Funny how this is never a complaint during courtship, but becomes an issue in so many 'mature' marriages.
The fact is that not a lot of people "talk too much", when you look at it objectively. Some are uncomfortable with silences and tend to fill them in, while others get by on about two words per hour (that's me, in case you were wondering, or in case you weren't!).
True motormouths are pretty rare...and they are generally the first to admit that they talk a lot.
So what does it mean, that statement? If you're on the receiving end, exactly what message are you supposed to get?
First, know that it's not about you - it';s something in your mate that has changed, that's causing an 'itch' which brought out the comment.
It could be a feeling of restlessness, or impatience with the situation...well, let's say it outright. Impatience with the marriage.
We all got through bad patches in marriage (we go through bad patches in friendship, and at work, too).. Sometimes this is made manifest by a desire not to hear our mate...literally, to tune him or her out.
Most spouses won;t go to the extreme position of saying "you talk too much!" Rather, they'll just quietly stop paying full attention, and will sometimes miss the meaning of what you've said.
This is an obvious red flag, and it's a call for a visit to a counselor. Sometimes the rough patches pass without causing permanent problems, but very often they leave behind scars and debris which cause untold trouble down the years.
That trouble is preventable, and counseling is the best prevention.
Another possible place from which this comment springs is that your mate feels like he or she isn't being heard. We all want respect, and approbation, and the most basic way of showing both is by having those around us listen to that which we contribute.
"You're not listening!" can sound a little bit needy, especially for men, so a husband will usually go on the attack -
"You talk too much!"
But make no mistake - he is needy, and needs that which only you can give him.
How can you tell which it is?
Deliberately change your communication pattern, and listen. Where you once tended to finish your spouse's sentence - and we all to this - hold yourself, and stop. Give a two-beat pause after your spouse is finished talking before answering.
It'll seem strange, but if the problem is indeed that your spouse felt unheard, you'll soon know it. Your mate will start filling in those two-beat silences!
If the problem's deeper, you'll know it too, because your gesture won't be appreciated. The two-beat pause will become a point of resentment - you'll be damned if you talk, and damned if you're silent.
And this is the time to get a counselor. Fast.