“Your brain treats rejection like physical pain.—Anonymous

emotional rejection

Emotional rejection is just as painful as a physical blow. And small phrases could be the culprit of deep disconnection in your marriage. 

Have you said any of these things recently? 

“I don’t know.” 

“I don’t care.” 


These phrases are bound to come up from time to time. But when emotional rejection becomes the norm, you can’t experience an extraordinary marriage. 

So often, sexual rejection is a challenge for couples. Some couples experience a sexless marriage. Others struggle to talk about sex with their spouse. 

But emotional rejection is harder to recognize.

You might not notice that you’ve been having fewer deep, emotional conversations together

Or worse, you might feel like the circumstances of your life—young kids, a stressful career, and so on—are reason enough to check out from conversations and dismiss emotional connection with your spouse. 

Emotional Intimacy is all about creating closeness and connection with your spouse by sharing thoughts, feelings, and desires (verbally and nonverbally). 

There’s a reason why the Emotional Intimacy Pillar serves as the workhorse of The 6 Pillars of Intimacy®. It is a foundation for all the other pillars. 

When you’re not engaging in emotional intimacy, you create a gaping hole in your marriage. It’s a hole that leads to pain, sadness, and distance.

There are countless phrases that couples in the ONE Family have said or heard that characterize emotional rejection: 

  • “I’m busy.”
  • “I’m tired of choosing.” 
  • “It’s irrelevant.” 
  • “I’m fine.” 
  • “I don’t know what you want me to say.” 
  • “Nothing’s wrong.” 

Once in a while, it’s normal for these phrases to come out. 

But when these phrases become the default, it can lead to various reactions: shutting down, putting up walls, going quiet, becoming depressed, or creating distance between each other. 

None of those reactions help you become closer and more connected. In other words, this doesn’t help you experience an extraordinary marriage. 

But these phrases and reactions are all part of a pattern. When you can recognize the pattern, you can learn how to interrupt the cycle. 

Of course, it’s easier said than done. That’s why working with a marriage coach can be so beneficial. Sometimes, you need someone a few steps ahead of you to show you where to break negative cycles and create healthy habits as a couple. 

Just like when it comes to overcoming sexual rejection in marriage, overcoming emotional rejection doesn’t just happen—it’s a choice and a journey.

You will have to get curious about one another again. You’ll have to be intentional. 

A great resource to help refresh the emotional intimacy in your marriage is conversation prompts. 

Pick up some conversation cards or grab a copy of Connect Like You Did When You First Met. It’s far easier to start the conversation when you don’t also have to come up with the questions. 

Recovering from emotional rejection will take time and effort. But extraordinary marriages only exist when those couples do the extra work to make it that way. 


668: The Pain of Rejection

88 Great Conversation Starters

Connect Like You Did When You First Met: 101 Proven Questions for Couples

790: The Greatest Threat to Our Marriage is Apathy

Connect with Us

Join the ONE Family private Facebook group to share your story and connect with other couples who are creating extraordinary marriages. To reach us on the Hug Hotline, call or text 858-876-5663 or email hugs@oneextraordinarymarriage.com.

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