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We released a video a couple of weeks ago about why “NO CONTACT” is the worst thing that you could do for your marriage. “No Contact” is a phenomenon that a ton of people (especially on YouTube) are talking about. It’s getting a lot of attention… but it’s not something you want to do for your marriage.
Watch ‘Why NO CONTACT Does NOT Work’ here: https://marriagehelper.com/why-no-contact-does-not-work-for-marriages-cmm/
The video we released on “No Contact” had a ton of comments asking, “What do I do if my spouse is practicing no contact on me?” And that is a really great question!
At Marriage Helper, we teach SMART Contact™ which is very different from “No Contact.” SMART Contact is a system of positive communication principles. (If you’re new to SMART Contact, and want a brief overview of that system, watch the video below.)
Learn a brief overview of SMART Contact here: https://marriagehelper.com/save-your-marriage-while-separated-dln/
Here’s why SMART Contact works. It’s not a manipulation tactic or a gimmick. It teaches foundational principles of healthy communication for any long lasting relationship. “No Contact” doesn’t work because it’s a way to try and evoke a stimulus-response with your spouse. In “No Contact,” you withhold information or communication. It’s very manipulative and it really doesn’t work.
From that, the question came up, “But what if my spouse is doing that to me?” If this is what you’re wondering, the first question I want to ask you is this: How do you know that’s what your spouse is doing? Are you assuming your spouse is doing “No Contact?” Or, did your spouse tell you they’re doing “No Contact?” I’m going to talk about both of these, but I want to start with assumptions.
What if my spouse is practicing “No Contact” on me?
1. Are You Assuming Your Spouse Is Doing “No Contact”?
Let’s say you assumed this is what your spouse is doing, because they aren’t talking to you. Therefore, they must be doing something like “No Contact” Right? Well, not necessarily. There’s a couple of things wrong with that, and it all stems from what happens within us.
To start, we tend to assume the worst. It’s easy to fill-in-the-blank for another person’s behavior in a negative way. (Especially when we want to know, “Why?”)
I’ve used this example in some other articles and videos, but early on in my marriage, when my husband came home from work, he needed some time to be alone. He needed to decompress, read, whatever it was… But I would start assuming things like, “He doesn’t want to be with me.” Or, “He doesn’t care about me.” Or even, “I’m not important to him. He is selfish.” I would start to have all of these assumptions… which may or may not have been true 99% of the time.
We typically don’t assume the best about our spouse. We typically assume the worst. It would have been much different if I assumed the best. I mean, I could have assumed that my husband was taking time alone to fill himself (and his heart) with complete love for me… So much so that when he came out of our bedroom, he would lavish me with kisses, hugs, and all the attention in the world… Um, that’s not how it works! Our minds don’t work that way. We don’t assume the best. And honestly, real life doesn’t work that way. So, we tend to assume the worst. You know what I mean? That’s what we do.
“We typically don’t assume the best about our spouse. We typically assume the worst.”
When I assumed the worst about my husband, it made everything else worse. When I started by assuming the worst, then when we were actually able to communicate, it went downhill fast… I was already frustrated with him about something I didn’t even know the reality of. The reality was, my husband needed time to decompress after a long day. This time of de-stressing was important! Once he de-stressed, he was more able to listen to me and to pay attention. (But that’s not what I assumed.)
So if you’re making negative assumptions about what your spouse is doing (and why) it doesn’t actually help your relationship. In fact, you’re probably spending more time overanalyzing his or her actions. When you spend so much time thinking about why your spouse is doing something… it can start to drive you a bit crazy. It can stress you out more than anything.
“When you spend so much time thinking about why your spouse is doing something… it can start to drive you a bit crazy. It can stress you out more than anything.”
But, I totally get it. It’s all we think about as humans. We want to know why things happen. But when we don’t know why, it’s difficult for us to step back. It’s difficult for us to say, “Even though I don’t understand what’s going on or why it’s happening, I’m going to accept that it’s happening. I’m going to control the things that I can control.” That’s what we need to do, but that’s hard to do! Especially when it comes to something like our spouse not talking to us. That’s really hard! It sucks when you have to go days, weeks, or months without hearing from the person that you dedicated your life to. It’s worse than a knife in your heart, Right? It’s hard.
But what I’m encouraging you to do is to at least stop making assumptions. If you are grasping at every straw you can, then it’s likely that your anxiety and your stress is actually making the situation worse. Even if it’s just making the situation worse in your mind. It’s raising your anxiety, making you overanalyze things, and causing you to be more paranoid. That’s not going to help in the long-term to fix and restore your relationship.
What I want to encourage you to do is instead to change your thoughts. When you find yourself obsessing, overanalyzing, or watching endless YouTube videos trying to figure out the “why” behind it, I want you to take a deep breath. Take a deep breath, turn everything off and say, “At the end of the day, the truth is, I don’t know what’s going on.”
I want you to get to the point where you can at least accept that your spouse has free will. They have the ability to choose whatever they want to choose. Even if you do all the right things, your spouse may still choose to not talk to you. Even if you are the most wonderful person in the world to talk to. And that has nothing to do with you needing to change anything you’re doing. (That being said, the majority of us do have things we can change to become better people. But when we’re so focused on why our spouse is doing certain things, we’re not focused on ourselves.)
At the end of the day, why your spouse is doing what they’re doing isn’t the key. What’s more important is focusing on what you need to do in order to implement positive changes. You need to create more healthy communication for a stronger relationship going forward.
We can figure out the why later, but you need to start working on what you need to do.
