Is It Normal To Stop Talking When You've Been Married For A While: I'm Not the Person You Married

In today's society, verbal talk is being phased out. I am not saying that to be overly dramatic. I am saying that because I firmly believe it's true. My grandmother and my mother are about the only people I know who don't have text or email accounts. They pick up the phone when they want to talk to me, but they are the only ones from whom I've never received some sort of electronic communication instead of a phone call. Even our kids will text us instead of call us. Our boss will send us an email rather than calling us into the office. Because of this, the ability to carry on a verbal conversation is on the decline. This is even true in our marriages. I know this because I get an awful lot of correspondence from people who say that they feel that their marriage is in real trouble because they and their spouse don't talk anymore and this lack of verbal communication has become a real void. They worry about what this might mean for their marriage. Here is just one example.

I am paraphrasing, but a wife might say something like: "my husband and I do not ever talk anymore, not really. Last month, my husband told me that he missed the closeness that we used to have and that he would like for us to have date nights a couple of times per month. I agreed to this. But for the most part, it has been disastrous. We sit there and just sort of stare at one another. We make comments about other people in the restaurant or we gossip about celebrities we don't know, which is ridiculous. It is worse small talk than I might engage with someone on a train. It's awful. We didn't always have this problem. The first time we talked on the telephone, we talked for hours. There were no pauses. We couldn't talk enough. Of course, once we got to know one another, the talks that lasted for hours because less and less, but we never had trouble communicating until just recently. Sometimes, my husband will say that all we talk about is the kids and he will declare all talks of kids to be off limits. The problem is that we have nothing else to talk about. We used to talk about our hopes and dreams, but now that I am fully an adult, I don't really have those anymore. I live in reality. I have discussed this with some of my friends and they have told me that I'm worrying too much about this. They told me that after our while, this is what happens in normal marriages. Are they right? Should I worry about this?"

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I can only tell you my opinion. Although I never want to encourage anyone to worry needlessly, I would encourage you to pay close attention to this and to work toward change. Why? Because a reoccurring theme that I see in people who cheat and have affairs is that they will say that they could talk to the other person whom they cheated with. Talking, really talking, is the cornerstone of intimacy. When you lose that in your marriage, you leave an opening for someone else to enter your marriage.

And even if this does not happen, you leave an opening for the happiness level of your marriage to take a sharp decrease. You deserve better and so does your spouse. So do your children -- because you don't want to model a marriage without meaningful conversation. However, with all of this said, I don't want for you to feel that this is your fault or something that you aren't doing correctly. In a sense, your friend is right in her assertion that this has become "normal." But it's not healthy. In a world of written communication and social media, we've lost our skill at verbal communication, even with those that we love the most. You have to be determined to hold onto this skill or to get it back when you have lost it.

And if you have children, this can be compounded. And this too, is not your fault. Part of being a good parent is discussing child rearing with your child's father. It's natural, normal, and good. But before you know it, this can start to be the sole topic of conversation, which isn't optimal in terms of your marriage.

So what can you do? You fight to get the communication and the intimacy back. You set aside time to rebuild. Your husband has told you very directly that he is aware of this void and that he misses you. He's even begun demanding that you set aside time for kid-free communication. I know that this may seem like a reflection on you, but it's really good news because it means that he's willing to focus on fixing this also.

People often get discouraged when getting the communication back seems so hard. They will have a couple of awkward and difficult conversations and they will worry that the spark isn't there and isn't ever coming back. This doesn't have to be true. It takes work to regain any lost skill. This is no different. You have to work at it and you have to keep at it even when it's difficult.

There are books and even board games that give you topics of conversation to have with your spouse. This can seem cheesy, but try it. You basically draw a card and it will give you a prompt in which to have a conversation. For example, it might ask you to discuss a certain childhood memory or name your favorite emotion and discuss it. Basically, it is just stimulating a conversation. It may feel forced at first but when you keep going, you'll often find that the conversation is spontaneous and you're both laughing, which is when you realize that it has all been worth the effort.

But to answer the question, this lack of verbal communication can be "normal" in today's society, but that doesn't mean it's optimal. It can really damage your marriage or leave it vulnerable, which is why I encourage you to address it.

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I think that far too many people think that once you are married, the relationship that you had with your fiance becomes, and they all lived happily ever after. It would be nice if that was what happened but reality is not like that. Real life is not what you see in the movies, it is not what you see in the soaps, it can be hard work, although it does have its rewards. Your marriage is a work in progress and if you want a long and happy marriage then it will continue to be a work in progress.

Your relationship with your partner up to this point was a learning curve. You learnt almost everything to know about your partner, their interests, their likes and dislikes, their habits and of course your compatibility. The real relationship begins on the day that you get married.

Your world changes once you get married. If you were not living together previously then you are spending a lot more time together, you might not be able to go out with your friends as often, you are learning that there is no more I, there is us. Now this does not mean that you are going to have to merge your identities, can you imagine how boring a relationship that would be! You may be two equal halves of the relationship but you still remain separate individual with your own needs and emotions. To achieve a happy marriage you have work in partnership with each other.

The thing about people with different wants is that sooner or later they are going to clash. Whether you like it or not you are going to argue, how your marriage progresses depends upon how you handle conflict. You could try and ignore problems, pretend that they do not exist, the only problem is that does not get rid of them. The longer that you take to solve a problem, the more opportunity it has to poison your relationship. If you want to deal with problems effectively you have to deal with them calmly and rationally, take one at a time, do not play the blame game and look to achieve a compromise where both of you are happy and both of you can say, we dealt with this, together.

