Understanding A Man's Silence

Jun 30th, 2010 | Author: | Category: Fly Features
Comments (5)

“Blessed quietness … holy quietness … what assurance, in my soul.”

I can still hear my mother and grandmother singing that song back in the day when church services seemed to last ALL DAY. The song—which I’m sure is still being sang somewhere—speaks to the beauty of silence in the midst of chaos, and how it allows you the opportunity to hear God’s voice. It’s really powerful stuff when you sit and think about it.

Unfortunately, the power of that message doesn’t always translate when you’re dealing with a relationship. There are times when silence can be the worst possible option for a man, because it allows his woman the space to interpret what he’s thinking. And trust me, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

You could be sitting there in the middle of an argument silently waiting to hear from God, and she could just be thinking that you don’t care and have given up on the relationship. In that moment, do you really think that you can look at her and say, “Naw baby, I’m just sitting here waiting to hear from God … I’ll talk as soon as I hear from him.” …. I didn’t think so.

So today, we’re going to discuss the best approach for men in situations where silence is a bad move. To assist in this exercise, I’ve decided to share an excerpt from Men’s Health on this very subject. Check it out.


During an Argument

Why you’re quiet: You’re trying not to provoke her, which could cause even more anger and conflict.

What she thinks: “She’ll feel you don’t respect her opinion, which is worse than not caring,” says Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men.

The fix: Say, “I care about this relationship and don’t want to say something stupid I’ll regret. Can we talk about it in half an hour?” By setting a time to revisit the discussion, she’ll know you’re not just trying to escape.


Relaxing After Sex

Why you’re quiet: “For men, talk isn’t as significant as action is,” says Deborah Tannen, Ph.D., author of You Just Don’t Understand.

What she thinks: Your mind is wandering—or you fell asleep. “This is the time she wants to feel close and know that you feel the same,” Tannen says. “Talk is the way she expects you to show it.”

The fix: Rather than offering an offhand platitude, mention something specific you love about her. Better yet, talk about a mind-blowing moment to let her know it was worth remembering.


When She’s Upset About Work

Why you’re quiet:
“Men want to be able to fix things,” says Tannen. “When they don’t know how, they shut down.”

What she thinks:
You’re uninterested in her life and would rather wait until she stops talking about it.

The fix: Don’t offer solutions, says Tannen. She knows you don’t have a quick fix, and she’s not looking for one. “Show that you’re listening,” Tannen says, like expressing shock at her boss’s actions or empathizing with a problem.


When She Asks How She Looks

Why you’re quiet: You’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, so you keep the praise short and generic.

What she thinks: You’re not into her—at all. “When women ask this, men take it literally,” says Dr. Haltzman. “But women are also asking at an emotional level, meaning, ‘What do you think of me?’”

The fix: Quick: What do you like best about her body? Tell her how the clothing shows off that beloved feature. Dr. Haltzman says it’s not necessarily the compliment that matters; speed and sincerity are what she’s looking for.


Meeting Her Friends

Why you’re quiet: You feel shy or awkward, because you don’t know them and wonder what they’ve heard about you.

What she thinks: You’re being inconsiderate and maybe even hostile toward her friends. A 2007 article in the journal Sex Roles found that men who speak up are considered more likable and competent.

The fix: Ahead of time, ask her for a story about her friends that’ll be fun to bring up when you meet them. “You’ll share in the moment,” Dr. Haltzman says, “and you’ll show that the two of you talk about the group in a positive way.

(Source-Men’s Health)


The Fly Conclusion:
To the men; I hope that this article has shed light on the basic idea that movie theaters have been lying to you for years … silence is not golden … especially when you’re involved in a committed relationship.

The floor is now officially open for you to agree, disagree, or to just tell me how your day is going in general. Let’s talk.

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  • Ms. Ashlock

    Love the post…but I have one small thing to disagree about…If a man were honest & said to me he was listening to hear from God & he would talk to me when he had. It would be enough said. I would trust that he wouldnt use God as an excuse to get me to shut up & Id give God the time to make it right. The Lord is much better at that then my yelling or nagging could ever be. I think if more women did that as well arguments would be resolved a lot faster. But allowing God that time to speak in the mist of the argument is a difficult thing to do if you havent learned to listen to him BEFORE you got into the relationship…or if you dont listen to him first before we make some of the decisions we make. You have to start listening somewhere.

  • http://www.flyguychronicles.com The Fly Guy

    @Ms. Ashlock,

    I applaud what you just said, but I would honestly pay money to see you in an argument with a man just to see if you held true to your word. Just the idea of someone sitting in silence as you yelled, and then him turning to you and saying that is funny in itself. And then I’m sure your face would be priceless as well.

    But you’re very right when you said that you should be seeking that spiritual guidance before the argument even happens. Now that doesn’t always save you from having arguments, but it can certainly help you avoid some of them.

  • Ms.WOMA

    I love the post and I love the comments as well (hehe). My father has actually done this (stood silent in the midst of an argument and stated he needs some quiet time with the Lord). He is not a confrontational person. My mother can be. He will walk away in silence and go to his sitting room and pray while Moms is livid. I have observed this over my life and agree with you both. It NEEDS to be the base of the marriage (prayer, a relationship with God and a time of silence). The outcome of an arguement may not always be the same, but it will help.

    I also don’t agree with each of the “What she’s thinking” but in short, communication is key. If you need quiet time say that. Women don’t always want to talk ALL the time… Sometimes (many times) we need our space and quiet time too.

    Well written D.


  • Ms. Ne’

    I will be completely honest!!! When my partner suddenly falls silent in the midst of an argument my mind tells me that he’s no longer listening. He could very well be looking for the right words to say, but in that split second my heart sinks.

  • http://www.herjourneymag.com Miss Journey

    This is so true, and it’s funny how the same situation can be interpreted in two different ways. I could definitely imagine each of these scenarios happening and it resulting in both parties genuinely not understanding why the other is upset or confused.

    Although I’d like to add that silence is sometimes used as a cop out or an opportunity to fabricate something, and I think that it is with that knowledge or having experienced that in prior situations can sometimes lead women to react the way they do. Now I’m condoning irrational behavior over a two second pause in a conversation. Because I do also understand and sometimes sympathize with the guy who is genuinely afraid of saying something wrong because that will undoubtedly make the situation worse as well. One piece of advice that stuck with me: ” Say ‘I care about this relationship and don’t want to say something stupid I’ll regret.’ As long as it honest and genuine that should diffuse a catastrophic situation. Bottom line: communication is key.