Opening Communication and Discussing Issues in Marriage

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dear Dr. Gunzburg

My husband and I were married on 5/8/10, we fight all the time. I try to talk to him about it and how I am feeling or how something he has done has made me feel and he just shuts down. We were both married before and we may both have trust issues, but he doesn't tell me anything and hides things from me. How do I get him to open up to me and stop shutting down when I try to talk to him?

-Trying to Communicate in Ohio

Dear Trying to Communicate,

A situation with hidden feelings and avoiding issues is a recipe for marital disaster, and it is a sad situation that this has happened so soon after your marriage.

There are any number of approaches to try to change this situation. The success of changing a situation like this is going to depend on how obstinate and distant your husband is and how much time you and your husband are willing to sit with each other to provide time to communicate.

Spending time together without TV and without getting high or drunk and without distractions from children or friends or phone calls is important to enhancing communication. You could have a cup of tea or coffee, and you can even play some table games that don't take too much concentration. Allow the conversation to develop. Since he is the reluctant one, learn to get comfortable with silences and find out if he will fill the silence.

You have to be ready for the idea that it may be impossible to get him to be open with you. Sometimes a therapist can help change this situation where your own efforts have not worked.

My best wishes go out to you in your struggle to save your marriage,

If you want to work with me, I offer marriage counseling or marriage retreats in Maryland, to couples from all over the world. I am intentionally out-of-network for all insurance plans. My fees are based on $260 per hour, with a 45 minute session costing $195. I also have self-help programs available.

Tags: fighting, marital problems