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You will not be able to discuss problems if you do not communicate. At the start of your relationship you shared your hopes, dreams and emotions with each other, just because you are married that does not mean that you have to stop doing so. If you do not talk to each other and share each others lives then you will drift apart. If you do not talk to each other then little issues that could have been dealt with easily suddenly spiral out of control and might even wreck what remains of your relationship. If you do not speak to each other then do you not think that is a bit sad?

You went on dates before you got married, I guess that you had a great time, so do not stop. You are never, ever to old to go out on a date. Regardless of what you do, take a vacation, go to movie, go for a walk or just curl up in front of the T.V it is vital that you spend quality time together as it strengthens and reaffirms your bond, and not forgetting that it is fun as well. If you have kids then I am more than sure that Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles etc would be more than happy to spend some extra time with them. Your relationship needs that time to be for you, with no distractions just you two. At the very least you need your time once a month, if you can, make it once a week, more would be good.

Your marriage might be a never ending work in progress but I think that it is worth it. Treat your partner with affection and respect, every day tell them that you love them, accept the flaws in your partner as they have to accept yours, learn to compromise and work for solutions that strengthen your relationship, if you make a mistake or in the heat of the moment hurt their feelings then apologise, no matter what is happening in your lives spend some quality time together and communicate, communicate, communicate. And most importantly of all, have a long and happy life together.

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Marriage counseling isn't necessarily the best thing you can do to improve your marriage. Having an affair is not the very worst you can do to improve your marriage. The good news is that there are lots of ways to improve your marriage. The bad news is that there are some terrible mistakes you can make that can hurt your marriage.

The following is my humble attempt to give you some of the best and worst ways you can improve your marriage.

The Best

Put your spouses' needs and interest ahead of yours - It's easy to subconsciously think that by improving your own situation or happiness it will benefit your spouse and improve your marriage. For example, working long hours and building a successful career can be making you happy but making your spouse miserable. So consider your spouses' needs first and it will help you build a strong marriage and relationship.

Meet your spouse in the middle - In most good marriages it requires both spouses to compromise on many issues. It doesn't mean that every matter is a negotiation but on some fronts you should be able to go with your spouses' ideas, plans etc., and in other matters you should be able to lead.

Carry your spouse's burdens - If you want to improve your marriage tremendously make sure you are there for your spouse. It's one thing to say "I've got your back" but another thing to show it. If your spouse is struggling with work or family issues be supportive in ways that show you care.

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The Worst

Holding things over your spouses' head - If you are struggling in your marriage and looking to improve it you shouldn't try to get changes out of fear. It's OK to be honest and direct with your spouse but threatening to make life a living nightmare or exposing some former indiscretions will probably hurt instead of help your situation.

Trying to make your spouse jealous - This could make your spouse pay a little bit more attention to you but in all likelihood it will make him or her resent you. It can also cause your spouse to come to an irrational conclusion that you are being unfaithful, and provoke your spouse to want to do the same.

Getting even with your spouse - It's difficult to improve your marriage when both spouses feel the need to get even. Although marriage is for adults at times couples seem to revert back to the pre-teen days when it was "whatever you do to me I will do to you". So in the marriage if one couple is mean and spiteful the other spouse starts acting the same. If one spouse has an affair it's a green light to do the same. If you want to improve your marriage you can't have both spouses doing destructive things to harm the relationship.

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If you're wondering 'what is an emotional affair' then you're not alone because it seems like the line has been blurred in a lot of marriages.

My own marriage fell victim to an emotional affair for a brief period and I know it's hard to get through for both the victim and the "cheating" spouse.

But how do you avoid something if you're not really even sure that you're doing something wrong. This marriage advice should help you answer that question...

Marriage Advice to Avoid Getting Tangled Up In an Emotional Affair...

So first of all let's cover what the heck an emotional affair is. Basically an emotional affair is when someone who's married or in a relationship is sharing intimate thoughts and feelings with someone other than their spouse.

Now that could sound like friendship, but if you had that hint of sexual tension where something could easily happen then I think that's when things turn ugly. You see that's where things seem to go haywire because people often get into these situations innocently, thinking that they're just confiding in a friend, but eventually that intimate sharing can lead to romantic feelings and perhaps a sexual relationship.

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So how do you avoid this from happening to you.

Well first of all you have to think about things in sort of the "golden rule" sort of thinking. In other words if it's something that you wouldn't want your spouse doing, or sharing with someone else then you probably shouldn't do it.

How an Emotional Affair Progresses...

Like I mentioned, sometimes things start out very innocently, but then things begin to get a little bit out of control. You may think that you're emotional affair is just a friendship, but eventually you begin lying to your spouse about who you're spending your time with.

Basically you're not telling them that you're spending this time with anyone at all. And really that's the moment right there where you should realize that something is wrong. If it's truly innocent then you should be able to just say that's what you're doing. Yes, your spouse might still get mad, but think about it...when you know you're right you will stand by what you're doing because you know that it's innocent.

It's just in those times when you know that what you're doing is wrong that you truly feel the need to lie. The best marriage advice I can give you about an emotional affair is that you shouldn't do something if it's not something that you would want done to you. Bottom line!

And if you're sharing intimate things with someone else, but not with your spouse then that's totally wrong. You need to learn to make your spouse your best friend, and I and a lot of marriage and relationship experts also believe that to be true.

What if There's Already Been an Emotional Affair and It's On the Brink of Destroying My Marriage...

Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.

You don't have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.

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