Les walked through the front door of our home this week, set a copy of the Wall Street Journal on the kitchen counter, and said, “Let’s never give each other the cold shoulder again.”
“Again?” I asked. “When do we ever do that?”
Les held up a section of the paper he’d just read about the damage it does to a married couple when they give each other the silent treatment – that destructive pattern where one spouse gets demanding and the other withdraws to the point of completely clamming up.
Sulking. Pouting. Shutting your spouse out. It’s a lame attempt to punish and it’s more toxic than you might imagine.
Nearly 70% of spouses admit to using the silent treatment to hurt their partner.
The study looked at more than 7,000 couples and found the demand-withdraw pattern to be one of the most damaging types of relationship patterns ever for couples.
Why? Three reasons:
“It becomes a vicious cycle,” says Sean Horan, director of the study at Texas State University. “Soon you’re no longer addressing the issue at hand. You start arguing about arguing.”
Here’s how you can break the pattern:
You’ve heard that “silence is golden,” but when it comes to marriage, it can be a “marriage killer.”
It’s time we all ban the silent treatment from our marriages. The silent treatment is lethal to love.
Reflect and Respond
What tip do you have for others on managing conflict in marriage?
Go ahead, tell us in the comments.
This post originally appeared on lesandleslie.com and was republished with their permission.
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