Marriage Missions International

Why Won’t He/She Talk To Me?

Listen - Ignore switch

There was no hope in his eyes as he faced me. “She walked out on me,” he said. “She just called me at work one day and said, ‘I’ve had it. I’m leaving.’” He tried to control the tremor around his mouth. “I realize now that much of it was my fault. I guess she tried to tell me. …”

As I listened, I realized the truth of what he’d said. She had tried to tell him. When their son was born, she hadn’t wanted to go back to work immediately, but he pressured her, telling her that they needed her income. She nagged some and later grew severely depressed, but he didn’t think her depression had anything to do with him or with being away from their son.

Actually, that wife had pushed every button she had available to make him listen to her pain and anger. But he was oblivious to her inner cries. He worked two jobs so he wasn’t home much—but more importantly, even when he was home, he failed her emotionally.

Somewhere in time, she decided that the pain of divorce was more bearable than the hurt of being in the same house when they were emotionally at opposite ends of the earth. So she walked out. What she did wasn’t right, but I can understand it. It was probably a last desperate attempt to get her husband’s attention. She got it, all right, but it came too late.

I wonder how many broken relationships are due to a similar scenario. I wonder how many men are in the process this very moment of distancing their wives by failing to understand their needs —the need to be listened to, to have feelings and emotions validated by their husband’s concentrated attention and understanding.

It’s not that men don’t need emotional support and intimacy —they do, of course. I know some men who have as great a need for relating on an emotional, feeling, subjective level as any woman. They are often the counselors, those others turn to when in trouble, the pastor-shepherds. But as my wife Carole and I have listened to couples, we find that in the average marriage, it’s generally a matter of degree. And the women’s need usually seems greater. It is she who most often longs for soul-to-soul communication and who feels like she never quite has that desire met by her spouse.

This incident appeared in a recent article [in Readers Digest Magazine, "Why Husbands Won't Talk"]:

Judy, an artist, was worried abut preparations for an exhibition, and started to tell Cliff, her husband. She wanted his support and sympathy.

Instead, Cliff fired off instructions: “One, get all the artists together. Two, call your accountant—the expenses may be deductible. Three, check with the bank to see how much money you have. Four, contact the P.R. people.”

Judy felt rejected, and thought to herself: “Cliff doesn’t care how I feel. He just wants to get me off his back.”

Cliff believed he was being supportive-he had given her his best advice. But Judy was seeking emotional rapport, not problem solving.

Carole and I can relate to that! I have had to work on intimacy in communication all of our married life. It probably has to do with me being that logical, factual, objective kind of guy. I have to admit that by nature, I am a concealer of my feelings. In fact, if one side of a scale represented the ability to express feelings and the other side represented the need to conceal those feelings, Carole and I would probably balance the scales pretty well.

According to most marriage counselors, concealment is more often a trait in men, and it stems from various factors such as background, cultural expectations, perceptions of manliness, and personality. This tendency to conceal has drastic implications. James Collier says that most men think it unmanly even to admit that they have a problem —much less request aid:

Men in America feel that they ought to be able to deal with anything that comes along, and it’s an admission of failure if they’re having trouble. Some men would rather fail at their marriage or with their children than admit that something is wrong and seek a solution.

… Says marriage specialist Goldstein: “Men aren’t supposed to have sensitive, warm feelings or feelings of tenderness for the people around them—much less express them.” It is like the story of the old Vermont farmer 40 years married, who said, “I love Sarah Jane so much that sometimes it’s all I can do to keep from telling her.”

Communication patters: Spell them d-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t.

They’re different in the number of and reasons for questions. A revealer is often full of questions and sees them as a way to maintain a conversation, thinking “If I don’t ask the other person won’t know that I care.” Questions represent intimacy and caring. But not to a concealer! Now questions can represent meddling. The concealer may be thinking, “Oh, no, you don’t! You can’t pry that information out of me. If I want to tell you something, I’ll tell you —without all your questions.”

They’re different, too, in the nature of responses to communication. A revealer may use encouraging sounds such as “uh-huh” and “hmmm” to encourage the other person —and then feel ignored because the concealer utters so few of these acknowledging sounds. When I listen silently, Carole sometimes asks, “Honey, are you there?”

• They’re different in the use of what some call “oneness” words such as you and we. A revealer may use many more of such words, as well as conversational bridges such as “Please go on —would you give me another example? …”

Can you identify yourself? As I’ve said, I tend to be the concealer, and —being logical as well —I have to say that often, logical men have logical reasons for concealment! I read of a group of men who were asked their reasons for not talking. Several of them gave fairly logical reason, such as simply not being in a talkative mood, or being tired and not wanting to expend energy talking, even wanting to protect the wife when she was tired and agitated and her emotional tank was near “empty.”

But others in the group answered in ways that indicated their concealment should not be accepted at face value. Listen to these reasons some men gave:

(1) Silence helps me avoid differences of opinion. I grew up in a family that rarely expressed strong feelings. So talking is tough, especially when I know what I have to say isn’t what my wife wants to hear.

(2) Silence protects me. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to my wife about certain things because I’m afraid she will use them against me.

(3) Silence maintains a balance of attachment and freedom that feels comfortable in our relationship. Sometimes I need closeness, but other times I need distance. I’m most content with our marriage when there’s a natural ebb and flow in our interaction.

(4) Silence precludes heated explosions. If I don’t shoot off words, I’m less likely to catch crossfire or have to pick up debris when the battle ceases.

(5) When something is bothering me, I don’t talk because my wife tends to overreact and make matters worse. The last thing I want is someone bouncing off the walls in anger or else sniveling about it.

Did you notice a similarity in these five reasons for silence? It would appear that most of these reasons are based on self protection or comfort, not on the intimacy of the marriage or the needs of the wife.

