Stonewalling 101: What Is It and How Do We Deal With It? 

Stonewalling is one of the most common sources of disconnection in marriages. It interferes with a major pillar of relationships: communication. Stonewalling occurs when one partner refuses to engage in an interaction, shutting down or closing themselves off completely from a conversation. In order to keep these lines of communication open in the relationship, a sense of security and safety must stay intact. This kind of consistency moves both individuals towards relational health; making it easier to tackle habits like stonewalling, together as a unit. 


3 ways to deal with stonewalling in your marriage: 


1. Understand and talk about your emotional triggers

“Triggers” are related to events or circumstances that lead individuals to process emotions through the lens of their past. In the process of unwrapping triggered feelings and reactions, it can be beneficial to bring a therapist in to mediate and help navigate discussions.

2. Set boundaries 

Let’s be honest, during difficult conversations, it can be easier to flee than to stay engaged. In order to keep everyone engaged, set yourself up for success beforehand. Set time aside to grab dinner together and talk about how to handle disagreements. Cover topics like language, tone, when to pause conversations, and how to come back to unresolved issues in a healthy manner. Asking hard questions helps to establish healthy boundaries that will enable you to achieve desired goals, together. 

3. Catch yourself

Action-steps are a great practical place to start, however, what matters most is what goes on during the actual conflict. When tensions are high, catch yourself before reacting. Communicate if the tone of the conversation is too harsh, if emotions are too heightened, or if you’re too stressed to effectively respond in the moment. Doing so will keep everyone on the same page and leave space to implement boundaries that were previously talked about.  


In order to stop stonewalling in a relationship, it will require intentionality. It doesn’t mean shutting conflict down altogether or ignoring the issues that clearly exist. Eliminating the habit of stonewalling is all about learning more clear and healthy communication skills. Accomplishing this will bring wholeness into the relationship and set a solid foundation for future conflict resolution. 


If you are experiencing emotional abuse in addition to stonewalling, it may be time to take legal action. Call (813) 907-9807 or visit to schedule a consultation with us.