Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say: How to Improve Communication in Marriage

happy senior couple talking on the sofa in the living room

On the one hand, talk really is cheap, but on the other one, talk is also the foundation of a healthy marriage. We’ve all gone through rough patches in relationships where something just feels off – the communication is breaking down, and fights are more and more frequent. It feels like you’re unable to connect with your partner, you’re not heard or understood. Is there anything more frustrating? How do you get back on the same page?!

Whether it’s just a rough patch or a long-term issue, in order to fix your marriage and get back on track, you need to work on your communication, plain and simple. But it’s easier said than done, right? Well, let me give you some tips on how to improve communication in marriage and help you brush up on your communication skills – let’s dig in.


Why Effective Communication Is Key

Picture this: you’re sitting across from your partner at dinner, but instead of engaging in a meaningful conversation, you’re both staring at your phones. Sound familiar? In today’s world, it’s easy to get caught up in all the distractions and forget to prioritize communication in our relationships. 

But here’s the truth: healthy communication is the glue that holds a marriage together. Without it, misunderstandings, arguments, and hurt feelings can easily arise. By improving your communication, you’ll be able to build a stronger foundation of trust, intimacy, and connection. Plus, you’ll bring that spark back to your relationship. Don’t you think it’s worth the effort?


Common Communication Mistakes – Are You Guilty of These?

Nobody’s perfect and we all make certain mistakes during conversations sometimes. These are some of the most common communication pitfalls that can lead to bigger issues over time.

  • Stonewalling or shutting down during a conversation
  • Interrupting your partner
  • Making assumptions about your partner’s thoughts or feelings
  • Failing to give your partner your full attention 
  • Criticizing or belittling your partner’s ideas or feelings
  • Giving your partner the silent treatment
  • Using superlatives like ‘’always’’ or ‘’never’’
  • Avoiding arguments
  • Gaslighting

So, are you guilty of any of these? I get it, we’ve all been there. If all these communication issues accumulate, it might be time for couples counseling in order to mend your relationship. But let’s not jump the gun. Let’s first look at the ways to work on these things and improve communication in your marriage.

angry blond woman with cellphone in hand emotionally talking to brunette man with cup of coffee and laptop

Revamp Your Relationship: Ways to Improve Communication in Marriage

Create a Safe Environment for Communication

Sometimes communication with your spouse can feel like walking through a minefield. One wrong word, and BOOM! But seriously, it’s important to create a safe environment for communication if you want to have a healthy relationship. This means that both you and your partner need to feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or criticism. 

One way to create a safe space is to establish some ground rules. For example, agree to avoid name-calling and shouting when fighting with your partner. Remember, the goal is not to “win” an argument but to understand each other better. 


Learn to Listen Effectively

Ah, the art of compassionate listening. It’s one of the most important communication skills you can possess, yet it’s also one of the most underrated. When your partner is talking, are you really listening or just waiting for your turn to speak? You’re hearing, but are you listening? 

Learning to listen effectively is crucial if you want to improve communication in your marriage. So, how can you become a better listener? Start by putting down your phone, turning off the TV, and giving your spouse your undivided attention. You can practice your active listening skills by repeating back what your partner said to ensure you understood them correctly.


Practice Empathy and Validation

When you’re in a heated argument with your significant other, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who’s right. But the truth is, your partner has their own feelings and perspective on the situation. That’s why empathy and validation are crucial to improving communication in your marriage. 

Take a moment to step into your partner’s shoes and try to understand their point of view. You don’t have to agree with them, but be willing to listen and empathize with their feelings. Acknowledge your partner’s emotions and let them know you hear them. It can be as simple as saying, “I can see that you’re feeling upset right now, and I’m sorry for that.” 

This way, you’re showing your spouse that you care about their feelings and that you want to work together to find a solution. 

support in marriage between senior man and woman

Be Clear and Direct in Your Communication

Okay, let’s face it – sometimes we expect our partners to read our minds, right? But unfortunately, they can’t. And that’s where being clear and direct in your communication comes in. 

How to communicate better? Try to be as specific as possible. Don’t beat around the bush, just say what you mean! And do not – I repeat – do not give your partner the silent treatment. If you put off and avoid having tough conversations, you could be one step away from a toxic relationship. So, if there’s an issue you want to address, bring it up and let your partner know that it’s something you’d like to work on.


Use “I” Statements Instead of “You” Statements

When we’re upset, it’s easy to start pointing fingers and playing the blame game. But what if I told you that using “you” statements can actually make things worse

When you say things like “You always do this” or “You never listen to me,” your husband is likely to feel attacked and get defensive. And that only leads to more communication gaps. So, instead, try using “I” statements to express how you feel. For example, you could say, “I feel unheard when I’m speaking, and it makes me frustrated.” By doing this, you’re taking ownership of your feelings and avoiding putting your partner on the defensive. Give it a try and see how it can improve communication in your marriage!


Watch Your Tone

‘’It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it’’ – have you ever said this sentence? We all have. Your spouse could say something well-intentioned, but their tone is just off – they sound angry, annoyed, uninterested, etc. And just like that, their sentiment has gone out the window and an argument ensues. 

So, your tone matters. I know it can be hard to control your tone of voice when you’re feeling angry or frustrated but try. Try to maintain a calm and respectful tone. Because you could say something as wonderful as ‘’I love you’’ in an angry voice, and the words would lose their meaning. Don’t raise your voice or use a mocking, condescending or annoyed tone. Your partner will feel it and it will only lead to the breakdown of communication.


Don’t Forget About Nonverbal Communication

Our body language can speak volumes, even if we’re not saying a word. How we stand, how we look, and even how we touch can send all sorts of messages to our partner. That’s why you should pay attention to your own body language, as well as your partner’s. 

Are you standing with your arms crossed, or are you open and receptive? Are you making eye contact, or are you looking away? Try to be aware of what you’re saying with your posture, your facial expressions, and your gestures because your body can say more than your words, even if you’re not aware of it.

senior couple fighting in the room

Think Before You Speak

Okay, let’s be real here. When we’re in the middle of an argument with our partner, it’s easy to get carried away and say things we don’t really mean. But here’s the thing: words can be sharper than knives, and once they’re out there, they can’t be unsaid. 

So, before you let your emotions take over, take a deep breath, count to ten and think about what you’re about to say. Ask yourself, ‘’Is what I’m about to say going to help this situation? Is it kind? Is it necessary?’’ Take a minute to cool off before you say something you’ll regret. One thing’s for sure – you won’t keep the communication alive by lashing out.


Still Struggling? How About Seeking Help?

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to work. If you’ve been struggling for a while or your issues seem too far gone to fix with a romantic date night, don’t lose hope just yet. Instead, consider therapy

As a relationship psychologist, my goal is to make relationships work. I want to help you master the art of communication so you can mend your marriage and get that connection back. Seeking help does not make you weak – it makes you a powerful boss lady who is ready to put in the work and fix her marriage. So, claim your spot at my webinar and learn how to make your marriage thrive in just 5 steps!



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