QUESTION: I’m confused. My husband and I are separated. He keeps telling me that he wants to have normal conversations. He talks about nothing. He doesn’t want a heart to heart conversation so we can solve our problems. I just want to know am I wasting my time trying to make this marriage work? He can’t seem to tell me if I am or not. I’m tired of not knowing.
When people are in a situation such as you describe for your husband, they usually don’t make sense to anyone else because of the confusion they feel within themselves.
You make your own choices, of course, but may I offer a few suggestions?
Why Does He Avoid Heart to Heart?
Because he is likely confused emotionally, he will try to avoid all heart-to-heart talks. He’s afraid of saying one thing and then in a few hours feeling something different. He’s also likely afraid of hearing your pain because he isn’t coping well with his own.
However, the fact that he wants to talk in what you refer to as “normal conversations” is a very good thing. If he can talk to you as a “safe place,” a person who listens and doesn’t confront, he will process many things that he needs to consider to resolve your marriage problem.
A Difference Between Men and Women
Men tend to think out loud. Likely you’ve noticed in your time together that he occasionally started a conversation with one point of view but ended with a different one. Men tend to do that. Therefore, I remind all wives that if your husband is talking to you, don’t take issues with what he first says, no matter how you feel about it. Listen. Ask questions (not the kind that feel like a trap, but the kind that demonstrate you are really trying to understand). Listen more.
It’s common for the man literally to talk himself into a different view than the one with which he started. He won’t do that if he feels he has to prove his point or defend himself. He may well do it if he feels safe to say whatever he thinks or feels.
I certainly understand your not liking not knowing. Based on my experience over decades with thousands, I do NOT believe you are wasting your time. There are any number of wives who would love for their husbands to talk with them, even if the conversations seemed unimportant. It is only when your husband feels safe talking about the “nothings” that he will gradually evolve into talking about the things that matter. Listen to him now without pushing him for more, and you very likely will see that he’ll move ever so slowly into the heart-to-heart that you wish and need to have.
Again, it’s your choice. You can do whatever you wish. However, I see the situation you describe as one that has hope if you can bear with it for a while.
More Information About Intimacy
If you haven’t already, please check out the free articles, eBooks, and podcasts on www.MarriageHelper.com. Especially look for the ones that talk about intimacy and those about being a safe place. If you reach the point with each other where you are willing to consider spending three intensive days with us to repair your marriage, please call us at 615-472-1161.