For couples experiencing communication issues, life can become almost impossible. The refusal of one person to speak at all can hamper them planning and splitting daily chores, and it might even become frustrating to the point of anger. It would seem that bulldozing a partner who refuses to speak is the only way to break through, but subtlety is often a better solution. When all the avenues of communication have been shut off, digging in to create one line at a time could be the best way for two people to get back in touch with each other.
Verbal communication is often the fastest and easiest way for two people to communicate, but it is not necessarily the best way when there are issues between couples. Gestures are often a way couples in long term relationships communicate, and this could be a good way to open a line. Asking if they want something to drink could be as simple as holding up a cup and raising an eyebrow. While it might not be completely satisfying, it could be a way to start an eventual conversation.
Living without words can be frustrating, and it can lead to anger in the partner trying to communicate. Those who have enough patience could eventually break through the walls that have been put up, but they might have to begin slowly. Creativity could be a key element, and it might be enough of a surprise to catch their partner off their guard.
A person refusing to communicate may have complex issues they are dealing with internally, so their ability to talk to a partner might be compromised. It does not mean they want to shut out their relationship, and their partner taking that one small step might help them open their own pathways of communication.