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  • Writer's pictureGuy Gourley

Why You Don't Talk to Your Wife

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

It is a well-known researched fact that men experience more anxiety in conflict than women, but…show it less non-verbally. This is especially challenging for the wife. She often doesn’t understand why he is reacting in anger and trying to shut her down. However, more times than not, he is trying to manage his anxiety.


Unfortunately, men usually go to “shut down or blow up.” It is further complicated because men take longer to recover after an argument or conflict than their wives. Men usually say their wives are “pounding or hammering” them. They mean that as they engage in the conflict, their anxiety levels become so high that they will try to remain calm by not saying much.


However, this also complicates the situation because their wives often see this as uncaring and insensitive due to their lack of words. Finally, when anxiety has peaked, the man often " barks " to get her to stop. However, this only worsens it, creating a higher intensity level. As the couple starts having these high-intensity arguments, they start to be traumatized, and a portion of their brain, the amygdala, starts to stamp in the emotional trauma.


Over time, each one starts to represent pain to the other one. They don’t see others as partners anymore. They see the other as creating more pain. This is why men will avoid conflict almost at any cost. However, women will often keep trying because their need for emotional connection is often higher. However, even women will begin to shut down and fade from the relationship if they are not heard. So, when people say they are no longer “in love,” it is often because of this cycle.


Answers:

1. John Gottman, a famous marriage researcher, says that if there is a gentle start-up, the argument has an increasingly positive outcome.


2. If a couple can keep conflict between 1-5, they usually will have more success at conflict resolution. However, if they continue to have a conflict between 6-10, they will continually “traumatize” each other until they only associate the other with pain.


3. Negative associations and negative beliefs will continue to sabotage the relationship. You must start doing small things and connecting to make your way back to each other. If you forget what it was like to enjoy your spouse, then it will be difficult to recover the “in love” feeling.


4. Going to gratitude. Gratitude has been shown to affect the neurology of the brain positively. Sometimes even “forced gratitude” will work. You don’t always have to be feeling grateful to do gratitude.


5. Allow both partners to have a voice. If you don’t have a voice, learn to be confident and assertive. If one partner doesn’t have a voice sooner than later, there will be resentment and a distancing of the heart.


6. Handle conflict promptly. It is not always feasible to “not let the sun go down on your anger.” If fact, sometimes, the sun needs to go down, and you need to rest and seek the Lord in the morning.


7. Make and accept repair attempts. John Gottman covers this in his seven principles for making marriage work.


8. Work on self-care. Work on your heart. Don’t spend all your time blaming and self-protection. Self-care allows you to seek the Lord, allow Him to minister to your heart, and take an inward look at what responsibility you need to take.


9. Use your friendships. Get support and allow them to speak into your life where you may miss something.


10. Learn to rest in the Lord. In the middle of the hurt, when you feel like you can’t go another step, allow time to remember that somehow, some way, He is still in control/sovereign. There will be dark days, but there will also be days of light. Persevere through the darkness with the hope that light is coming. Go to Him with your hurt. Don’t keep running on self-effort. It only makes it worse. There is a peace that He can give you even during deep pain and feelings of little hope. He is near to the broken-hearted. He is near to you, even when you don’t feel it.




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