Now of course there are times when silence is good. But to constantly conceal our feelings is bound to stifle the intimacy and closeness that our marriages demand (and most wives need) in order for us to become truly one.

One counselor puts it this way: Wives think, “The marriage is working as long as we can talk about it.” Husbands think, “The relationship is not working if we have to keep talking about it.”

So we’re different. So one of us doesn’t talk much about feelings, and the other shares freely. Can anything be done? Family counselor Norm Wright says,

A woman does not have to resign herself to living with an un-expressive male. Becoming fatalistic is not the answer, and I’m not talking about divorcing him either. Don’t listen if someone tells you “Don’t be so concerned about men not expressing their feelings. That’s just the way they are!” Men may tend to be that way, but they can change. Challenges or reproaches do not work. Carefully worded invitations can work.

Men do respond initially to questions which elicit factual responses. It’s easier for a man to tell his wife what he does at work than how he feels about it. He can tell her how he did at events or school when he was growing up easier than how he feels about what he did. But starting with the facts is an introduction to the feelings.

But the revealer must be cautioned: Mr. Wright also says that a man may finally open up to a woman only to find that what he reveals is discounted, shared with others, disbelieved, ridiculed, rejected, and even laughed at. Remember: safety, acceptance, and support are essential if a man is going to let down the bridge from his castle. He wants what he shares to be used for his welfare, not against him. Trust is a major issue.

This article comes from the great book, Opposites Attack, by Jack and Carole Mayhall, originally published by NavPress (no longer being published). This book is aimed at turning your differences into opportunities and helping polar opposites turn into the best of friends. As they often say, “different doesn’t mean wrong —it just means different in the way you approach life. This is such a practical book and really gives a lot of helpful insights into how to get along better with each other.

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Comments

97 Responses to “Why Won’t He/She Talk To Me?”
  1. Gail says:

    (USA)  Diane, If your husband so callously abandoned you at the curb when you were bleeding with a miscarriage, you must surely realize he isn’t going to care about anything else in your relationship either. He’s the one who needs to be dropped at the curb. His actions are telling you everything you need to know about him, so pay attention to those and don’t buy into his words. Words are cheap and don’t require any work or effort. Cut your losses, leave and go find someone worthy of you. Good Luck.

  2. Shaolin says:

    (USA)  Seems the men are always to blame. my wife of 26 years said she wanted a separation after telling me she could not stand me, she is going through menopause, sleep apnea, just had her thyroid removed and now she is following her dream of going back to school, (not a problem) I asked my wife what is the problem and she said its because of things from years past that she suppressed. she told me she knew she was hard on me, yet cannot tell me why, she says our marriage is based on sex, yet puts her job and her career ahead of me, sex has become a joke she’s either tired from her job, her legs hurt or she needs to sleep.

    she has always had an attitude with me about everything, and after her surgery she stated I was mad because we did not have sex, after explaining that was not the case, she just had surgery and i was more concerned about her health she said she has to follow her dream and has not said a word to me since April.there is no infidelity between either one of us and she refuses to go to counseling saying she does not need it.I took a vow to remain faithful until death do us part but she is making it very hard. I can not even look at her without some comment coming from her. i pray for her each day. its not always the men.

  3. Rosy says:

    (ZAR)  Nice article, I’m one of the people who don’t like speaking to my spouse and I have my reasons for this. As it is I’m lonely in my marriage and I’m begining to recognise the other men around me.

    I have a husband who knows everything, if you tell him something he will try to correct you. For example If I tell him what happened at work today he changes everything around and it ends up in a big argument. I hate this so I have decided to keep quiet and speak only when spoken to.

    Next, I have once confided my biggest secret to him and guess what? Now everybody knows about it.

    The last reason is because he discusses me with his colLeagues at work, female coleagues none the less, and one of them even called me to ask what’s happening.

    I have reason to be quiet!!!

  4. Veronica says:

    (UNITED STATES)  I went to my parents house for two days was in a hurry to get home so I could spend the day with my husband. When I got there my husband kicked me out, told me he was tired of all the fighting and arguing, he wanted a divorce. I tried everything to stop him from letting me go. But nothing worked. I try to talk to him; he will not talk, or be around me. He is still wearing his ring, and won’t throw the marriage licence away, and when I went to rip up our pictures he got upset. I don’t know what to do. My heart is hurt so bad and I have no one else to lean on for support.

  5. Husband says:

    (UNITED STATES)  Please read this whole thing as I am really seeking some resources, but I am really discouraged… The article is titled “Why Won’t He/She Talk To Me?” but, as usual, it is all about the horrible male, cruel, unfeeling, uncaring male… and nothing about the distant female…

    Maybe women tend to seek out answers more often or in more places than men. Maybe the statistics are accurate as far as the ratio. Maybe my gender is guilty of the crime more often. Maybe God has another planet somewhere where the roles are exactly the opposite, but I was mistakenly sent here…

    But for the love of Pete is there an article or a forum for me – the husband who is experiencing the same stonewalling, same cut off, same no-matter-what-I-do-or-say-or-try-our-marriage-is-fine-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-get-deep problem???

    Pages and pages and pages of how we men are really incapable of love and communication, how ill equipped we are to understand or be supportive, all we want is sex, with as many partners as we can, etc,etc.

    All of these articles go into how different we are, men and women, how our needs and wants and styles of connection and communication are different, but when one of us is brave enough to write into one of these female dominant forums we are told to just apply the same technique to our wives as the wives are advised to do here – but this answer is coming from someone who just wrote a book or seies of books on how that doesn’t work because we are so different…

    I don’t mean to be so … well, blunt. I am just frustrated and, truth be told, scared. I love my wife, I respect her, want to spend the rest of my life with her. But I am the one paddling around the island. and I always end up feeling hopeless because I end up on the “bad man” channel.

