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Weekly Marriage Blog

What if he doesn't respond?

By Dr. David Clarke, Ph.D

The Big Idea
What to do when your husband does not come back to you when you asked him to come back to you on a topic.

The Teaching
You're sitting with your husband in a Couple Talk Time.  You say to him, "Honey, Stud, Superman(whatever you call him), the topic I'm about to talk about is important to me and I really need you to get back to me with a response."  He agrees. 

It's been two days and he has not gotten back to you with his response.  Shocker, I know. Once you get past your stunned disbelief(I'm being sarcastic here), what do you do?  In Dave Clarke's communication program, you get one reminder.  One.  He also knows you get one reminder if he fails to give you a response when you ask for one.  You go to him, adult to adult-you are not angry at this point-and you say, "Remember that issue we discussed? I want to hear your response.  This is your one reminder."  And then, you walk away.  

If he does his processing and comes back with a response(and men, it's smart to be quick about the processing after this one reminder; she's not angry but her anger is right around the corner), all is well.  If he does not respond to this reminder, then you go to him one more time and this time you are angry.  You have every right to be because he blew off his one reminder.  You will say something like, "I am angry and frustrated because  you did not get back to me about that topic.  I feel insulted and unimportant.  I'm not looking for a response now; I just need to express my emotions so I can forgive you and move on."  Then, walk away.  

Do not ask him about the topic again.  It's clear he has not intention of talking about it. If a decision has to be made, let him make it.  If he fails to make a decision, make it yourself. 

Husbands, even after you blow your one reminder and she comes back and vents her emotions, you can still salvage the situation.  Humble yourself, go after her, and sincerely apologize for not giving her a response to the important topic.  Say you're sorry 4 or 5 times and let her talk out her feelings some more.  Say you're sorry again.  Then, process the topic real fast-like right away-and tell her you have a response.  You will have to convince her you really want to give the response.  

For practical, proven strategies that will deepen your conversations, get my book:  Honey, We Need to Talk. Go through the book together and practice the exercises.  

If you are in a marital crisis, consider my phone advice service.  You can talk to me for 45 minutes and I will give you a strategy that will empower you and give you the best chance to save your marriage.  My phone advice service is explained on my website.  

Next week, more on communication. 

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