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Communication as a Top Reason for Marriage Failure

Marriage Failure
No one really gets married with the expectation that the union will not last. However, according to the American Psychological Association, in the United States, about 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, and subsequent marriages after one divorce have an even higher rate of failure. These are scary statistics to face as a married couple, and lack of communication is a big factor in marriage failure. 

One of the easiest ways to secure your marriage bond is to get counseling when you and your spouse begin to show signs of problems with communication. However, not all couples recognize problems with communication when they start. Take a look at what you should know about communication in a marriage so you can prevent the demise of your relationship due to communication problems. 

Proper Steps of Communication

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:
  1. Approach communication with your partner calmly, not like you are going into battle.
  2. Talk to your partner by focusing on your feelings, wants, and desires, not on their faults.
  3. Listen to your partner during communication without anticipating your turn to speak.
  4. Determine the reality of your relationship with your partner by reviewing the things you've shared.
When two people are trying to operate as one in a marriage, communication is important on every level. Lack of communication is often touted as the biggest reasons marriages fail. The better you understand the proper process of communication, the better off you will be when you know you need to communicate something difficult. 

Reasons Couples Fail to Communicate

Failure to communicate often boils down to underlying issues with one individual or the other. One partner may be more open about their thoughts and feelings and the other more afraid to share their emotions, for example. Some of the reasons couples fail to communicate properly in their relationship include:
  • 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
You and your spouse will face challenges in a relationship that make communication difficult. Overcoming these obstacles when you recognize them as a couple is imperative to move beyond the stumbling blocks.

Improper Communication Tactics

In addition to fostering healthy communication, learn to recognize communication tactics that are unhealthy. These negative forms of communication should be avoided from the beginning of the relationship, but too many couples get into a routine of one or the other using them and damaging the marriage. Three negative forms of communication to avoid include:
  • Intimidation, which involves forcing someone to behave a certain way by frightening them
  • Parental or childlike communication, which involves being overly subservient or overly dominant
  • Contradictory non-verbal communication, which involves saying one thing but communicating differently through body language
A little negative communication is expected when emotions are high. However, too much negative communication and not enough positive, thought-out communication can truly hinder the stability of any relationship. 

The bottom line is that working to properly communicate in your marriage is one of the best ways you can maintain a healthy relationship. If you have problems with communicating with your spouse, consider reaching out to our experienced psychiatrists at the Heritage Mental Health Clinic for marriage counseling.