MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT ANYMORE
By Lorin Harrott
Remember when you and your husband could talk until the wee hours of the morning? Suddenly it would be 2:00 AM, and there was still more to say. Fast forward several years, and you now find yourself frustrated and saying, “My husband and I have nothing to talk about.”
If you and your husband have run out of things to talk about and the silence seems deafening, you’re not alone. Many couples reach a point in their marriage when there no longer seems to be anything interesting to say.
No one wants any of those to apply to their marriage.
So, what do you do if you and your husband seem to have nothing to talk about anymore?
Where Did All The Conversation Go?
At the beginning of a relationship, you’re getting to know one another, so of course, there’s a lot to talk about. Even as those initial years go on, there are:
- A future to plan
- Friends and activities
- Children – to have them or not
It feels like a constant state of discovery.
Then, one day, we stop feeling curious about our partner. It seems like we know all we need to, and there’s nothing left to discuss.
Some refer to this as “comfortable silence.” But when it goes on too long, that silence can become decidedly uncomfortable and lead down a dangerous path.
Many couples experience this complacency. It happens for a variety of reasons.
- We’re tired. Life gets busy, and at the end of the day, just talking can feel like too much effort.
- We’re too wrapped up in managing the day-to-day. After dealing with work, household, and kids, other topics fall off the radar.
- We assume we know our partner. Years together can result in communication short-hand and feeling like we automatically know what our partner thinks and feels.
- Talking = fighting. If talking seems to always equal fighting, then some couples choose not to talk anymore.
- Silence has become a tool. Both men and women are guilty of using silence as a tool. This may be a defense mechanism to avoid being criticized or a passive-aggressive way of expressing anger (i.e., the silent treatment).
Not only is this manipulative, but silence also has a way of becoming the norm over time rather than the exception.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Definitely yes – for many of you.
Why You Need To Start Talking
Silence in a relationship is a sign communication has stopped or at least become dysfunctional.
Poor communication doesn’t have an upside. Without being addressed, it will inevitably lead to:
- Growing apart
- Misunderstandings that lead to increased fighting
- Resentment and anger
- Looking outside the marriage for companionship
Beyond the personal pain that negative silence can cause to each of you, if you have children there’s also damage being done to them.
Children learn from what they see. If the version of marriage they’re shown is one where parents don’t talk or demonstrate strong communication, that’s what they’ll believe is normal. And unfortunately, they may not realize that’s not the case until they’ve made the same mistakes in their own relationships.
How To Begin The Conversation Again
If you feel like you and your husband have nothing to talk about, you’re wrong.
Does that sound too harsh?
If you’re saying, “But I’ve tried everything, my husband and I just have nothing to talk about anymore,” the truth is you’re being short-sighted.
Know, however, this isn’t a one-person problem – it’s something both of you have a hand in. And it’s easy to get to this point.
In fact, the hard part is NOT getting to this point.
This is a common issue that Dr. Kurt addresses with couples during marriage counseling. According to him,
Overcoming having nothing to talk about with your husband takes not just effort, but intentional effort. My wife and I went out to dinner last night, and after ordering I pulled out my list of things I wanted to talk about. While other couples stared at their phones or off into the distance, my wife and I had an engaging conversation going the whole time. We laughed, learned, and enjoyed our relationship with each other. Daily I make a list of things to talk about with my wife. Some of these things are mundane, like updates regarding ongoing to-do items, but others are deeper. And it’s not just about having topics to talk about with your husband or wife, but how we talk about them. Rather than, ‘Did you hear about…?’ To which the answer is typically a yes or no, I instead ask her, ‘What do you think about…?’ which shows interest in hearing her thoughts and turns our ‘talking’ into a conversation.”
The good news is that you can start talking again. There are just a few things to understand and some effort to make.
What to understand:
- You may have been together for a long time, but you’re still individuals with individual thoughts and opinions.
- You’ve both changed over time – your views and opinions have also changed.
- Your lives and the world around you have changed – so have your responses to it.
What do these things mean?
Simple – whatever you think you know about your husband has probably changed too. You don’t know everything about him (honestly, you never really did), so there’s more to talk about.
What else to understand:
- Talking is more than discussing the family schedule, the bills that need to be paid, and your standing Friday dinner with the Joneses’.
- Talking is also more than asking how his day was, how dinner tastes, or whether he likes the neighbor’s new landscaping.
The point is that satisfying, genuine, enriching communication goes beyond the mundane and requires more than one-word answers.
- When communication seems hard, you have to dig deeper and look for ways to draw your husband out. This might be asking about his thoughts regarding work competitors, his favorite sports team, where he’d want to move if money were not an object, etc. Even politics if it’s not too divisive.
Showing genuine interest demonstrates caring and can help get the conversation started.
- Find new, shared interests that can initiate conversation.
This may mean that you both start something new together or begin to participate in the other one’s interests.
- Get a little crazy together. No – nothing dangerous or illegal, just something fun and out of the ordinary.
Ride a mechanical bull, see a local band, take a hike, or take a midnight swim together. Anything that raises dopamine and releases endorphins can help break down the barriers keeping you from “talking” and remind you of your connection to each other.
Nothing To Talk About May Mean You Need To Look In The Mirror
When you feel like you and your husband have nothing to talk about, there’s more going on than a lack of interesting topics. This may have to do with issues within your relationship, or it may have to do with you.
We all occasionally fall into a rut, doing the same thing day in and day out.
- Dress the same
- Keep the same routine
- Think about the same things
In other words, we become boring.
So, if you and your husband have nothing to talk about, look internally as well.
- What am I interested in?
- What could I share?
- What new things have I learned?
- Am I fun? Do I know how to have fun?
- Do I know what my husband thinks is fun?
The answers to these questions can help you break out of your rut and develop a new approach to – well – everything.
Interesting conversations require:
- Interesting thoughts
- The effort to express them
- Challenging questions that help initiate conversation (“What do you think about…?, What’s your opinion on…?”)
- Being interested in the views of others
What To Take Away
The sounds of silence have a time and a place. But they shouldn’t become the soundtrack to your marriage.
When you say, “My husband and I have nothing to talk about,” you’re actually saying, “My marriage is in trouble, and I don’t know how to fix it.”
You can fix it, though. You had things to talk about once. You can again.
Remember the following things:
- You both have thoughts and opinions that are worthy of expressing and discussing.
- If you don’t find a way to start talking again, things will go downhill and could lead to more significant problems.
- Your communication practices teach your children what communication is supposed to look like – make sure it’s the right lesson.
- Finding something to talk about can require effort and may mean trying new things together to break down barriers.
- Neither of you is fully to blame. Both of you need to do a “rut” check and see how you can each contribute to new, engaging, and effective communication within your marriage.
If you’ve done all these things and tried all there is to try and still feel you and your husband have nothing to talk about, it might be time for some help.