Communication is the foundation of any successful marriage. It's how couples connect, understand each other, and work through challenges. Couples who are struggling will often point to a lack of communication as the source of their problems. In reality, it’s not about if you communicate, but how you communicate. Common communication issues in marriage often create roadblocks in a relationship. Let's take a closer look at nine dangerous communication habits and explore how to improve communication in marriage:
1. Poor Listening
The Problem: You're too busy or distracted to give each other your full attention.
The Solution: Stop what you're doing, show genuine interest, resist the urge to interrupt, and give your undivided attention. By actively listening, we strengthen the bond with our partners and create a safe space for open conversation.
2. Criticism & Defensiveness
The Problem: Criticizing your spouse using "you" statements, leading to defensiveness and resentment.
The Solution: Instead, try using "I" statements to express your feelings and concerns. For example, instead of saying “You hurt me when...” try starting with “I felt hurt when...” to make your feedback sound less like an accusation. Reflect on yourself and create a supportive environment where trust and growth can blossom.
3. Stonewalling & Withdrawal
The Problem: Shutting down and pulling away from important conversations.
The Solution: While it's essential to take breaks when feeling overwhelmed, commit to addressing the issues honestly and vulnerably. Foster open communication by expressing your emotions and thoughts constructively.
4. Dismissive Behavior
The Problem: Invalidating your spouse's feelings, which breeds resentment and distance.
The Solution: It's crucial to actively listen, validate their emotions, and strive to understand their point of view. Building trust through empathy and respect helps create a strong foundation for communication.
5. Poor Timing and Failure to Prioritize
The Problem: You’re neglecting timely and meaningful conversations, which hinders effective communication.
The Solution: It's essential to prioritize dedicated, distraction-free moments to engage with each other actively. By doing this, you demonstrate your commitment to the marriage and show your spouse that their thoughts and feelings matter.
6. Unresolved Conflicts & Grudges
The Problem: Allowing conflicts and grudges to linger, creating resentment and distance between partners.
The Solution: Address conflicts promptly, practice forgiveness, and strive to find common ground. By resolving conflicts, you create an opportunity for deeper connection and growth within your relationship.
7. Communication Barriers
The Problem: Differences in your communication styles are unintentionally creating barriers.
The Solution: Embrace the uniqueness of each other's styles, seek clarity when needed, and make an effort to understand each other better. By recognizing and respecting these differences, you can create richer and more effective communication.
8. External Stressors
The Problem: External stressors, such as work pressures or financial difficulties, are causing your communication to suffer.
The Solution: It's crucial to support your spouse during challenging times. Find ways to manage stress together and lean on your marriage for strength. Remind each other that external stressors do not diminish the health of your relationship.
9. Lack of Boundaries
The Problem: You and your spouse are not clear about your boundaries, or you’re consistently disrespecting them.
The Solution: Clearly communicate your personal limits, and be receptive to your spouse's boundaries as well. It’s important to foster mutual respect, safety, and understanding. This helps both of you feel safe to express your thoughts and emotions openly.
Here are some other helpful resources to build a strong marriage:
Christian Marriage Counseling Resources
7 Secrets to a Satisfying Marriage
4 Tips on How to Pray With Your Spouse
Or listen to an in-depth conversation about communication killers in this episode of the Live Changed Podcast!
The content on this page is intended to provide resources for marriages that may be struggling with everyday issues like communication. We want to be clear that anything resembling an abusive relationship is not what we are addressing. Anyone who is in an abusive relationship should get out and get help. Two immediate resources are the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and the National Domestic Abuse website www.thehotline.org We also want individuals to know that they have support from LCBC — access to resources relevant to their situation as well as someone they can talk to, pray with, and get spiritual encouragement from. You can get in contact with us here.
The Live Changed Podcast is produced by LCBC Church. LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Subscribe to the Live Changed Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts!