How to Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage

Three Parts:Communicating Each DayManaging ConflictsAvoiding Negative Communication

Communication is vital to a happy, healthy marriage. You and your spouse should communicate each day, even if you're only talking over small matters. When conflict arises, find ways to address it in a productive fashion. Talk conflicts over respectfully and look for a mutually beneficial solution. Avoid negative forms of communication, like criticism and yelling, as this can adversely affect your marriage.

Part 1
Communicating Each Day

  1. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 1
    Prioritize daily communication. Do not let communication in your marriage fall to the wayside. Even small daily interactions are important to healthy communication. Make sure to communicate small matters effectively from one day to the next.[1]
    • You may forget to communicate in the shuffle of day-to-day obligations. You may be caught up in your own worries or concerns over dinner or get caught up in your own hobbies at night.
    • Prioritize communication. The small daily bits of conversation matter. Make a point of asking your spouse how his or her day was. Share tiny details from your day as well. Day-to-day details can help reinforcement your sense of commitment and affection. This can be as simple as saying something like, "How was your day?" when your spouse gets home.
  2. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 2
    Create a positive atmosphere via communication. You want to make sure that, when conflicts do arise, you and your spouse feel comfortable addressing these issues. One way to achieve this is by using daily communication to create a positive, safe atmosphere in which you both feel comfortable expressing yourselves.[2]
    • Fostering positivity does not have to be hard. It comes down to basic manners. Speak to your spouse with courtesy. Always remember things like "please" and "thank you" when speaking to your spouse so you avoid taking him or her for granted.
    • You should avoid negativity, even when your spouse is not present. Avoid venting frustrations about your spouse to others. Strive to speak of him or her in as positive a tone as possible.
  3. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 3
    Do not be afraid to communicate basic wants. Relationships are based around respecting one another's emotional wants and needs. During daily communication, always share your basic wants with your partner.[3]
    • Some wants are easy to express. For example, you may find it easy to share when you want to have dinner or how you want to spend the weekend. Other wants can be more difficult to express, but they're vital to a healthy marriage.
    • Difficult wants can include things like wanting more affection in a marriage, or wanting a change in your sex life. Learn to express these wants instead of letting resentment build over time. The more authentic you are with your spouse, the closer to the two of you will feel.
    • Do not be afraid to pipe up when you have a want you need to express. For example, you can say something like, "I sometimes feel like you don't ask about my day, even when I ask about yours. I would like it if you asked me how my day was more often."
  4. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 4
    Listen to your spouse in return. Just as you want your spouse to respect your wants, you want to offer respect in return. Make sure you listen as much as you talk as you strive for healthier communication with your spouse.[4]
    • Put aside your point of view when your spouse talks. Do not think about how you're going to respond, or how you might defend yourself from criticism. Remember, listening is not about you. It's about the other person.
    • Empathize as your partner talks. Try to put yourself in his or her shoes and identify with how they're feeling. This way, you'll be better equipped to address the situation and change as necessary.
    • Practice active listening. Nod as your spouse talks. Ask questions if you don't understand something. When your spouse finishes a sentence, offer a brief summary. For example, "I'm hearing you're a little stressed at work?"
  5. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 5
    Show affection regularly. Physical communication is just as important as verbal communication. Show your partner you care by expressing love through physical affection.[5]
    • Do small things throughout the day. Hold your partner's hand. Kiss your partner on occasion. When the two of you are watching television together, do not hesitate to spoon your partner.