2. What if your spouse told you they’re doing “No Contact?”
Maybe your spouse told you, “I’m doing ‘No Contact’ for 30 days…” If your spouse specifically asked you not to talk to them for 30 days, it’s important to respect this and not talk to them- but hear me out- think SMART Contact! Take this time when you aren’t talking to become the best “you” that you can be.
There’s all this other advice out there that says: “No, your spouse needs to hear from you every single day. No matter what. If they don’t hear from you, they’re going to forget about you. You need to be on the forefront of their mind.” But that’s not the honest truth. The honest truth is that’s only going to push them further away.
If your spouse asked you to not contact them for a certain period of time, if you step out against that (and disrespect their wishes) more than likely, it’s going to solidify in their mind all the reasons they want to leave you. Now, I’m not saying this is necessarily realistic. I mean, if your spouse says, “Never talk to me again.” It’s not realistic to abide by that, but if your spouse says, “For 30 days, I just want us to not talk.” While it’s not ideal for your relationship, you can’t change the fact that that’s what your spouse wants.
So, what you can do instead of fighting about it? What can you do instead of reaching out and talking to them when they don’t want to? Here’s what you can do: take that time to become the best “you” that you can be. In the end, that’s the only thing you can focus on and do anyway. (In either of these situations!)
You might be wondering, “Well, how do I become the best that I can be?” At Marriage Helper, we have two main principles you can focus on. The first is to work on yourself. We call it the “PIES.” The “PIES” is becoming the best that you can be physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. These are actually the four areas of attraction. When we look at the path people take to fall in love, we call it the “Love Path.” The “Love Path” path starts with attraction.
The “Love Path” doesn’t necessarily have a beginning and end, but it’s more of a circle. It’s a circle that continues to happen. Attraction never stops being important in your relationship. And, it never stops being important for you as an individual. For example, when I don’t feel good about myself, it changes how I interact with people… with my kids, my husband, my friends… it changes everything. And, I don’t have my self confidence, sense of identity, or self-esteem. If I don’t feel good about myself, then I don’t feel good about what I’m doing, the way I’m acting, or anything like that.
“Attraction never stops being important in your relationship. And it never stops being important for you as an individual.”
And so we want to help you become the best that you can be in all those areas of the “PIES.” In fact, I have a podcast called “It Starts With Attraction” that goes in-depth on all these areas. I talk about how you can be the best you can be in all sorts of different ways. And, at the end of each episode, we have a key “PIES takeaway.” Now this is not the type of thing where I’ll guarantee you’ll have washboard abs or things like that because those things don’t fulfill us. They don’t fill the hole in our hearts, it doesn’t give us the sense of purpose that we know that we need. So please go listen and subscribe! I believe that you will find amazing insight from that!
Listen to the Podcast “It Starts With Attraction” here: https://piesuniversity.com/piescast/
So, what can you do? First, work on your pies. Second, practice SMART Contact. Even if your spouse isn’t communicating with you right now, that is their choice. You can’t control what they do, but you can control what you do right now. So, work on your “PIES” and learn the best way to have SMART, healthy communication for a long-lasting relationship.
And, don’t wait to start working on these things. Don’t wait until your spouse is finally ready to talk to then start learning how to do these these things. Now, I’m not going to say it’ll be too late. I don’t think it’s ever too late, but doing these things now will give you the upper hand. You will be so much further in this process. Like the saying goes, “a stitch in time saves nine.”
If you start learning and implementing these tools NOW, then by the time your spouse is ready to start talking, you’ll know how to respond! You’ll respond to them in a way that doesn’t push them away. You won’t let your anger overtake you. You won’t say things you regret and end up making things worse. You’ll be prepared. And that is what we want for you!
Even if your spouse is practicing “No Contact.” Even if they don’t want to talk to you because of unhealthy communication in the past, working on your “PIES” and “SMART Contact” are the BEST things you can do. Right now. For your relationship.
Here’s the truth: whether your spouse is practicing “No Contact” or not, what you do doesn’t need to change. Work on your PIES. Practice SMART Contact. Start working on yourself before your spouse wants to talk to you again, so you’ll be better prepared. We want you to have self-confidence and feel good about yourself!
Other Than PIES and SMART Contact, What Else Can I Do?
And so many times people say, “But what else can I do? I’m doing those things. And there is no change.” Those are the things you do. We have other courses at Marriage Helper that give you more tools in your tool box, but this isn’t an overnight fix. It’s not a magic pill. I’m not going to guarantee you things that end up not working. I’m not trying to get your money. I want to help you change your behavior. That is what is going to make a difference.
Here at Marriage Helper, we will never lie to you. We will never sell you gimmicks, and we will never alter the truth just in order for you to become a customer, because that’s despicable. We care about you, your relationship, and your future. And, I care about you changing the way that you interact in your life. I care about you finding your sense of purpose and identity and about you working on your “PIES” to become the best version of “you” that you can be. I care about you making a difference.
“We care about you, your relationship and your future.”
So, what can you do next? You can find out more about what we do. You can find our SMART Contact Toolkit which goes in-depth on SMART Contact. But if you’re saying, “I still don’t know about this, I don’t understand it.” Then dip your toe in the water by getting our free mini course on how to get your spouse to talk to you. It’s an overview of the smart contact process and what we teach in that. (And, it’s FREE!)
And, no matter what happens, we hope your marriage is saved. But even if it isn’t saved, we want you to learn what you need to do to have a better, brighter future- no matter what!
If you want to learn a new strategy for communication with your spouse, check out the SMART Contact Toolkit here!