For some of us, sitting in silence with another person feels, well, kind of awkward. We’ll say anything to fill the quiet, to keep the conversation going, to cut the tension. But the truth is, moments of silence with significant others aren’t a problem; in fact, they can be very good. Silence gets a bad rap for being boring; in fact, in a relationship—especially a long-term relationship like a marriage or domestic partnership—it should be the most comfortable thing in the world.
Sure, in the early days of dating it’s normal to want to keep the conversation going. It's natural to be nervous about a lull in the banter when you're first learning about each other and discovering what you have in common. But in a long-term relationship, in a partnership, and in a marriage, silence should feel natural. Instead of being scared of running out of things to say, it's important to embrace the quieter moments.
That doesn't mean sitting in silence together all the time—that would be a sign that something's probably off. But sharing moments of silence with your significant other is an important part of a healthy relationship. Here’s why you should embrace those quiet moments with your significant other.
It Shows a Level of Ease With Each Other
Are you a nervous talker? At a party, when meeting someone new, or at a job interview, do you find yourself talking too much? Think about the contrast of those experiences against when you're with your partner—you're likely more at ease, which can result in less talking. It doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to talk about; it just means that you feel comfortable enough to enjoy those moments of silence together. For some people, that might come easily, but for those who chat too much when feeling nervous, sitting in silence together—while you're both reading, snuggling up watching a movie or show, or even just laying together—indicates that you're comfortable simply being yourselves.
You Can Relax
Along with being a sign of how comfortable you are as a pair, sharing quiet time together means you both can actually relax together and enjoy some of life's more leisurely pursuits. And whether it’s watching TV or just having a lazy Sunday morning, you are going to want to be able to unwind with your partner. Once you get used to spending low-key quality time together that doesn't have to be filled to the brim with the conversation, sharing moments of silence with your significant other can become a restful, nourishing part of your relationship.
The Silent Treatment Is Something Totally Different
We've all heard of the silent treatment, which is often associated with having a fight in a relationship. But the truth is, silence should never be used as a form of punishment. Fights and disagreements require communication—it's important for couples to be able to talk through them, rather than shutting down to prove a point. Moments of silence shared with significant others shouldn't come from a place of tension; it's more about spending quality time together and simply appreciating each other's presence. Moving past the silent treatment will do wonders for your relationship.
When disagreements surface, communication is key; never let an argument turn into a stalemate. If you feel stuck or frustrated, use the quiet time to write down your thoughts before sharing them with each other.
Having Space for Silence Is Important
For some partners, sharing moments of silence with significant others isn’t just a nice side effect of being at ease—it’s a must. Introverts not only need time alone to recharge; they also need stillness. So if you’re an introvert yourself or are an extrovert who spends a lot of time with an introverted partner, it’s important that as a couple you respect and embrace your partner's need for quiet time, which may include comfortably sitting in silence together or laying together in silence. For some loved ones, it really is a necessity.
It’s also important to be realistic. If this is your significant other for the long haul, you’re going to need to figure out how to spend time alone together. You can’t fill every car ride, every train or plane journey, every early-morning coffee chattering away. Think of the number of hours you'll be spending together over a lifetime; at some point, silence is inevitable. There's no need to be afraid of it. Once you've accepted it and even come to enjoy it, it will make your relationship that much stronger.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Boring
There’s a stigma around silence, as it's often associated with being bored or doing absolutely nothing—but it doesn’t have to mean sitting around and twiddling your thumbs. Being quiet together can also mean reading a book or catching up on the day's news in each other's presence. It can mean checking in with a yoga or meditation app, quietly cooking together, or doing a project while your partner dozes off nearby on a weekend morning. Don’t think of being quiet together as necessarily embracing shared meditative sessions—although if that works for the two of you, that's great. Just remember that there are a lot of things you can do together in comfortable silence.