The Silent Treatment
By Lisa Lakey
I’m not talking to you.
Of course, I didn’t actually say those words out loud because they would have ruined my plan of strategically giving my husband the silent treatment.
We were both exhausted from another pointless argument. Neither side was giving in, getting less angry, or even willing to consider the other’s point of view. Sadly, the equivalent of a child’s post-temper tantrum attitude was all I had left to hold onto.
And I held it (along with my tongue) fiercely.
It’s dumb, I know. But we’ve all done it, right? We think, They’ll “hear” us through our silence, dang it!
I don’t know about you, but this has never actually worked in my favor. When I get tired of the silent treatment one of two things happens:
- The argument is still there waiting for us.
- We ignore the issue altogether, allowing it to fester until it rears its ugly head again. (And y’all, it will.)
So what’s an angry spouse to do? First, let’s all just chill out. The same anger that leads me to silence can also lead me to say things I regret. Walking away, taking a break, getting a cool breath of fresh air is often all that’s needed to de-escalate the tension.
It’s not the same as the silent treatment or ignoring an argument, because our plan is to lead into this next step—coming back together.
When we have both calmed down, we talk about what happened. Like grown-ups. We can respectfully take turns listening and speaking. No, we might not always agree on a solution. But we can at least make a plan to resolve the tension or find a middle ground. And I’m okay with that. Because my relationship with my husband is more valuable than being right.
The silent treatment isn’t about holding my tongue. It’s about holding onto my pride.
The good stuff: For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:20)
Action points: What topics need to be addressed that you have been avoiding because they lead to arguing? Pray together and ask God to show you both where you can find middle ground.
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