Every marriage needs good communication. If you or your spouse are unhappy in or with the marriage, this will be communicated in some way … attitudes, body language, decisions, even lack of communication—so why not communicate openly and honestly about what is difficult for you?
Communication is a skill that takes practice, but it can be learned. Are you hesitant to communicate partly because you don’t know how, or don’t have confidence in your abilities?
For example, do you know how to express your needs, simply and clearly, without blaming or complaining? Do you know how to have an argument (an effective one, that is)? Do you wilt away with the first disagreement? And can you respectfully disagree, in an argument or not? Can you appreciate differences, or do you tend to think that you should always be of the same mind as your spouse? Does one of you always have to be “right”, or can you agree to disagree? Are you accountable, and do you hold your spouse accountable, to things you have agreed on?
Are you able to communicate effectively about dividing up responsibilities? Can you communicate your expectations and understand your spouse’s expectations? Can you negotiate? Are you flexible? Can you communicate what is most important to you and “pick your battles”?
Heritage Mental Health Clinic (2019) offers a list of four steps of communication in a marriage: “Just like you couldn’t expect to achieve anything with a teammate during a game if they did not communicate their thoughts, feelings, and actions, you can’t make a relationship work either. Communication sounds simple, but it involves four steps in a marriage, including:
- Approach communication with your partner calmly, not like you are going into battle.
- Talk to your partner by focusing on your feelings, wants, and desires, not on their faults.
- Listen to your partner during communication without anticipating your turn to speak.
- Determine the reality of your relationship with your partner by reviewing the things you’ve shared.”
Some reasons why couples fail to communicate are also mentioned (2019):
- Lack of one-on-one time together when you can talk and listen
- High expectation that one partner or the other should just know what the other is thinking
- Unwillingness of one partner to consider the other’s point of view.
- Avoidance of conversation because efforts to communicate end in arguments.
Given the importance of communication, we will introduce the “How-to” of some of the common communication situations in marriage, such as expressing needs, having an argument, disagreeing, and dividing responsibilities. These are useful skills that can be learned!
Communication as a Top Reason for Marriage Failure. (2019, January 11). Heritage Mental Health Clinic. http://www.heritagemhc.com/communication-as-a-top-reason-for-marriage-failure