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.