“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”
– Plato

Do you want to be known as a woman of many words or a woman of much wisdom? Women and words go together. We love chat time with our friends and families. We are more focused on relationships and helping in relationships. Sometimes we do not know when or how to be still or silent. However, breakthroughs and intimacy can happen in the silence.

Research by Louann Brizendine, at the University of California showed women said 13,000 more words than men do a day. But some of us wrestle in the silence and are compelled to fill it with words when talking with our significant others and children. When wives complain to me about their husbands passivity and lack of openness to share, I follow-up with the question – do you listen really listen? I am asking myself the same question ladies.

There was this time in my marriage when I intended to share some things with my husband. I was mentally rehearsed and ready to go. So I prompted, when I did he began to open his mouth and all these words came tumbling out. I just listened. I learned so much about my husbands feelings in our relationship and how he sees things. I won’t lie, some of it was hard to hear and I could easily focus on the criticism or I’m not good enough message. Choosing to remain silent and listening opened my eyes and motivated change in our relationship for the good. My marriage experienced a breakthrough in the silence.

Here are 5 things that silence accomplishes in relationships.

  1. Silence gives the other person time to process their thoughts. Have you ever noticed when you are sharing something you are going through with someone else, you have the most insight into your situation? Allowing your husband or child to speak, without interruption helps them process thoughts and might even help with finding a solution or making the best decision.
  2. Silence supports active listening and understanding. Not speaking, interrupting, defending and allowing another person to speak communicates you are truly listening and people usually feel validated and understood when we are intentional in our listening.
  3. Silence makes us seem less judgmental or a “know-it-all. Sometimes we interrupt and interject in the middle of our spouse or child’s story about how they responded to something. It can come across as we know everything or we judge their response as bad or incompetent. They react defensively and can turn into a conflict quickly.
  4. Silence separates your emotions from their emotions. This one is especially important when someone is experiencing grief and loss. We can be a part of them expressing emotions, without interference of telling them how they must feel, how things will pass or get better (we do because of our discomfort), or about the purpose in it. These things are not helpful, you ask anyone in the midst of loss or grief.
  5. Silence stirs wisdom and seeks truth. Impulsive speaking can cause a more foolish or selfish reaction. Everything we hear goes through a selfish filter that needs to be processed before we actually speak our words or respond. When we detach me, myself, and I from the situation we can see with so much clarity and conviction.

Do not fear the silence, instead embrace it and look for opportunities to learn and grow in the silence. Make a choice to be a woman full of wisdom and understanding in relationships and not one that speaks many words.