    So, for the sake of the other 5 or 6 guys that are here with me on the wrong planet, can someone recommend an internet resource where the fact that women can and often do have this issue as well, and where there is some REAL information on what WE can do?

    • Cindy Wright says:

      (USA) Husband, You have our TOTAL sympathy. There are two main holes in our web site in which we can’t seem to find articles to fulfill the needs. One of them is where the wife is the one who commits adultery & the husband is the victim (we’re trying to help the husband who has been cheated on, in this matter) and the other is where the wife is the one who is the uncommunicative one (and the husband needs help in this situation). No matter how I approach these issues on the Internet, the advice is flipped around –ministering to the hurting wife, rather than the hurting and frustrated husband.

      I’m not sure why it is that there doesn’t seem to be articles out there on this (at least not ones I can find). I BELIEVE it may be (& I could be wrong on this) because more women are the communicative ones. I’m thinking it’s not as often that the man is the one in the marriage, where he’s more into communicating and opening up, than the wife.

      I BELIEVE it’s also, because men don’t SEEM to be ones who openly complain about it and write about it as often. Instead, they will either suffer more in silence, or in many cases, they will find another woman (where they work or in chat rooms) who WILL communicate and admire (and sympathize with) them more than their wife does. They become “buddies” and/or lovers with them, thus, they don’t write about it. Again, I may be wrong on this, but whatever it is, it appears that the men don’t openly write about it as often (to the extent where I can find them).

      Trust me when I say, we would GLADLY post an article written by a man on this issue –one that approaches it in a respectful, helpful manner. We know there is an audience out there waiting for it. Please know that we’re looking for articles to post and web sites to recommend (that aren’t bitter, degrading ones), but so far we haven’t found them. If you find anything, PLEASE let us know. In the meantime, we’ll keep looking. Truly, our sympathy is with you and the other men caught up in this situation.

  6. 17yearsmarried says:

    (UNITED STATES)  OK…here goes. My wife and I have been married for 17 years this November. I am 44 and my wife is 49. I met her when I was 26 and she was 31. Neither of us had been married before. We have 2 sons 8 & 14.
    Two years ago, I lost my mother; my dad having passed on 10 years ago. For a long time, until October of last year, I mourned the loss intellectually and thought I was in a good place when, out of the blue, I started having anxiety attacks (never had them before), where I became afraid of losing everything that I loved. I was afraid of losing my wife to another man (I started looking for signs of cheating, but have never found any). I became clingy, very emotionally and physically needy with my wife.

    About a month into this, my wife looked at me and said: “I don’t think you have grieved your mom’s death yet.” BAM! She was spot-on. It opened up the floodgates. She was very supportive of me during this time, but I had a difficult time dealing with the anxiety. Many memories came flooding back about my relationship with my mom and many truths started to surface about events. I had no one to talk to except my wife. Yes, I did lean on her quite a bit.

    Fast-forward to this Summer. I started counseling to deal with my issues (2 months now). Since that time, it seems that my wife has become distant emotionally, and the frequency of sex has dropped from once a week to 3 weeks or more. I have to say that, during the past two months, she fell off her horse and broke her wrist (dominant hand). This put her into a depression, because she hates to be reliant upon other people. She says I have been more than helpful and she is grateful for my understanding.

    I know she must be exhausted from all of this, and I have tried very hard to be patient, yet she seems to be erecting an emotional barrier between us. This may be normal, I’m just scared that she is still planning to leave me (I don’t tell her this).

    She is also in the throes of perimenopause, even if she won’t admit to it (I haven’t asked her about it). She focuses on her work and rarely wants to discuss deeper issues -wants to keep conversation focused on events, day-to-day stuff, etc. Am I missing something here? Should I just play along with her? She doesn’t want to discuss her feelings. Anyone have any advice? Thanks.

    • Jeff says:

      (U.S.A.)  I understand your paranoia about your wife leaving you. I’ve been there. It seems to me her not being able to be independent+menopause is why she’s distant. Menopause can really scramble a womans nerves, thoughts, body ect! Do your home work, clear your mind and meditate! God bless.

  7. Jill says:

    (USA)  I feel like there is something about every story here that I can relate too. The “I’m not talking” (or looking at you) thing… is driving me crazy. I am 33 years old and got married to a man that was a friend from when I was a teenager. It might sound funny but we always laughed and told each other we would marry each other if we were single by the time we were 30. Never thinking it would actually turn out that way… one New Year we were together and thought… He might be the man for me. I decided to move in with him.

    I knew from the begining he had an anger problem, and that was the only thing that held me away from him… I was back and forth with should I or shouldnt I be with him. I got pregnant with my daughter and knew he would be a good dad. I totally from that point on… put myself 2nd. And over the past 8 years now, that is EXACTLY how he has treated me. I taught him to treat me 2nd.

    I’ve never felt like I was one to get depressed over anything, but I know I’m fooling myself. I’m definitely the revealer in the realtionship… and I feel betrayed by him for not speaking to me for weeks over something like this: We are waiting for food at a bar one Sunday evening (after he got home from a different bar… watching football) when he says to me, “Me and my brother are going to the Bullfrog (a different bar) to watch the game next week. Do you wanna go? I replied, “Are you asking me if it’s ok that you go? Or did you make plans without me and it really doesn’t matter if I go or not?” He screamed at me in the bar and said “WTF are you talking about?”

    That was 5 days ago and not a word has been spoken by him except teling me to F#%^ Off if I try and say anything… like I don’t know why we waste so much time not talking. But maybe in another week or 2, after HE feels lonely, he will come up behind me unexpectably and rub my back… but not a word will be said.