Part 2
Managing Conflicts

  1. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 6
    Abandon the need to win. Oftentimes, a sense of competitiveness can get in the way of healthy communication. When prepping to talk over a conflict, try to let go of any feelings of competitiveness. Remember, the point is not to win. The point is to effectively talk over an issue with your spouse.[6]
    • Consider why you need to win. If you're insecure by nature, this may increase your need to win arguments and conflicts. You may also struggle with vulnerability. Be aware of these flaws so you can work on consciously letting go of your need to win.
    • Remember, winning will not make you feel satisfied. You will gain satisfaction from fostering a healthier relationship with your spouse and not through meaningless competition.
  2. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 7
    Ask yourself certain questions before bringing up an issue. You want to make sure you're ready to address an issue. Stop and ask yourself a series of questions to make sure you're going into the conversation with the right attitude.[7]
    • Do you want to connect with your partner better? Are you curious about your partner's perspective? Do you care how your partner may feel?
    • Make sure your goal is to reach a better understanding of your partner and not to convince him or her to agree with you. Go into the conversation in the spirit of cooperation rather than competition.
  3. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 8
    Apologize when necessary. Apologies are important for communication, and in a marriage. When addressing an issue, you may inadvertently hurt your partner's feelings. Your partner may also want to talk to you about something you did or said that hurt their feelings. Make sure to be receptive. You will not gain anything by being defensive.[8]
    • Remember, you do not need to intend to be hurtful to hurt someone. Just because you didn't mean anything by a certain statement or gesture, it could have hurt your spouse's feelings. Offer a sincere apology, regardless of your intentions.
    • You can say something as simple as, "I'm really sorry that I hurt you. I'll try to be do better in the future."
  4. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 9
    Use "I"-statements. These are statements framed in a way that emphasize personal feeling over objective fact. "I"-statements have three parts. They begin with, "I feel.." after which you immediately state your feeling. Then, you state the action that led to that feeling. Lastly, you explain why you feel the way you do.[9]
    • For example, in frustration you may be inclined to say something like, "It drives me crazy that you give me such a hard time when I go out with my friends. I feel completely smothered."
    • You can rephrase that statement using an "I"-statement to make it sound less judgmental. For example, "I feel smothered when you get mad at me for seeing my friends because I need my own separate social life to feel happy and fulfilled."
  5. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 10
    Take a time out if necessary. It's okay to pause an argument. In fact, if you and your spouse are beginning to feel hostile, agree to take a break. Communicate this clearly. Say something like, "I'm getting frustrated and I feel like we're not getting anywhere. I'm going to go for a walk and we can talk more when I get back." Sometimes, a little space can allow you to regroup and calm down. You can then better address the issue later.[10]
  6. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 11
    Learn how to treat your spouse better. After discussing an issue, ask yourself how you can improve in the future. You should always be willing to compromise and make changes to improve your marriage.[11]
    • Try to understand your spouse's point of view. What do they want you to change and why? What small changes can you make to make their life easier?
    • Find a way to make your spouse feel more valued and show that you heard their concerns. For example, maybe your spouse is concerned you don't value them as much as your friends. Try planning a date night for you and your spouse in addition to making plans with friends over the weekend.

Part 3
Avoiding Negative Communication

  1. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 12
    Refrain from yelling. Yelling is never an effective means to communicate. In frustration, your voice may rise. You may think yelling adds passion and clarity, but in reality it just creates a tense situation. You set your partner up to be defensive rather than receptive.[12]
    • Be aware of the tone of your voice. Remember, your words should speak volumes and not your tone. Just because you're expressing anger or frustration does not mean you have to do so loudly.
    • Remember, you can always take a break. Try to do some exercise, like go for a walk. This can release tension and decrease the sense you need to yell.
  2. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 13
    Try not to criticize too often. Remember, you want to build your partner up. Everyone gets frustrated with their spouse, but try not to communicate with a constant stream of criticism. Negativity can build up over time.[13]
    • Everyone has bad habits. You may get frustrated if your partner, say, forgets to take the garbage out habitually or has a tendency to zone out at dinner.
    • When you start to feel frustrated about your partner's bad habits, make a list of their good habits in your mind. This will help you remember why you value them.
  3. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 14
    Do not stonewall your partner. The silent treatment is never a good option for dealing with conflict. You do not want to abruptly end a conversation, storm out of a room, or just withdraw physically or emotionally. Even when you're feeling frustrated, strive to keep conversation open.[14]
  4. Image titled Communicate Effectively Within a Marriage Step 15
    Take responsibility for negative behavior. You do not want to become defensive when criticized. If your spouse dislikes how you're doing something, be receptive to what they're saying. Instead of making excuses and putting up a defense, make an honest effort to see their perspective.[15]
    • Remember, a simple apology can easily patch up a misunderstanding. For example, "I'm sorry. I really didn't mean it that way, but I can understand why that's what you heard. I'll try to be more conscientious next time."


  • Anger is not going to take you anywhere. Do not try to communicate if you're both feeling angry. Calm down, give it a rest and talk when both of you are ready. We are looking at resolving the issue and not fueling it.

Article Info

Categories: Married Life