Q&A: He Won’t Open Up

Q: “I long for meaningful conversation with my husband, but it seems he is incapable of talking in a reflective way about himself. How can I get him to open up?”

Gary Chapman: There are people that I call dead seas. These people receive information, but it goes no where—much like the Dead Sea receives water from the Jordan River, but has no outflow. They receive information, emotions, experiences, yet have no compulsion to talk. It sounds like this may be the type of person you are married to. The best way to get a dead sea to talk more is to ask  specific questions.  It’s important not to condemn the answers regardless of your possible inclination to do so. Simply receive his answer by saying something like, “That’s interesting. Tell me more about that.” If  you ask specific questions and you make it safe for him to share, chances are he will learn to talk.