    • 17yearsmarried says:

      (UNITED STATES)  Well, he obviously has some issues with anger, and I’m not justifying his reaction in any way *except* to say this: If he made the effort to include you, why did you question his motive? He could have simply stated that he is going with his brother and left it at that. But he invited you to go. If my wife would have asked me those questions I, at least in my mind, would have also asked what are you talking about???

      You are right in stating that you have taught him how to treat you, so why do you want to set him up with a false dilemma (providing two options that are presented as the ONLY options, when there is obviously a third: that he was really hoping you would go). You put him in a lose-lose situation, and in his mind, you’ve already taken his free-will choice away from him… and there’s nothing else he CAN say that he thinks you would listen to. You’ve already made up your mind.

      Turn the tables around and ask how you would feel if he asked you the same kind of question. What you did forestalled any kind of positive communication. You are playing the victim, and that is a form of control. He probably already feels more lonely than you give him credit for.

      You are telling yourself the lie that you are not good enough -and you are living it out. Have you stopped to ask yourself that maybe he is frustrated with this attitude, and really yearns for a confident in herself woman? You are playing the “nice” woman who is “sacrificing” her happiness so that others (READ: HE) can be happy. You think by doing so, he will then give you everything you SECRETLY yearn for. That is a BIG burden for the other person to carry, and it is an energy drain.

      It sounds like he is living a life independent of yours but still within the context of the relationship (no cheating indicated), but that you are refusing to, that you want HIM to fulfill your life for you, that you live with that EXPECTATION. Maybe you should next time schedule a date with a girlfriend, sister, mother, etc. and invite him to go along. See what his reaction is then. See if he questions YOUR motives. You may find that he begins to develop a respect for you, in that you are doing something for yourself.

      BTW – the best response to someone who rages at you is a non-emotional response. Do not react emotionally (as far as I can tell, we are not talking physical abuse). Do NOT try to talk to them when they are in this state. Simply state that you will resume this conversation when he is in a calmer place. Do so with no accusation or hurt in your voice (practice a lot on your own), and assure him that your relationship is more valuable to you than something to be screamed about, that you are two adults that can hold a civil conversation. Smile a loving smile and walk out of the room.

  8. Miranda says:

    (USA)  My husband can be a very sweet man who buys me flowers just because, leaves notes sometimes to say he loves me, takes me on lots of dates, but he can also come off very cold at times. We’ve been married for 6 months but living together for 2 years, and it is now that I’m questioning if I made the right choice. My husband has all the qualities and values I want in a man, but what that kills me is he doesn’t know how to communicate. I know part of this comes from his african up bringing and views of a man (especially if there is a financial issue).

    He will give me a half answer if I ask him a question, answer my question with a question, or elude the question all together… like if I say “where are you going?”he replies “I’ll be back.” This frustrates me immensely because I know if I answered him the same way he would be angry. Half of the time he’s just going to the store for something and comes back very quickly, but I feel like he should communicate that. Who knows? I may want something from the store too… or what if something happens?

    I saw an opened express mail package on our dresser, I picked it up and saw nothing was in it, but it smelled like it came from his homeland (Africa, everything they send smells like some kind of herb… I dont know why). So I say “honey what’s this?” He answers “nothing”, so then I say “Well, I know they didn’t pay 18.53 to express mail you nothing, so you might as well just say you don’t want me to know.” He replies “well…” Secrets like this make me feel insecure.

    When we go out for dinner together, he can only have a real conversation with me if it has something to do with science, or politics, or academics… we can’t just laugh and have normal conversation like normal people. I hate politics, and enjoy talking about my day and my feelings. I also would like to hear about his day and feelings as well… but when I ask those kind of questions I get one word answers, so on most nights out we sit there looking bored and disinterested in each other.

    What frustrates me the most is when he doesn’t communicate a full answer for something that I ask him to do. For instance, my car was in the shop so I had to walk to my classes and work on campus. He usually walks just because he likes to, but I had worn heels all day and my feet hurt so I asked him if he would drive his car today so he could pick me up… and he just said no. I said “please honey, my feet really hurt.” All he said was “no.” I really thought he was just being a jerk. I walked home mad that day with sore feet, to later find out he went to get my car from the shop, which is why he wouldn’t pick me up. But I already had an attitude (and sore feet) so I wasn’t happy about it either way. All of this to say that if he had communicated the reason why saying “No, I can’t honey, because I need to pick up your car and won’t be back in time,” I could have taken it better. But he just gave me a cold “No” which changed my whole attitude.

    Communication is key in how someone reacts to you. I don’t understand why he doesn’t understand this. I’m sorry I wrote a book… but it does feel good to tell somebody who will listen, because no matter how I try to tell him he won’t. I’m confused and hurt.

  9. Kaya says:

    (UK)  Hello, I also am going through a rough patch just now. My husband has been cold to me since we got married 2 years ago, and like Miranda here, he responds with a dismissing yes or no. My problem is my husband runs a shipping business which requires him to go back home a few times a year. He is happy to go out there alone though I have not met his family since we’ve been together, and now we have a 6 month old baby.

    I also have an 8 yr old autistic boy from a previous marriage whom he does very little with, as he is always busy working or sitting in front of his computer. He doesn’t make love to me, so now I ask. I’m 37 and he’s 35. Sometimes we go for months without lovemaking, unless I ask. But it’s more to please me than coming from him because it’s so rehearsed and no kissing.

    Sorry my story is all over the place as I’m so confused and depressed as you can see. It’s after 3 am and I’m not sleeping. I can’t sleep, and I have two kids to look after in the morning.

    This time my husband had to go home on business, but he was short by a 1000.00 pound, so I lent him the money. I said he can buy his ticket and use the rest to top up things he needed paying.

