When Silence Is Golden

Six times when it's best not to say a word

Stop talking. We mean it.

Having a tug-of-war with your partner about where to go on your next date? Whether to relocate for a new job opportunity? How to discipline your kids? Ask anyone with an opinion and they'll tell you the same thing: "You've got to talk it through."

Yes, there are times to talk. But there are times when conversation isn't necessary, and is even hurtful. There can be power and wisdom in not talking—in biding your time, walking away, or simply shutting up and getting on with things.

So try not talking during these times:

1. When one of you isn't ready

Wife: "We need to figure out how we're going to handle childcare for Thursday night."

Husband (while balancing the checkbook): "What?"

Wife: "Sara can't watch the kids, but Amy can. But the boys are never well behaved when Amy watches them. Don't you think we should pass on Amy?"

Husband (eyes still on the checkbook): "Umm, what's this about now? Amy who?"

Wife: "Sarah can't watch the kids."

Husband (making eye contact): "When?"

Wife: "Why don't you ever listen to me?"

He may not be listening because you're talking when he isn't ready. I (Leslie) have learned and relearned the price of this mistake. I can't count the times I've tried to converse with Les when he was in the middle of a task, and I ended up getting my feelings hurt. So take it from me, if you have something on your mind and your partner isn't ready to discuss it, clam up. Let him or her know you want to talk. Say something such as, "I need to talk to you about childcare when you're ready. Will you have some time before dinner?" That's all it takes to make sure your partner's mind is in a receptive place.

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Communication; Conversation; Listening; Marriage; Silence
Today's Christian Woman, Spring, 2005
Posted September 12, 2008

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