Couples: Open Up by Being Silent


Men and women have different ways of communicating. Yes, we share words to communicate and we can also use silence.

Consider using time together in silence to be more connected. Notice if there is any discomfort in the lack of talking. With discomfort comes a desire to fill in the space or be distracted. You can use working with silence to have a different kind of Marriage Meeting.

This is different in that you will not be checking in as much as attuning to one another. And attunement is not about words but about our energy and our bodies. So, find a good time where you will be undisturbed or distracted. Turn off all devices and be away from kids or projects. You will need to sit close, hold hands and… that means gazing into each other’s eyes and not speaking. If this is difficult then set a timer for two minutes.

After that time, close your eyes and go inside. Notice what thoughts or feelings are there. Take your time doing this and when you are ready each person shares what they noticed, felt or became aware of. Go slow with this part and try not to judge what you are hearing or saying. Just get it out.

After both parties have talked now discuss if you felt closer or more anxious by not talking. Could it be that you use words as a kind of barrier to being vulnerable? Being in our heads is a safe place and we can bypass our feelings by being overly intellectual. Notice when you leave the words out what you feel? Make that your next topic and talk about that. Take your time and be honest.

Did you feel sadness at a distance that exists? Did you feel resentment about lacking time to connect or be listened to? Was it hard to stay present?

Also share with your partner what you think they are feeling after the exercise. This can be a great way to see how well attuned you are to them. When we are silent and not using words, it can heighten our ability to tune into the other person’s feelings. We do this by noticing their breathing, their skin tone, blink rate and other bits of information. 

Also talk to each other to see if this exercise created more closeness and connection. The experience can mirror the time we had as a baby being looked at with love by our mothers. Or it can bring up a sense of sadness and loss for perhaps not having had that experience. Explore more of the feelings as it is an opportunity to become closer through sharing deep, buried losses with a trusted other.

Taking the time to “be” with one another is a way to deepen your connection and can open doors to communication that expands out to deeper realms. When we bond and create an attachment to another person we are going to be bringing our baggage with it. The baggage is the unmet needs from our own childhood. They are at the core of the conflicts and pain we suffer in relationships.

Having experiences where we tune into our “feeling bodies” and notice our own condition: Fatigue, stress, love, irritation are avenues to knowing ourselves more deeply. And by knowing and attuning to our partner’s emotions we become more richly bonded as well. So, take the time to do this exercise weekly and notice how it can create more closeness.

To read more about Couples Counseling click here.