    He told me that he was planning to leave on the 12th of November. I gave him the money mid October. Up until the last week around the 8th of November, he never mentioned details of his trip, so I kept on asking. He then told me that he couldn’t give me details as he hasn’t paid for the ticket but is planning to go on the 12th of November. He saw a ticket for 620.00 pounds, but unfortunately he does not know if he will get that ticket, as has used the money I gave him, for something else so now he was short on the ticket and is waiting for some from somewhere.

    I did not give him any more money and the silent treatment got worse… The last day before he went 11th november, he told me that he was leaving the next day at 2 pm and didn’t tell me when he was coming back or how he was planning to get to Heathrow, so I kept quiet, because I knew that he was angry with me for not helping him with more money for his ticket.

    And I was feeling very bad as I felt that he nearly lost his date because I did not give him more money, so much that on Saturday the 12th of November when he asked me for a lift to the station I jumped out of bed as it was the first time he spoke to me. I drove him straight to the bus station.

    It is when he told me that he was taking the train to London, I realised that he actually did not tell me when, how, or his return date. So while driving him and the children I asked him of his return dates. He said two words, 17th December. I felt weak. My autistic son has his birthday on the 10th of December and I promised to take him on the London tour bus to see the tourist area, hoping I would have some help with the children as he could help me with baby and pram on the tube.

    Please read on …Now I called him to say hello on Wednesday the 16th of November and I find myself (I dont know why) asking him when he’s coming back. He said 18th of December. So I expressed my shock on the change of dates and I started to tell him how hurt I was that he’s going to miss our son’s birthday, and he became so angry and was abusive and hung up on me.

    So it is when I decided to look up his email and find his e tickets, I found them. He bought and paid in full his tickets on the 28th of October with the money I gave him. He got it for 620.00 and had change left of 380.00 pounds, and is not coming back till the 29th of December. He is spending Christmas with his family.

    I called him and told him of my findings. He told me to leave him alone, who gives me the right to open his email and that he has nothing to say to me and put the phone down and has not rang me since. Please help me. I can’t sleep and now I’m comfort eating, I’m so hurt and feel used. Please someone, help me. Tell me what I’m doing wrong.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Kaya, I’ve been praying for you. In my quiet time, some thoughts came to mind. You’ve come to a Christian web site to ask for help. That, I’m sure, is no accident. What comes to mind as I pray for you is that you’ve got your eyes on a husband who is not being honest with you. Presently, he’s not living in integrity. He’s not being a true marital partner. Take your eyes and your hopes and focus off of your husband. Put your eyes, your faith, your hope upon God to lead you during this time. Put your focus upon God. Let God tend to your husband as you work on the issues you have before you.

      “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit” -Psalm 34:18. “But it is good for me to draw near to God.” -Psalm 73:28

      • Kaya says:

        (UK)  Wow this is powerful. Firstly, I must thank you for writing and praying for me. Please continue to pray and anyone else that can pray for me and my children please do, and I will be praying every minute myself. I think God is working on me already through you, Cindy, and everybody else out there that has taken time to read and is putting me in their prayer. Thank you. I’m going to do just that what you advise me to do and put my eyes, hopes, valuable time, strength on my two boys who need my care and love and also I will work and focus on my relationship with God. As the intelligent person that I think I am, I need not be told twice.

        Even if I didn’t know God before, now is the right time to work on my faith. Cindy, I have forgiven my husband though he has not spoken to me or apologized. I want him to have a great time with his family and friends as they take priority for him at this stage. I’m looking forward to spend Christmas with my children and my mum will be coming to stay with us so that it’s not just me and the kids.

        I know God loves me and he is drawing me closer to him where there is unconditional love, honesty and warmth. I’m grateful for this opportunity that God is giving me. I’m saying all this and I’m shocked because I’m not what you call a proper Christian yet, but about to be. Watch this space…. (: love you. I am at peace right now. I’m still hurting but I’m at peace. I feel calm and together unlike what I was the last couple of days. Thank you so much.

        • Cindy Wright says:

          Kaya, It’s obvious that God is reaching out to you. He doesn’t wait until we are “proper” …but just as we are. Keep reaching out to Him. If you go to the blue box at the lower right corner of the Home Page of this web site, you will see words saying, “Seeking Direction? Purpose? Hope? Please click into the arrow and ask God to lead you in this journey to better know Him. I sense in my heart He is reaching out to you. Embrace His leading.

          I’m so glad your mum is coming to spend Christmas with you and your children. I hope it is a loving time for each of you. And I hope that you are able to somehow figure out how to take your son on the London Bus Tour on his birthday. If not, I’m sure you can figure out a way to make it a special day, nonetheless.

          As for forgiving your husband, I’m really proud of you. But know that sometimes, it can be difficult to hang onto it in the long run, when challenges come up. However, if you work to press on, you will find that it will give you the freedom to be a healthier person. If you find yourself confused on all of what forgiveness means, go into the “Bitterness and Forgiveness” topic and read through the “Quotes” and anything else that you feel compelled to read in that topic. I believe you will find it enlightening. I hope and pray the best for you Kaya, and for your precious children. May God strengthen you NOW for what is ahead. But don’t focus on that now, focus on today… each day at a time. May you be blessed!

  10. Kaya says:

    (UK)  Hi Cindy and everyone, this is just to let you know of how grateful and thankful I am for this site. I feel ok about my situation. I am doing a lot of thinking and God is working wonders on me.

    I just want to encourage anyone that is feeling down, hurt, disappointed by their husband or wife’s behaviour that as long as you trust in the LORD it’s not all lost.

    I don’t want to scare you but on Saturday I was in a dark place but God directed me to this site and I poured my heart out, even that helped me so much. I just felt so free, just talking …and then an angel by the name Cindy Wright spoke. Boy… God is great… this lady healed my soul… and straightened my head.

