Here’s what a lonely wife can do to help
thaw out her husband distant cold and quiet.
- Stop complaining and plan instead. Rather than complaining to your husband how you never do anything together, take your husband on a date, at your initiative. (Scheduled a babysitter or nanny if need be.)
Caution: Keep your expectations low. Don’t discuss elephants in the room of your marriage when on a date. Talk about sweet superficialities or not at all. Better that than arguing.
- If you want to be with your husband, be with him where he is. If he’s watching TV on the couch in silence, sit with him on the couch and watch whatever he’s watching, in silence. If he’s in the garage tinkering with his hobby, go to the garage and help tinker with his hobby or sit nearby and learn something about him and what he’s doing.
Caution: Give up, at least temporarily, trying to get emotional closeness with him through talk. You have to at least show up in the same space with him for anything else to be possible.
- Take it slow. If there’s something important you need to talk about with your hubby, do two things before you start talking:
- Set a time and place with him to talk about your topic of concern and tell him what your concern is beforehand. Don’t engage him about this topic now. Wait until that time you both agreed on, even if he wants to do it right now and get it over with.
2. When you begin talking to him, start slowly, meaning, softly, not harshly and without blame. Avoid a big hit over his head with your full gunnysack of complaints and emotional needs.
Caution: No ambushes. Start with the less hot issues between you. Remember, in the world of emotion, he is not as competent as you are. Discuss only one topic at a sitting.
- Here’s some insight: If your husband cares about you, he wants all your problems fixed. If you continue to complain, he feels inadequate because it means he has not “fixed” your problems. What he doesn’t understand is that women sometimes just need to talk and whine a bit in the presence of someone they feel safe with. They want to get “it” off their chests, that’s all. However, when she does that, the man often thinks he has let her down; otherwise she would be happy and not so “emotional.”
Again, he may make an attempt to solve the “problem.” If he tries what he thinks is the fix for the problem but his wife is still unhappy or complaining, he may, once again, give up and go cold and quiet, thinking, “It is hopeless. I can’t ever please her.” He needs to be told by you that all you want from him is just to listen. But, that’s hard to learn to do with your husband, especially if you believe he should know this and be able to read your mind about what you need and want from him. Very few men I know are good mind readers.
Caution: Before you begin to share with him your feelings and concerns, be very clear with him that all he needs to do is listen. No fixing or problem solving, even if tries to out of habit. Problem solving only works when you specifically ask him to work with you on that. In addition to that, let him know this does not have to a two-way talk fest. You talk: he listens. Period.
- When you feel angry or contemptuous, misunderstood or lonely, physically touch your husband’s shoulder or arm, but say nothing. If he can receive your gift of gentle touch (not sexual touch, but caring touch) realize that you have made progress toward reducing the distance between the two of you and be grateful for that.If he demands to talk about this physical contact or he is worried that something’s up, reassure him by simply saying, “I miss you and wanted to get a little closer to you.” Then move away and let that be enough for now.
Caution: Do not get sucked into another emotional argument, which will give him an excuse, yet again, to withdraw and throw the process back to square one. The distance between you developed over time. Reducing it and getting closer again also takes time and small steps.Later, some other time, if your negative feelings still must be discussed with him, ask him to arrange with you a time and place in the near future to talk for no more than 10-15 minutes about blank (name the topic).
- Remember, wife; you have superior emotional skills when compared to your husband’s. Similarly, in all likelihood, he has physical skills and strength superior to yours. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to be as careful and gentle with him when in emotional interaction as it is his responsibility to be physically gentle with you
Caution: He can’t take the emotional heat like you can so matter of factually. With that in mind, here’s a final tip: nagging and criticizing your husband will almost always get you the opposite of what you want.
I am available to help apply these problem solving approaches to living with your husband. Call me, Paul W. Anderson, PhD at 843-422-1408. And remember;
Touch first, talk later. Both are necessary, but when used in their proper sequence, you can thaw out a husband distant cold and quiet.