My wife’s silent treatment is killing me

Distressed man

Take time and consider the things your wife likes to do when she goes out.

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Hello Pastor

My wife and I have been married for over twenty years. We have raised children who are now teenagers.

As I write to you today, my heart is troubled because of my wife’s behaviour over the past few months. She has become indifferent and cold towards me. The sad thing is she seems quite lively and happy while interacting with other people. I think she enjoys being away from me, and it is quite heartbreaking.

My efforts to establish what the problem is have been thwarted. In fact, we have been having a cold war in the house that has dragged done for nearly one year now. I've tried engaging our people from both sides but she isn't cooperating.

Second, I am concerned about some romantic chats I found on her phone involving another man. They exchanged quiet unprintable erotic expressions which I'd never heard even for myself. She denied being into anything fishy and claimed that the man had sent her messages on Facebook and she had already closed her account. We didn’t talk about the issue further because she was not ready to open up.

Third, there is a female friend of hers whose company is now getting out of hand. My wife has been going for sleepovers at her place quite frequently claiming to have early morning errands with her. This friend is married but I doubt if she lives with her husband. The sleepovers are one-sided as this friend has never spent a night in our home.

Pastor, my wife barely talks to me nowadays. She communicates with our children and ignores me completely. Please advise me on what to do as the current situation has taken a toll on me.

Hi

What you are currently facing does not help a marriage move forward towards the intended growth. The future therefore will depend on her willingness to cooperate so that both of you can walk the path of restoration together.

 There are several issues you may need to consider that will help revive the relationship. First, the need to rediscover what used to make your marriage work.

There is something about a couple rediscovering their first love. There are basic things a couple do together then with time, they begin taking those things for granted. Going for walks, dates, common hobbies—once you stop doing such things, the relationship quickly becomes dry.

 Sometimes spouses stay indoors until everything becomes so boring.

That said, I am not excusing her behaviour. My suggestion is for you to revisit some of the activities that you used to do and plan to go back to such places with her to rekindle good memories. Remember, love needs feeding and nourishment for it to last long. Otherwise, love that is not nurtured and stoked grows cold. Take time and consider the things your wife likes to do when she goes out. Could they be things she has missed?

It is her hunger for dinner away from the house or an adventure with someone that takes her into spaces where she meets with the wrong people? However, if you have made these opportunities available, then things would have been different. Many spouses have fallen away because of this.

Second, her promiscuous behaviour needs to be confronted. It is clear from the text messages that she has crossed the line of keeping faithfulness. The problem here is when she refuses to acknowledge her wrong. Keeping quiet and giving you the cold treatment does not resolve anything. This makes me wonder whether the two of you have embraced a healthy way of resolving issues. Conflict management is key to a thriving relationship.

 For the two of you to move forward together, I would suggest the following: For a start, she has to acknowledge that flirting with another man or woman is wrong. When she does this, it crosses the boundary of your marital faithfulness. In addition, she must be ready to talk about it and seek reconciliation. Confession is good medicine if the two of you desire to rebuild your intimacy.

However, this journey requires the two of you to establish a communication environment that is conducive to resolving conflict. Finally, she must be willing to disconnect from people or activities that lead her to promiscuous behaviour. However, you cannot force her to do this. She must voluntarily agree to the above and see the need for change.

Third, you must examine the way you relate to her with a view to discovering what she may have considered as offensive or repelling. There are small things we do, habits we acquire, and activities we start that with time become a total turn-off for our spouses.

Discovering this may require a bit of probing because some of the mannerisms we acquire are not that overt. Sometimes staying home all the time and eating your wife’s food without inviting yourselves to a bit of adventure can kill a couple’s love life. In addition, getting consumed in work/career can shut your partner out. These and many others are little foxes you could evaluate their impact on your relationship.

Your wife’s friendship with this other lady is not helping her. It is also clear that the people or tactics you have involved in resolving the issues have not helped. I suggest that you evaluate yourself and your approaches based on what we have assessed above.

Secondly, with prayer and humility, approach your wife and politely share what worked well in your marriage and your determination to make the marriage thrive once again. In all this, she must be willing to commit to the path of reconciliation and restoration. This cannot be forced on her.

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