    My marriage may end, my husband may decide to come clean about his feelings for me and everything, but to me God is working. I’m ready for anything. Me and the children will struggle in every way, but for peace and happiness, stability around my children instead of these on-going verbal insults, silent treatments (they call it passive aggression) at times and mental abuse… let it be.

    In case you are wondering, my hubby has nothing to say to me still, and he clearly does not want to discuss anything deep with me. But that’s fine. We will continue to be civil for the sake of our children… whilst he’s away.

    I encourage all of you to not give up and not to be disheartened. We all get married to be loved and to love, till death do us part, but God is taking care of you and me and He loves us but we also need to take His direction and guidance, sorry long speech (: so i will stop there, love you all.<3

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Dear Kaya, Thank you for the kind words. I have to tell you though, the words I wrote came to me during my prayer time for you. I wrote exactly what I believe God spoke to my heart to give you, from Him. I truly can’t take credit for them. I wanted to write more and started to, but I felt impressed to stop, so I did. I encourage you to keep pursuing God and He will give you peace, even in the middle of a storm.

      I have no doubt that you have some stormy days ahead of you (we all do… the storms are just different, for different people –that’s all part of life, this side of heaven). But keep putting your eyes on Him, instead of those who can rob you of peace.

      Also, if you have a Bible, start reading it… (if you don’t have one, get one) begin your reading journey in the New Testament. Learn of Christ and you will learn His heart and His ways and you will find guidance to help you. Again, the link on the lower right side of our web site concerning “Seeking Direction” will be a good starting point, for help.

      Bless you Kaya… bless you and your children. I’m praying for you and your children and also for your husband. He is obviously very confused as to how to live as he should. If he wasn’t confused or misguided, he would approach you and the children MUCH differently –he would be much more supportive and loving. May his eyes open, and may he make wiser choices in the days ahead. Even if he doesn’t (God gives us all a free will), I hope you will still seek God’s guidance and experience His peace. Love to you and yours, Cindy

  11. Steve says:

    (US)  Hi. I messed up, I messed up bad guys. I’ve lost my girl and I can’t get her back. I came into our marriage angry I just didn’t know it. I had years of abuse and feelings that I hadn’t dealt with. I was angry and defensive for fear of being attacked most of the time. I’ve been self employed for a long time but work got slow. When my wife got pregnant and put on bed rest she was expecting me to be her “Janitor at midnight” and I wasn’t. I stayed hopeful work would pick up and she was completely crushed.

    She’s distanced herself from me. It became a fight just for her to spend time with me.

    I got help with my issues and BETTER now! But it might be too late. She’s so hurt, so tired, so disappointed. I’m trying to make up for lost time but it doesn’t seem to be changing anything (unless she’s not telling for fear of regression and hurting her again). She LOVES the changes (being nice, trying to romance her, cleaning up, being better with the kids, giving her time etc).

    She says she’s almost mad that I’m this new guy now because she feels like it could’ve been this good all the time. I explained that I wasn’t HIM then and didn’t have the tools. Right now her heart is non responsive. She said she’s not making a conscious decision to be that way, but that’s what it is. I’m giving her space since she waited for me through my period where I had issues. I love her soooooooo much and my kids. I don’t wanna lose them but what do you do when someone says “I’m done, I don’t love you anymore, you lost me,” you know? Part of me feels like she’s watching me to see if I’m gonna continue being who I am and find some money for us to live comfortably.

    I’m determined to win her back but at the same time I don’t wanna be in denial. Right now my mindset is to keep doing the acts of love even when I don’t get a response. I keep telling her and showing her and maybe her heart will warm to me again, maybe. I KNOW she loves me but right now her FEELINGS are running the game. She’s walled me off but I’m fighting for this. I have to take down one brick at a time with love. I’ll take any tips guys… Thanks.

    • Steve says:

      (US)  I’m a proud guy. I’ve been praying and fasting and I’m being given clear instruction for my current actions. This isn’t how I normally act. I’m impatient. lol!

      Pray for me guys, I’m trying to push for this. Some days I get tired. I believe God has shown me “myself” for a reason and I’m hopeful that on the other side of this is the best marriage EVER!!!!

    • Gloria says:

      (MALAWI)  Steve, I am happy with you and to this point God has taken a step. He is going to change your situation with your wife. She is on the way with love. Believe it. God is going to do it. And don’t forget to pray for the other men to change their behavior. This is my prayer also.

  12. Gloria says:

    (MALAWI)  I have read Gloria’s story and I am shocked because the story is like my story. I have tried but I know I must surrender everything to God. Divorce is not a good solution.

    Please, our dear Lord, help our men. We love them. We are crying. God, I am ready to sin no more.

  13. ROBERT says:

    (CANADA)  I have been reading this web site for over an hour! I thank God for it and all the people who participate on it. You are all my favorite. Thank you all.

  14. Laura says:

    (USA)  I am so glad to stumble on this site. I thought I was the only woman that felt emotionally abandonded after 6 years of marriage and third child on the way.

  15. NONAME says:

    (US)  I am emotionally and physically abandonded by my husband. We only lived together four months. He sent me back home, and stopped talking to me. He never answers my phone calls or e-mails. HE totally ignored me for the past six months. What shall I do? I love him and I want him back. Please pray!

  16. Monique says:

    (SOUTH-AFRICA)  I have been married for almost three years and my husband is failing me emotionally. I do not want to leave him. I love him with my whole heart, but I can’t be married to a robot. Please help.

  17. Amy says:

    (USA) We have been married 45 years and all I ever got was nothing. He won’t talk to me, never had sex with me, never had kids with me. He won’t go out, kiss, hold hands, snuggle, watch TV, sleep, have dinner together just plain nothing. I think the only way I’ve gotten through all this is totally ignore him like he’s done to me. I had to get by my depression, pain almost alone. My doctor helped so much. I’ve created my own life, friends and I try to stay away from home. He would never miss me, and I would bet if I died all he would say is OK.

