Last week I shared two threats to a man’s marriage and manhood. Those two things (silence an waiting) can prove to be deadly in a marriage, if not addressed, when closeness and intimacy are already lacking.
Yet, there is hope! You just need to put in some work.
Here are two action steps you can take to help move your marriage from cold-and-distant to close-and-intimate the next time conflict raises its ugly head.
1. GET UP AND GO FIND HER
Leave where you are and go to where she is. It’s simple physics. If she’s in the bedroom with the door closed, open the door and walk into the bedroom. If she’s reclining on a chaise lounge in your
backyard, go to the backyard, pull up a chair, and sit next to her.
Because subconsciously your wife is always asking:
- “Will he pursue me—not just when it’s easy—but when it’s hard?”
- “Will he love me even when I act unlovable?”
- “When my hormones are a runaway train?”
- “Am I worth it?”
Going after her says, “Yes, you’re worth it.” Avoiding her says, “No, you’re not.” Not answering her question isn’t an option! You’re always answering it—through your action or inaction.
So get up. And go find her.
2. BREAK THE SILENCE
This is imperative:
You speak first. You be the one to break the silence. It’s not enough to go after her. You be the first one to open your mouth.
Quick qualifier—don’t start with a question:
- “Hey, where’d you go?” is another form of avoidance. You went and found her, but now let’s avoid the issue and sweep it under the rug.
- “Are you upset?” is better but way too soft. Of course she’s upset!
- “Why are you so cold and distant?” is passive-aggressive. You might as well ask, “Why are you acting like such a crazy, unreasonable bitch?”
Don’t ask her anything! Opening with a question is just a cleverly disguised way of saying, “I’m not comfortable leading this marriage. You lead, honey. I’ll follow.”
No! Own the moment! You started strong. You made the first move. You left your comfort zone and went after her. Now finish strong. Find her, get in her space, and say:
“There’s distance between us, and I’m not OK with it.”
That’s gold! Write that down. Then acknowledge and own your part of whatever went south between you two.
But Jeff, what if I don’t know what went south between us?
You may not. That’s the point. Find out! Go after her and say:
“I really enjoyed dinner with you tonight. You know, we were clearing the table and something happened. I’m not sure what exactly, but now there’s distance between us. I should probably know what caused it…I don’t. But I want to know, because no one’s more important to me than you. Nothing’s more important to me than us. So, can you help me? What did I miss down there?”
That’s when she says, “You had me at hello. You had me the moment I looked up and saw you walking toward me like a man on a mission. Like a prince coming for his princess.”
Don’t do what I did! I squandered my marriage and fractured my family because I was passive. When there was distance between us, I played the princess. I waited. I did nothing.
And what my wife heard was, “Yeah, there’s distance between us. Yeah, there’s tension in our home. And you know what? I really don’t care. I’ve got more important things to worry about. More
important things to take care of.”
You know what else she heard?
“I’m not coming after you. You’re not worth fighting for.”
That is not the message you want to send your wife. Ever.
So get up and go find her. That’s the hero move. Break the silence. Fumble through it if you have to. It doesn’t matter! Her respect for you will go through the roof. Your respect for you will go through
Step into the spaces you used to avoid and watch the difference it makes.
Note: If you want to read more from Jeff and learn how to lead your marriage in the best direction rather than remaining passive, check out Better Man, Better Marriage on Amazon.