How to Handle the Silent Treatment
by Harold and Bette Gillogly
Whether you are the Silence-er or the Silence-ee, when silence is used as a weapon, everybody gets hurt! Norm Wright once said that more marriages today are dying from silence than from violence. He’s right. Silence can be very flammable and feeds the fires of conflict.
Do you use silence to punish your spouse? Whether you are withholding yourself and your words to hurt your mate or you are refusing to talk about what’s bothering you because you think your mate should just know, silence is a deadly weapon. If you are using this deadly weapon, we have two words for you – STOP IT! You think you are hurting your spouse, but we’ve got news for you. You are hurting yourself more. And you know what else? You are hurting your kids even more.
If you are on the receiving end of this weapon, there are some definite, beneficial things you can do about it. You should be honest with your spouse, but not hateful and accusatory. You can say,”I don’t know why you think giving me the silent treatment is the right way to handle this, but I want you to know that it is very hurtful for me. We need to talk this out. And when you’re ready to do that, I’ll be ready to talk with you, even though I am very hurt.” Then go about your day, all the while praying hard that God will move your mate’s heart to do the right thing. After all, God is the ONLY ONE Who can change people from the inside out. Your nagging will NEVER change your mate. So give God time to work. And don’t try to take over His job.
It’s important in heated times like these to remember Ephesians 4:32 – whether you are the hurt-er or the hurt-ee – Be kind and compassionate to one another…. God will give you the power you need to obey this.
The silent treatment is also dealt with in Three Practical Communication Tools article (https://marriages.net/three-practical-communication-tools/) and Communication that Fuels the Fire article (https://marriages.net/communication-that-fuels-the-fire/). Also, watch the free webinar titled Don’t Let Your Mouth Get You Into Trouble (https://marriages.net/dont-let-your-mouth-get-you-in-trouble/) or the one titled What Did You Expect? (https://marriages.net/what-did-you-expect/).