    • Vanessa says:

      (UNITED STATES) Amy, that’s so sad. I think your husband would really miss you if you died. I know you must feel awful, and that’s why you said that, but have you tried a marriage counselor? My husband and I used a counselor to get help. I was hiding the fact that my boss had tried to rape me from him, and that was part of my distance. Trust me, you guys should go to a therapist. Maybe, he’ll learn that he needs to pay more attention to you, and the two of you can be happier.

  18. Jerod says:

    (US) My wife of 18 years left me 3 months ago.We are both in our 40′s. We have 2 children in their teens. This is the first marriage for both of us, we dated for 2 years. She took my heart on our first date. I felt so grateful for her and her wonderful family, no divorces and great parents.
    Mine is plagued with divorce.

    My wife is passive and loving. She has many long term girlfriends, has never been flirty or someone who gravitates to bad behavior. I’m outgoing, love people and am faithful. She claims I’m controlling. I have been to a degree, but have always encouraged her to enjoy time with her friends and have only said no to her spending time away from home 2-3 times in our marriage. I try very hard to be generous as money and stuff really is not as important to me as any relationship in my life.

    She has said I have not acknowledged her feelings…It took me a while to even understand what that meant. But with practice, I think I’m getting it now. We used to text and talk several times during the day. I enjoyed making her laugh. She’s been loyal, but withdrawing over grudges with me and my family for the last few years. I have avoided conflict with her during the same, but tried to be encouraging. Now I understand encouragement and trying to help her solve a problem isn’t really listening and acknowledging how she feels. No cheating, abuse, hot angry arguments, addictions for both of us. Just a gradual lessening of time really spent building and keeping intimacy.

    She left. No discussion. Got a place of her own. Said ” I love you, but I’m not in love with you” Sees our kids 2 days a week. I call with only important matters relating to finances or kids- She’ll return my calls or answer the phone, but will not give me any future plan (and I haven’t asked). She won’t discuss us and wants off the phone if I hint around it. Texting nice things by me occasionally (like once or twice a week) yields no response. I’ve been to a marriage counselor many times during this time. She refuses to go. After several weeks of really limited contact as in a week of nothing, then a few days, I started asking for just lunch together, she turns me down. I ask once a week and has only seen me a few times since leaving. She wants nothing from our nice home and has only a suitcase worth of clothes. Her studio is furnished.

    I pray every day and read all I can about how to improve this situation. I know God will help us. I just wish I could figure out what she wants to do. I worry I’m not doing enough and will miss the opportunity to do the right thing to win her back by giving her so much space. Any suggestions? The patience and worry is excruciating at times.

  19. Vanessa says:

    (UNITED STATES) I was having trouble in my marriage until after I read this helpful article. I was acting distant from my husband, and I could tell he didn’t like it one bit. I prayed that God would fix things, but nothing he tried worked on me. I thought maybe it was the devil taking control of me, but now I know it was really God teaching me patience. I’m not the most patient woman, and my husband’s not the most patient man.

    He’d beg me to look at him, to make eye contact. He needed me to talk. I felt like there was some sort of emotional disconnect for some reason. I’d never really shared my true feelings with anyone, and when my mother died, it was hard for me to say anything. That’s when I started being distant. My husband once asked me the day after we buried her, “Baby, how are you feeling?” I told him how I felt, and well, he laughed at me. I didn’t talk to him for weeks, first because I was mad, then because I was actually scared to talk to him, fearing he’d laugh again.

    Today, though, we’re fine. But, when I read this article, I realized all the things I’d been doing wrong. Now, we talk all the time. I can tell how I really feel about anything, and he doesn’t laugh or insult me. He loves me, and I love him. For the first time, I truly know he loves me. I’m not scared to talk anymore. I’m not clammed up!

  20. Stacie says:

    (USA) I am at my witts end with my husband. We’ve been married 5 yrs, been together 12 and we have two beautiful kids. I am not sure whether to stay or go. Recently I found out he was texting and sending messages on facebook to other females and meeting up with them. Some texts were made and recieved while I was home. I confronted him by calling him at work. When he came home he told me maybe we needed to get divorced. He later talked to a mutual friend who advised him to go to counselling if he loves his wife. So I went with him. I wish he would have gone when I suggested it. But that’s the way he is. He will listen to everyone else but me. It’s like I am beneath him. School, work, home, finances he will take advice from everyone else. In the counseling case I wonder if he was shamed into making that move. Is that a red flag that I should just go?

    I have been physically ill, losing weight and an emotional basketcase. I hate being this desperate for a man. I have never been like this and he doesn’t care, it seems. He has been lying and keeping secrets for years but I just didn’t have the courage to leave. Now I feel stuck especially with the kids. If I try to talk about what’s wrong with us he counters with my failure to stay on top of bills and how much he has to work to bring in money. I don’t make as much as him and questioning him about anything is not allowed especially his finances.

    We have been in Marriage Counselling for over a month now and I am hoping we get better but with every day it keeps getting worse. I think he hates me but doesn’t want to be the one to walk away from me and the kids so people can say he is a deadbeat. I love him with all my heart but I am not sure he feels the same. He shuts down when I try to talk and wants to talk only at counselling. I am sick with wondering why else he would need other females as friends as he claims, and keeps them secret as if it was nothing? For years at that. He has never really apologized either. Come to think of it I can’t remember the last time I got a genuine apology. I just feel if I meant much to him and he was fighting for me and this marriage that would be the first step. Acknowledgement and an apology.

