-- Question for John --
My husband and I have now been married just under two years and have come to a major halt in our relationship. My question is how do I get him to open up? For the last year we’ve been constantly arguing over endless differences. Now when I bring up anything, he says,”Sorry, your right” just to get me to shut up. I feel that our problems need to be discussed, but no matter how I word it, he feels blamed, and just won’t talk anymore.
-- Answer from John --
There is nothing inherently wrong that this situation has come up now. It represents a stuck place that is in fact a place that all couples need to break through if they are going to get to their next level of intimacy with each other.
What you need now is some mentoring and new skills to do it.
You can move through this barrier by learning to get beyond defenses and blame and learning to really open up and communicate skillfully. This is an important opportunity for each of you to personally grow and develop new skills that will to take you to the next level of intimacy.
Don’t take this as an insult, I don’t mean it that way. None of us are prepared for success in long term relationships, because, after all, where would you learn the right skills? At school? From our parents? Most of us, sadly, have never been exposed to a good model for skillful relating.
You cannot just ignore this situation or hope it goes away by itself. It never does. It needs to be faced, met and learned from. If you can face this challenge and learn to do something other than to defend, try to escape it, blame the other person, etc., … then you will feel closer and stronger… you will feel the solidity of knowing you can handle anything that may challenge you in the future.
Here’s a clinical research statistic for you to consider. Couples that stay together have just as many problems to resolve as couples who split up (i.e. disagreements, differences, conflicts, etc.). But here is the important thing: Couples who stay together and are happy have learned more skills in how to resolve their issues.
It will take both of you choosing to do things differently and being willing to learn a new way to approach these issues. A way that will put both of you on the same team, instead of putting you in the position of being enemies.
You are not enemies.
The idea that just one of you is at fault is actually holding you in a stuck place, and I hope that you can find a way to move beyond blame altogether.
Responsibility is not about who to blame. Responsibility is the ability to respond. That means being open and staying as resourceful as you can.
The situation you are in right now is one which I have worked with alot with other couples in coaching them. You are in good company. I know that if the two of you set your hearts and minds to it, then together you can find a new path out of this stuckness that will lead you to that quality loving you yearn for.