Your guide on how to achieve better communication in marriage

Building Communicating in marriage is every marriage's foundation

By Patti Flinsch-Rodriguez
 Your guide on how to achieve better communication in marriage

The importance of Communication in Marriage

When a couple gets married, they are committed to the "until death do us part" that they happily recite to each other during their wedding vows.  However, in reality, we know that isn't true because so many marriages end in divorce.  Communication is an integral part of any relationship. Couples who do not communicate well will have problems throughout their relationship.  The importance of communication in marriage should not be underestimated. 

The statistics of Marriage Communication

According to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, the divorce rate in the United States is 3.2 per 1,000 people.  This means that approximately 40% of all marriages end in divorce.  These statistics are staggering, and anything that you and your spouse can do to avoid becoming a divorce statistic should be investigated.  


There are hundreds of studies done in the U.S. on the causes of divorce.  The reasons vary depending upon the age of the people interviewed, the length of time married, the age of the couple when wedded and the geographic location of the couple.  Despite some of these variances, according to a Psychology Today article, the overlapping reasons seem to be:

  • Lack of Commitment
  • Infidelity
  • Conflict/ Arguing

And guess what? All of these can be boiled down to communication!  

If one spouse is not as committed to the relationship than the other is, communicate your displeasure.  It sounds simple, but let your spouse know how you feel.  Maybe your spouse is distracted by something going on at work and doesn't have time to dote on you.  Your spouse may not realize he is pulling away from you.  A quick conversation will illuminate that for him and allow him the opportunity to explain what's going on and could end any long term festering over something that could be resolved if he only knew. 

If one spouse is so unhappy in the marriage that they want to commit adultery, the time to act is before it gets that far.  Once the honeymoon is over, there is a settling down period and maybe both spouses are not on the same plane when it comes to sex.  How much sex is enough?  If you are not happy with the frequency, have a frank discussion with your spouse.  Your first reaction should not be infidelity.  Try to work it out.  Your spouse might be stressed with dealing with her job and the household and maybe the disparity in household chores has her down.  If you communicate how you feel, you might be happily surprised.  Your spouse cannot fix something if she isn't aware it is broken.  

Arguments break up marriages because people do not know how to communicate.  Conflict exists in every relationship, but if you learn the basic skills of conflict resolution, you may have a greater chance of staying together.  You need to figure out what you are really arguing about.

Odds are it wasn't that half empty cup of coffee you left on the dresser this morning, but rather the fact that it has been 6 months of your spouse cleaning up after you that led to the evening's blowout. Once you know what you are fighting over, acknowledge the problem.  You both have to come up with an agreeable solution together in order to get past the conflict.

Related Article: 10 Tips And Secrets Of Maintaining A Happy Marriage
10 Tips And Secrets Of Maintaining A Happy Marriage
 By definition,
a marriage refers to the process by which two individuals who truly love each other make their relationship permanent. 

Effective communication in Marriage

I know you think you know how to communicate, after all you have been expressing yourself for years, but are you an effective communicator with your spouse?  Stating your opinion or barking orders is not going to pave the way for marital bliss. If you can effectively master communication in your marriage, you will set the stage for years of happiness. 

Be honest and take stock of your current communication style.  Do you dictate?  Are you formulating a rebuttal in your head as your partner is speaking?  Are you focused on your spouse as they are speaking or are you multi-tasking?  Do you bring every conversation back to you and how you are feeling?  If any of this sounds like you, guess what?  You need to step up your game and change your ways so that you can have a more effective communucation style in your marriage.

How to improve Communication in Marriage

1. Active Listening

You need to listen to your spouse. This is harder than it sounds.  Don't just hear the words.  Make sure you understand what they are saying.  Ask questions so your spouse knows you are paying attention.  "How did that (whatever the action your spouse is relaying) make you feel?"  

Repeat back what your spouse is telling in different words, of course, as you do not want to parrot back what was said.  This will show that you are listening and you do care about what they are communicating. Everyone wants to know they are being heard, and if you make this small change, you will have a happier spouse.

2. Mind your tone

Shouting, yelling and screaming are not forms of effective communication.  Most people will simply shut down when confronted with someone who shrieks, rather than speaks.  I understand that you might be angry with your spouse or at an event that did not go the way you wanted it to, but yelling will not help.  Instead, it will cast a negative pall on the relationship.  No one wants to be around a negative person.

If you really are so angry that you have to yell, then it isn't a good time to talk with your spouse.  You need a cooling off period which is the eqivalent of a time-out for adults.  Calmly tell your partner that you need a little time to process everything and then you will be ready to discuss what happened. Talk a walk.  Go to the gym.  Go to your bedroom and lie down to reflect on your emotions.  When you are no longer angry, you can speak with your spouse about what has been troubling you.

3. Body Language

We communicate not just by the words we speak, but by the way we present our physcial bodies.  If someone is not making eye contact with you as you speak, it communicates that they are uncomfortable.  If your arms are folded across your chest, you are communicating that you are closed off from the conversation and are not interested in openly communicating.

Non-verbal communication includes whether you are smiling or frowning as you are listening or speaking.  The tone of your voice can indicate displeasure or happiness.  Rolling your eyes as your spouse is speaking will let them know you don't agree with what they are communicating.  Non-verbal communication is our emotional reaction to situations and you may not even realize you are making some of these faux pas, but you should brush up on the most common cues to make yourself more aware of how you communicate with your spouse.

Top 3 books on how to improve Communication in Marriage

1. The Power of Two

The Power of Two

Written by psychologist Susan Heitler, The Power of Two teaches couples conflict resolution skills.  Conflict resolution is the most valuable skill you will ever learn.  It will help you in your marriage, but also in every other relationship you have.  You can and should apply conflict resolution skills to your work relationships as well to improve them. 

The workbook is easy to understand and the exercises will set your relationship up for success.  The problem in lots of marriages is that people do not know how to communicate well and this book explains it in black and white.

2. How to Save Your Marriage

How to Save Your Marriage: 100 Ways to Turn your Broken Relationship into a Happy Marriage

Sarah Mitchell suggests in her book that you need to reconnect with your partner in order to save your marriage.  Her logic is that a marriage should be viewed like any job, so you have to work at it in order to perfect it.  Once the bloom is off the rose, and the kids takeover the house, your relationship with your spouse takes a backseat to running the household and caring for the kids.  

You need to take time to care for each other.  Mitchell gives some sage advice and ideas for reconnecting with the person you once thought was the light of your life.

3. Unlocking One Another: 30 Days to Improving Your Relationship Communication

Unlocking One Another: 30 Days To Improving Your Relationship Communication

The author gives you practical exercises to improve your communication with your partner.  The book has a 30 day structure to guide you and your partner through the exercises, building on what you have learned from the book and from interacting with each other.

Lindstrom's writing style is breezy and you will enjoy the read.  Allow it all to sink in for a few days and then start using the techniques.


So what have we learned? Although there are multiple reasons why people get divorced, most of them have an underlying link to poor communication.  If you and your partner can learn to communicate better, it could potentially save your marriage.  Marriages are a lot of work, and you got married because you loved your spouse.  Unless you are in an abusive relationship, why not try a little harder before consulting a lawyer.  The marriage you save may be your own.

Related Article:  12 Best Ideas to celebrate your Marriage Anniversary
12 Best Ideas to celebrate your Marriage Anniversary
 How long have you been married? 5 years, 10, 25? Do you remember your wedding?