Why Prolonged Silence In A Marriage Can Lead To A Separation


Living up to the "Happy Ever After" after the wedding day can be tough for new couples.

Living up to the "Happy Ever After" after the wedding day can be tough for new couples, especially with the high expectations of matrimonial bliss set by friends and relatives.

In fact, this can put a huge strain on a couple’s relationship from the outset, leading to a feeling that "something is wrong," followed by a dark silence in case the romantic spell is well and truly broken.

The reality is, in a marriage many couples find the day-to-day life of being married to their spouse is very different than their ideal, especially after all razzmatazz of the ceremony is over. For many couples these problems start to manifest themselves quite quickly—So why do couples say nothing?

Silence is not golden

I believe there are a number of reasons why couples say nothing, reasons which change over time within the relationship. Without doubt the longer people bury their heads in the sand and avoid communicating effectively with their spouse and seeking help, the greater the danger that the relationship will be doomed.

What is happening when you think "Do I Deserve Better?"

There is no lonelier place than being in a relationship that isn’t working. Loneliness erodes confidence and sense of self-worth so it becomes more and more difficult to believe that you have a voice which has a right to be heard. 

Our beliefs color how we perceive the world, we interpret everything which happens on a daily basis based on what we believe and we make everything fit our story about ourselves and what we deserve. Where one partner is being controlling, makes negative comments about their spouse, is aggressive and unpleasant—the impact is significant. The person on the receiving end finds it more and more difficult to speak out and even more difficult to tackle the problem face on or to leave. 

In these situations the person on the receiving end sees themselves as a powerless victim and becomes less and less resourced. This is one of the main reasons why so many people stay within an unhappy or abusive marriage. 

It takes courage to say enough is enough, I deserve better.

Does speaking out mean Loosing Face?

Talking to others means that you have to admit to yourself and others that things are not working. There is a feeling that, "If I let others know how unhappy I am or how difficult things are they will think less of me."

I know of several young couples whose marriage has broken down very quickly after what looked like a fairy tale wedding who later say that they knew things were going badly wrong long before the wedding but they didn’t know how to tell their intended, their parents, friends and family.  They feel under pressure to continue as they don’t want to hurt or disappoint anyone.   

This is just as true for marriages over time. Admitting there is a problem within the marriage brings with it a sense of failure and so much potential hurt and disappointment for so many others.

Speaking out does not mean losing face, but before you find your voice, you need to understand that admitting there is a problem is the first stage of finding a solution. Until this happens there is no possibility of working things out and creating a positive solution.

When doing nothing feels like the safest option…

When things are too big, when a situation feels overwhelming it can feel safer to do nothing. Staying stuck may be incredibly uncomfortable but it also can feel like the safest option. Doing nothing becomes a way of dealing with the problem. 

Do you recognise these signs?

• Every word brings with it huge amounts of baggage. 

• Seemingly small things trigger a disproportionate response

• It has less to do with what is being said at the time, and more to do with everything which has gone on and been unsaid over time. 

It is a truly toxic situation, which can make silence the safest bet.

The trouble is, if you always do what you have always done you will continue to get what you have always got. That is the reality. Unless individuals within the couple are prepared to give themselves permission to speak out and to find a different way forward things will continue to be difficult and are very likely to deteriorate.

There Is Hope

Communicating effectively is crucial. Working together to understand the needs of one another and being prepared to put the past behind you and work on creating a new, better relationship based on love and mutual respect is entirely possible if both parties are prepared to engage fully in the process.

My advice?

Be wary who else you involve. If the relationship is really struggling the chances are you’ll need some help from a source that you trust. Getting professional help can be really useful.

Gina Gardener is an Inspirational Speaker, Master NLP, Business and Life Coach, and author of Chariots on Fire a remarkable story about how to create a positive advantage.