he makes it clear he does not want to have even a one minute conversation with me.
    At times we go for days without a real exchange or even a cup of tea together. He immerses himself in TV, computer and seems much happier in the company of other men.
    We had an active sex life for the year before we were married, but have had virtually no sex since. This was very hard for me to come to terms with, he pretended the problem was physical, but later acknowledged he did have perfectly good sexual function, and has simply refused to discuss this area. I have had no choice but to accept he “doesn’t like sex”.
    I only start feeling really hurt and down about this when he also won’t talk to me, sit with me, smile at me or go anywhere, even out for a coffee with me.
    When I get hurt and ask for a hug he pushes me away, or on the last occasion when I asked for it to go a bit longer (ie more than about 10 seconds, he said, “Gawd!”)
    At times like this I am very easily hurt.
    I only keep going through meditation and prayer.
    Can you please e-mail me when your reply is written, thanks, God bless you, Lillian

  34. My wife and I haven’t spoken in 4 days. Really, it’s me that’s avoiding her. We got into a dust up because she is unhappy with my current weight, and she can’t control her urge to be mean. She even said if I don’t lose some, she will leave me. Now, granted I’ve put on some lbs. we’ve been together 10 years, and met when I was in the army. I could stand to lose it, and I’m not opposed to trying, but… I feel as though to threaten to leave for that reason… What kinda monster does that? We have a small child, less than 2yrs old. I don’t want to leave, but I don’t know how I can continue with her. Intimacy has always been a issue. Before the weight sex occurred once every month or so, we haven’t made love since before my daughters birth now. (She is 17 months). She says its just not important to her, and/or my weight is a turn off. I’m just tired of feeling like a roommate as opposed to her lover. Idk… I’m not one for counseling…. My father swears it destroyed his marriage to my mother…. Idk… I’m stuck. 🙁

  35. Reese
    I hear your loneliness in the marriage. One of the worst experiences a spouse has is to be with someone but feel completely disconnected and alone. However, I also sense a lot of blame for this towards your spouse. Remember, you also choose him. When couples “lose that loving feeling” they often look back and rewrite the marriage story in their minds..symptoms overlooked, insensitiveness that are now large problems, and other “signs” that pointed to RUN. Diagnosing your spouse will not help the situation either as it makes the problem incurable. I do like that you are thinking about how can I accept what I cannot change. Typically, this situation calls for drastic change. It means stop looking to your spouse to change and begin to focus on finding the joys in life that make you happy – meaning make some new friends, take up a new hobby, exercise, etc. I know you are looking for comfort from him right now and not getting it. While there are lots of explanations for his behavior, the issue comes down to what can begin to do to reset the negativity in the marriage and build up some positivity as I imagine it can’t be good for him either. I would also suggest to keep talking to you counselor about things not changing and if it continues, you may want to discuss receiving a new referral from your counselor to someone else. Hang in there. Divorce is a worse option…

  36. Hi Libby
    Sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds very lonely. Wives feel very rejected and anxious when their husband won’t talk to them. Husbands often think their wives want to talk too much and withdraw. The key here is not to push. You undoubtedly have been very patient and are longing for connection with him. He seems to have a lower threshold for intimacy and you have a higher threshold – in other words, his relationship battery gets charged with little contact and little time together while yours get charged through higher contact and higher time together. I would caution you against interpreting – “he seems happier in the company of men” – which the logical conclusion is “he is not happy with me.” While he may be different in the company of men, most men I know are very different around other men, as are most women. Spouses express frustration frequently that their spouse “treats strangers and friends better than me.” This of course, is true as couples often take their spouse for granted and “let their hair down” at home instead of remembering to be kind with each other and follow the stranger rule – “treat your spouse as kind as you would a stranger.” I will pray for you and your spouse. In the meantime, there a two books that may be a good start – Divorce Remedy and The Sex Starved Wife – both by Michele Weiner Davis. We are also now offering skype coaching/therapy if you are interested.
    In Prayers,

  37. Hi Mark
    Wives spend the early part of the marriage keeping tabs on the emotional intimacy in the relationship and when there more closeness is needed, they often complain to their husbands. Following months or years of complaining, these can turn to criticisms. In a strange way, she is communicating she cares about your health and well being. Wives can also take a lack of sexual intimacy very, very much to heart, believing their spouse finds them unattractive anymore. She wants to be turned on by you again, much like in the early years, but is struggling to communicate this kindly to you for some reason. I suggest you get in shape for you – and not for her. You wil reap the benefits of feeling better and feel better about yourself. Don’t look to her for praise or delight about the new you! Do it for you and your health. It will take away some of the sting of her criticisms, which of course, are not motivators. Think of it this way, she is saying she wants you to be her “manly man” again and feel safe and protected. For some reason, that is how she experiences feelings of safety and protection. Don’t tell her anymore you will do it or she is right – just do it! You can do it and improve your marriage at the same time. Start today!

  38. Hi Penny
    Sorry to hear your spouse is so withdrawn. Feel free to post a bit more to see if there might be something helpful.