Marriage 101: Silent Treatment Prolongs The Agony



In a marital relationship, there is always this thing we call small but deadly couple’s argument. It includes a list of issues that practically does not have a solution at all. In most cases, these problems only originate because of exaggeration and overthinking. There are times that it is not even a big deal and not entirely worth the fight. However, given the circumstances, some couples often make sure they react in the situation based on their emotional and mental preference. With that, the silent treatment becomes an option.

Silent treatment or stonewalling is when the “listener withdraws from an interaction, refusing to participate or engage, essentially becoming unresponsive,” explains Dr. John Gottman, world-renowned psychological researcher.

It Is Never Helpful

The misconception about silent treatment is that most couples believe that it somehow resolves a marital argument. Yes, there are cases that the behavior gets required to control the tension both sides may have. However, there are inconsistencies. Because the longer it appears present in the situation, the more it becomes a routine. Since the silent treatment does not support communication, then there is a tendency that both couples will not be able to manage a quality conversation. They will only prolong the agony of too much anxiety and stress. Honestly, silent treatment only works in a situation where one of the couples is engaged in a particular issue. One can use it to control the situation and allow air to flow. However, when both are into ignoring each other, then the habit becomes emotionally and mentally damaging. Kipling Williams, PsyD, who has studied ostracism for twenty years, explains, “Excluding and ignoring people, such as giving them the cold shoulder or silent treatment, are used to punish or manipulate, and people may not realise the emotional or physical harm that is being done.


It Does Not Support A Strong Relationship

With all the minor and major problems that married couples have inside their home, we all can agree that silent treatment should never have to be an option. It does not support a healthy relationship because there is no basis for its existence. Well, some may identify its importance in a stressful situation. But it does not guarantee any resolution to the problem because it hinders communication and self-expression. Therefore, silent treatment not only makes things worse, but it also becomes one of the sources of having more complicated miscommunication and misunderstanding. “It’s the most common pattern of conflict in marriage or any committed, established romantic relationship,” says Paul Schrodt, PhD.

It Is Incomparable To One’s Patience

The thing about silent treatment is it gets misidentified as a person’s patience towards an issue. Meaning, when one of the married couples chooses to stay and execute the habit, some people see it as the practice of patience. But the truth is, it is not at all something like that. The silent treatment is a behavior one chooses to do with someone only to hurt his or her significant other’s feelings. It is something that builds up resentment towards the other half. Therefore, it does support not only emotional instability but also promotes mental torture as well.


So in case you have the habit of always giving your spouse or significant other a hard time in communication, you might want to reconsider things. Instead of mastering the art of silent treatment, why not practice better ways of self-expression? Sit together and talk. It will not only resolve small indifferences, but it also creates a much more meaningful marital relationship.