Why Marriages Fail: Withdrawal and Avoidance (Part 4)

This occurs when one spouse tries to bring up issues or discuss things and the other person just doesn’t engage. They either refuse to talk, leave the room, change the subject or ignore. This is known as withdrawal. 

Avoidance is just not engaging with the one bringing up a subject. One person is usually the pursuer and one is typically the withdrawer. The withdrawer prevents the conversation from happening in the first place. They say things like that’s not a problem, there’s no reason to discuss it, this doesn’t involve me, etc. 

For example, maybe the husband wants to discuss creating and following a budget. The wife refuses by saying things like “I don’t think that’s necessary”, or “I’m not a child. I don’t need a budget.” Normally that causes the the pursuer to become angry and even pushier.

The person in the role of pursuer needs to learn to back off a little and be less demanding. Ask your spouse for a time when we could discuss the issue.

Withdrawers have to learn to communicate about issues when they arise. It is helpful if the withdrawers can learn to take a more active roll instead of merely reacting to the pursuer.

This can become a repetitive cycle. It is good to recognize the cycle and address it.

To have a healthy marriage this pattern of negative interpretation must be eliminated. Often that’s easier said than done.

If you’re struggling with this, consider attending one of our Christian Marriage Retreats so we can help you see your relationship in a new light and provide actionable strategies.