Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Art of Silence

No doubt you enlightened Husbands reading this will say, what’s this idiot talking about, Silence? Everyone knows that communication is key in a successful marriage, right?

Certainly communication is very important to making a marriage work, yet knowing when and how to be silent can be just as or more important.

I will give you a recent example from TDH’s own experience. My wife of many years has had skin cancer in the past. When we lived in Arizona we loved the lakes and pools and spent an inordinate amount of time in the sun. When we moved to the mountains in Northern Arizona we continued this practice and it proved potentially deadly. My spouse ended up with 3rd stage melanoma requiring immediate surgery. Luckily it was caught in the nick of time.

When she noticed a small lump on the top of her hand recently, she was concerned. After some nagging I got her to go to the Doctor and he set her up with a specialist. As all specialist are I suppose, this one was very busy and the appointment was scheduled for over a month away and that was the soonest she could be seen. We waited it out and during this period I said nothing, I repeat nothing about this very worrying subject.

In spite of my manly instincts to make it better by telling her it would be all right, minimizing the risk or danger, and just generally being a dumbass about it, I DID NOT! It has only taken TDH 25 years to learn this, but it is a lesson well worth learning.


Her appointment with the specialist was Valentines Day afternoon. We went in together, I volunteered as support, but again no talking. When she came out smiling I asked a simple question; did you get good news?

Her answer was yes, we hugged, she and I teared up a little and we left the doctors office. THEN we talked about it, or rather talked about our not talking about it. If that makes any sense to you?

In the past I would have made things much worse by bringing up the subject and dragging out all our fears and misgivings. It was better to wait on the doctor visit and go from there. As it was, it worked out great!

So kind and gentle readers and Husbands, the "Art Of Silence" is simply thinking through the consequences of speaking when your goal is being helpful. For most of us the best thing we can do is LISTEN, understand what our spouse is going through as best we can and keep our comments to a minimum. Knowing when to shutup can be a very useful attribute for a Husband and let’s face it Husbands, most of us don’t know when to shutup when it comes to our wives.

The next time you start to downplay or minimize a concern of your wife’s about upcoming events, think about this; will the questions be answered at some point in the future? Will anything you say now really make it better till she gets her answer? How hard is it for you to just be there for her and be as supportive as you can without saying anything unnecessary?

Husbands; resist the temptation to speak when it’s really not helpful and you are on the way to learning "The Art Of Silence."

The Daily Husband