    Do I just walk away now or do I stay for more emotional abuse and bad stuff? Does it get better? When will I start trusting him again? How will I know when he is telling the truth? Just stay because the Bible says to pray and stay together? I don’t want anyone else but my husband. Will that change? How do I know when it is just time to go? If I stay how do I do it without losing myself and ruining my kids, espescially my daughter? Please help me.

  21. Kaye says:

    (USA) My husband and I have been married for over 5 years and we have two children; under 3 years old, and I believe we’re having communication problems. My husband has an at home business so he’s mostly working all the time outside. As of March 2012, I’ve been an at home mom. I understand that his work is tiring & tedious but I try to assist him in anyway I can & I expect him to do the same.

    We’ve had conversations over & over about him helping me around the house, helping me with the children, being able to watch the children whenever I’m cooking or cleaning, setting a work schedule and talking to me. He’ll make attempts to try to fix it and then he falls back & it’s back to me repeating myself. Also, I’m seeing that he puts his wants & needs before mine. For instance, I spoke to him about me joining Weightwatchers and at that time he told me that he couldn’t afford it but then some days later he’s talking to me about ordering something that cost almost $400.

    He has told me that he’s lazy but I think that he’s only lazy when it comes to something I would like for him to do for me. He has said to me that he tends to be selfish sometimes. I’m familiar with his childhood history and he was taught that men don’t cry, provide for the family, & have your own. We have our ups & downs and love each other very much. Now, I don’t know what else I can say or do? Any advice?

  22. Preetika says:

    (CANADA) I read many of these comments, we all are in same boat, including myself. I been asking this question to myself and to people. I know that if it’s fair to live with person if you two have no intimacy in communication or emotionally disconnected?

  23. Julian from United Kingdom says:

    Hi I am a 40 year old man who is also going through turmoil. My wife of ten years has completely shut down to me emotionally! When our first child was born she suffered with depression but at the time I didn’t realise it. It was only after our second was born that we knew something was wrong. She was prescribed medication but only took them when she remembered. If I mentioned it I was immediately shot down so I trod in egg shells for a long time.

    Finally in 2009 she told me she didn’t love me and asked me to leave. She went to live at a friends house and I took a job working away. At this time her mum was still talking to me and asking me to be patient which of course I was! In June 2010 I received a phone call from her mother telling me she had gotten pregnant from this so called family friend who was now turning nasty. As far as I am aware it was a one night stand. Now of course I was devastated but I said over the phone with my best firm voice that I would be there for her if she needed me.

    My children and wife came to visit me in the July. We finally talked. She said she wanted us to get back together and would have an abortion, to which my reply was no way, I will bring the baby up as my own and we will get through this together. I then had a beautiful daughter born in January 2011. I worked hard and we then decided late 2012 to move up to Scotland to be closer to family.

    Well, it’s now September 2013 and she has again shut herself down emotionally and refuses to talk to me or anyone. She says she doesn’t love me anymore and I should go. I am at the moment fighting with everything I have to save my marriage once again. The emotional turmoil I am going through I would not wish on anyone.

    I work to provide for my three wonderful children and believe I am a good father to them. I sent her a text asking her to give me four months to change her mind asking her to write the two lists, one good one about our marriage and one bad one to give me a chance to put everything right. I told her there was no pressure for a quick answer and that was a week ago.

    Things have improved slightly but I still have no answer from her and I don’t want to ask her for fear of the answer I don’t want. As I write this I’m just about to go to work with constant churning in my gut about what’s going to happen. I love my wife and children with all my heart and soul and will try and continue my efforts but it’s very hard being the only one trying. Although I have received support from both her mum and step father, her mum says keep hanging in there but I do find it very difficult. I do pray regulary that I can find the strength to come through this once again and I hope to be a better person if I can manage to get through the other side.

    To all the people that are going through these hard times I will pray for you as well, and wish you the best of luck with your endeavours, after all I can totally empathize with your situation. All the best, Julian

  24. In Recovery from United States says:

    This is my wife and I almost word for word. I had stopped talking at one point a long time ago. Now I’m trying to change me, and make things better between us, but we both have a history of dismissing each other. I have worked on this from my end but have not seen any change from her. The problem I’m having is that she expects me to be open but she simply sits there and says nothing with little or no reaction. She told me she is just listening, after I explained to her that if she does not respond it makes it even harder for me to be open.

    She hates it when I ask questions about what she is telling me but that’s exactly how I show concern. I have had to work very hard to not respond or ask questions when she does tell me things, and I’ve made great progress. But she dismisses me when I tell her how I feel when she does not talk.

    Should I keep trying to be open even though she makes no effort to interact? At this point I just want to give up and close off again. It’s all I can do to be open to her when she does not ask questions or even makes a comment. I’ve even tried to engage her at these times but all I receive are simple one word replies.

    I’ve explained all of this to her and she blew me off after she brought up a few of the things I’ve done wrong in the past. On most of our issues I’ve had to change the way I relate to her, and then also change the way I want to be related to. I don’t want her to apologize or admit she was wrong about just listening. I just want things to change for the better, and would love to be met half way.

    I am open to any advice on how to handle this.

  25. Nancy from United States says:

    My husband has undiagnosed ADHD. I never thought about it until a teacher friend asked me if I knew he had it. It sort of explains why I have had 30 very difficult years with him. But I am now at the end of my rope and am close to leaving, which I really don’t want to do.

    There is currently no talking, no touching, watching TV in separate rooms every night, etc. If I try and talk to him it just makes matters worse, so I have shut down. During an argument a week ago I just packed my bags and left, and have just returned home due to some appointments this week (I went out of town to my daughter’s house).

    We are not speaking at all. I just don’t know what to do any more. He can be a very mean-spirited person. We do go to church every week. Does anyone have any thoughts/ideas on how I should proceed?

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