Have you suddenly found yourself in a silent world? Has your wife suddenly and inexplicably gone quiet? You may have just found yourself the target of the Silent Treatment. You don’t have to be married to experience the silent treatment. It appears to be a tactic used in all types of relationships. And it is not used exclusively by one gender. Both men and women have been known to employ the silent treatment as a form of relationship manipulation.
Since this blog is intended to assist my fellow husbands I will focus strictly on the issue from a husband’s perspective. Besides, we are usually the worst at handling it. We are often clueless as to the cause of the situation, causing confusion and frustration. Some guys don’t even notice they are getting the silent treatment because they have long ago tuned out the sound of their wife’s voice. For those of us who do notice, here are my tips for how to handle it.
1. Be Thankful – Before you get upset about your wife employing the silent treatment on you, take a moment to count your blessings. Realize that at this very moment there are men who would pay large sums for a few hours of not having to listen to their wives. Some men haven’t been able to get a word into conversations with their wives for years. In their eyes you have been given a gift so enjoy it for a few minutes.
2. Don’t Ask – The number one mistake most of us make is asking the question, “What did I do?” Don’t do that. The situation is a set-up. If you admit that you do not even know what you are guilty of then you have just given her additional ammunition. Now you are insensitive in addition to whatever crime you initially committed. It’s kind of like a lineman in football that suddenly jerks his hands back from a block as if to say “I didn’t do anything.” The referee will call holding even if they didn’t see what happened. Don’t help them out by your reaction.
3. Apologize – I realize that some of you may be shaking your heads at this point saying, “I didn’t do anything wrong!” This reaction is normal if you misunderstand what apologies are. Many people assume apologies are admissions of guilt – an admission of the losing side. I disagree. I see apologies similar to a punt in football. You are simply giving the ball to the other team in hopes of ultimately gaining better field position. Apologize to your wife with something like this: “I’m sorry I upset you.” That’s a clean punt. It states the obvious (you somehow upset her) without furthering the argument. And we all know that furthering the argument does nothing for the relationship – nobody wins. If you can punt and put your marriage in better field position, you would be stupid to try a fake.
So what do you think? Do you have any tips for handling the silent treatment? Share them in the comments!
3 thoughts on “Handling the Silent Treatment”
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(Details can be found in Thursday's post "I'm Sorry. I was Wrong.")
Hey Chuck, thanks for following me on Twitter! Just wanted to share that yesterday when I told my husband for the second time that he was going the wrong way in a crowded parking lot, he gave me the silent treatment until way after we found a parking spot. My first thought was your blog. It made me laugh and then grateful that he was being silent. You saved the game for us!
Hi Gina, thanks for sharing that! I look forward to getting to know you on Twitter. Have a great day!