My husband won't talk to me, our listener states. We can relate to a gap in our own communication. In our relationship, before we made changes, we did not communicate all of our deepest feelings with one another. It was way too personal and vulnerable. It wasn't that we didn't want to talk to one another about the deeper stuff, we just didn't know how.
So, If you haven't had practice at sharing your feelings before, where do you start?
First, prepare to feel awkward and uncomfortable. Just like learning a new job, or a new activity, you are coming in as a beginner. Just like learning a new sport, be open and curious about the skills needed and commit to practicing.Jon and I started by both admitting to one another that we were deficient in sharing feelings. We also agreed to the fact we were both going to suck at first. So, we created a safe place where we were not going to make fun of each other as we tried like children to speak the language of emotion.
If I did it wrong, I knew I wouldn't be ridiculed. I needed to be tolerant with myself not being good at it right away. ~ Jon
We started with feeling words that were more generic, such as I feel happy or I feel frustrated. We started easy.."how did you feel about your non-stick pan?" Leaving behind our aggressive and passive attempts at communicating feelings to one another we grew from expressing feelings in childish ways (slamming doors, sighing), to that of adults where we used words. Wha?
This was also a change from if you really loved me you would know what I am feeling by my lack of eye contact or behavior, to sharing emotions with I Statements. "I feel..
In order to share emotions, you need to honor them from a neutral place, refrain from judgment of them being bad or good. And it helps to use a list of feeling words to practice, letting go the usual cover up of "I feel good, or I'm fine."
It may not be that your husband won't talk to you, it could be that he just doesn't know how and the emotional language is new to him, and perhaps new to you too.
(Theme music: Ethan Anderson, Photo credit: Joshua Sortino)
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"My Husband Won't Talk to Me" Relationship Podcast Gems:
Jon's "special pan" is now trash after a deep frying incident.Jema practiced her feeling words with unsuspecting cashiers. Decide together on a time to check in and start practicing your feelings.Is your husband even aware that you want to know about his emotions? Express the desire to know him more deeply. It takes one person in the relationship to take the chance and be vulnerable.A List of Feeling Words