I can’t tell you how many couples don’t talk when things are bad. They just keep silent expecting … I don’t know what. I guess they expect that their spouse will get the hint and change. The problem is that sometimes the issue isn’t the spouse. Sometimes it’s both spouses. Sometimes it’s external. Regardless of what the problem is, you cannot tackle it as a team if you aren’t talking about it. You definitely can’t address it if one spouse doesn’t know what the issue is, or that there is an issue.
We need a new household rule
I think households need to adopt a new rule: if you don’t speak, it means you’re okay with what’s going on. It’s not actually a new rule. I borrowed it from Numbers 30. Yeah, they had stuff in there besides counting sheep and cows. Take a look;
When a young woman still living in her father’s household makes a vow to the Lord or obligates herself by a pledge and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand. But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the Lord will release her because her father has forbidden her. – Numbers 30:3-5
Silence means you not only are okay with it, but you consent to what’s going on.
So, if you are in a sexless marriage and you’re not talking about it, then you are signalling that you are okay with it. If you are having sex once every 3 weeks and you aren’t talking about it it, then your spouse probably thinks it’s fine. If your spouse is watching porn and you don’t say anything, they’re going to think you don’t have a problem with it.
You need to speak up when you aren’t happy
It’s not always easy, in fact, it rarely is. And the first time you exercise your voice will be the hardest. But, if you get practiced at it, it becomes easier to share what you are feeling, and it gets easier for your spouse to hear what you are saying. You can get to a point where you realize that communication, even about conflict, is good and productive. It doesn’t mean you’re blaming them, it just means you have a struggle to tackle as a team.
I speak with too many spouses who have just given up, thinking that the momentary conflict that will result from talking about the issue is worse than the decades of feeling unloved or unappreciated or disconnected or whatever. It’s not. Work through the conflict. Growth is uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. I have too many success stories in my inbox to believe otherwise. If thing aren’t okay in your marriage, speak up about it. Whether it’s about sex, finances, religion, parenting, work or anything else. Just start talking. If they don’t want to talk, bring in a third party. But don’t let your silence be mistaken for contentment, let alone consent.
8 thoughts on “Silence means everything is okay”
In law that is called tacit approval or tacit consent.
When it comes to our sex life, we have come to an impasse…we just agree to disagree.So talking about it has not been fruitful…I have been learning to be content in this area of my marriage.
Or….your spouse has drawn a line in the sand and won’t budge and it is no use beating dead horses.
It’s actually called: “tacit consent” that means consent that is given through lack of objection. In legal terms it’s used if you apply to a state for a licence for certain things they have to respond within a certain timeframe or you get the license automatically via “tacit consent.” The principle also works in parenting what I don’t object to my children think I’m okay with. Great point! Open rebuke is better than love which is hidden.
My wife and I did not talk about sex for 25 years. We each thought the other did not want to engage sexually when we both did. For some reason I was so fearful to talk to my wife about sex. I guess I thought the situation could get worse. We had not had sex for decades, so I don’t know how it could get any worse, but that was my thinking at the time. So, one day I found this site, and was encouraged to tell my wife that I missed having sex with her. It was like a dam broke. My wife wanted sex too, but thought I did not. Now we engage sexually almost every day, and we can talk about anything, especially sex.
Thank you Jay Dee. I can’t thank you enough for your help in this area of our lives.
My husband had an affair, and I KNOW we would have avoided this betrayal and heartbreak if we’d both gotten uncomfortable and communicated our needs better. There were things we were both unhappy with in the marriage, but we never had the courage to speak up. It almost ruined us. With God, we’re working through it and already stronger than ever because we know now what silence can do to a marriage.
What are some tips on starting this conversation? I know my husband will feel attacked, so I need ways to communicate with him that he isn’t even coming close to meeting my needs.
I think you should start with that. Something like. “I want to have a conversation about our sex life, but I’m afraid you’ll feel attacked, and I don’t want you to think I’m attacking you. I want us to work together to have a more productive marriage.”
Of course, use your own words. The point is to frame it as improvement, not fixing something that’s broken.