Friday, 13 April 2012

Does It Work?

The “silent” treatment, does it work?  You know when you choose to ignore your partner; you pretend that they don’t exist.  Obviously the use of such a tactic is meant to bring about change, if not to punish along the way.  It usually means I want my way and I am ready to resume a “normal” relationship when you are willing to come around.

 It is a form of revenge, so you teach your partner a lesson by refusing to talk to them in the car on the way to your in-laws.

 It can be a form of control.  By withholding conversation there is a threat that you may withhold other forms of marital civility.
Sometimes it is a manipulative tool that has proven effective in the past.

In the short-term this tactic may work but in the long-term it may turn the once compliant spouse into someone who is very resentful and angry. 

First of all - get over yourself.  James (4:1-2) tells us we quarrel because we don’t get our own way.  Proverbs (21:29) tells us that for a man it would be better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.  So whether the husband withdraws, stonewalls or just shuts down or the wife chooses to quarrel using the silent treatment the problems never get resolved or addressed.

Most of all you haven’t glorified God and if you are fortunate enough to have children you have provided a horrible model of how to resolve conflict in a God honoring way.

If either you or your spouse is guilty of using this approach to resolve conflict I would suggest you find a time to talk about suspending this practice.  Agree that you will learn more effective conflict resolution techniques.

Find a new outlet for expressing your frustrations, hurt, anger, etc.  Try journaling, go for a walk or workout, or try listening to music.   Prayer can provide a huge relief.  Consider praying together before initiating discussion on a topic that is potentially volatile.  Agree that you will find a solution that will bring glory to God, even if it takes longer than you would like, or you both have to compromise more than you would like.

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