Many couples have felt the great marital divide. The divide that cannot be physically seen, but can be felt by both husband and wife. The gap can feel as big as the Grand Canyon. The space that exists between the couple. The canyon that now has taken over where the intimacy and connection used to be. It feels empty, lonely, and like no one really “gets” you. If left alone the gap will only continue to get bigger and eventually consumes the marriage.
What so many couples do not understand about having such a large space or gap in between husband and wife is that the space is created more by what is not said than by what is said. So many people think that it is created by saying hurtful things to one another. Although this can add to the divide many times it is not how the divide started. I see that the divide, the distance created in these marriages is started by what is not said. We start to pull apart as a couple and not feel like we can be ourselves when the communication starts to break down. When we do not say all that we want to say to each other.
One issue with communication breakdown that can be a leading cause of this divide is when someone in the couple stops saying what they are thinking and feeling, because they assume how their spouse may or may not react. It starts when a wife is worried that her husband will always try to “fix” any frustration that she brings up. So instead of communicating that, she just stops talking. She holds it in. She starts to fail to be herself in the marriage.
It can also happen as a husband feels like every time he talks to his wife he is “wrong.” She may roll her eyes or change the subject. He feels shame, and like what he has to say is stupid or dumb so he stops communication with her. Eventually it feels like they are leading separate lives. She doesn’t know who he really is, because he hides so much of himself.
This dynamic always starts as one thing not said here, then another there. The issue is this builds up over time. Of course the couple probably doesn’t even notice it when it starts, but after a couple of years it may erupt. The wife starts an emotional affair because she wants someone to understand her, or the husband is in a place where he is completely shut down and can hardly say two words to his wife. This is why it is so important to be real about how you feel in your marriage; having the conversation with your spouse that you feel like you cannot be yourself. Close the gap before it becomes the Grand Canyon. At the end of the day we want to feel loved and to know that it is okay to be us in our relationships.