Many people have a hard time expressing their feelings.  Obviously this can create many problems within a marriage since communication and the sharing of feelings is at the very core of a good relationship.   But the fact remains that some people have a very difficult time communicating.

For a couple who is struggling in their marriage this can be a very difficult thing.  When communication in your marriage suffers it’s inevitable that many problems will crop up, and if these problems become bad enough, they can eventually lead to lost loving feelings within the marriage.

The ability to communicate effectively is probably the most important skill necessary to have if you’re going to save your marriage.  However, pressuring the other spouse to talk when they are reluctant to do so can be difficult, and is not advised.  In fact, pressuring them may even cause them to shut down their communication all together.

Before I had my emotional affair with Tanya, effective communication was an issue within our marriage.  Sure, we talked some and we got along fine.  We would talk about our work day, what the kids were doing, or what was going on within the Linda’s classroom. But we really didn’t talk that much on a deep emotional level about each others feelings, desires, goals and what we wanted out of life. 

We certainly did several years ago when we were young and full of great ambitions and our dreams of the future comprised the majority of our conversations. Somewhere along the road we let life take us away from doing that.

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We can honestly say that improving the effectiveness of our communication has been one of, if not the single most important thing that we’ve done to help us get through this situation.  After all, if we would have communicated effectively in the first place, more than likely none of this would have happened.

So what are some ways that you can make it easier for your spouse to open up and share his or her feelings with you?  Here are three ideas to do that:

Don’t criticize. There is a fine line between constructive criticism, and tearing your spouse apart with ruthless criticism when he or she is trying to communicate with you.  If you’re having problems communicating within your relationship, it could be that one or both of you might be criticizing the other too much.  Do not criticize your spouse’s character, intelligence, body, appearance or any other aspect of their person.

Really listen. Many times people are involved in conversations and they’re too worried about what they’re going to say next and they don’t really listen to what the person is saying.  They also can editorialize what the person is saying and miss the whole point of the conversation entirely. This tells your spouse that you’re not empathetic to their feelings and don’t really care what they have to say.  A good technique to help is repeat back your understanding of what your spouse is saying.  Doing this encourages your spouse to communicate further and it helps you to develop a deeper understanding of what your spouse is actually saying without jumping to conclusions.

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Remain open. In many marriages where there are problems, defensiveness and accusations run rampant and result in total communication breakdown.  Remaining open to your spouse and trying to truly understand what is being said is incredibly important if you’re going to get your spouse to communicate more.  You may not like what is being said and you don’t have to agree with it, but you do have to try and make sense of it and understand it.  Do not become defensive.  Do not make accusations.

Communication is one of the most important skills you can have if you’re going to save your marriage. It is an absolutely fundamental element.  It is also a skill that can be learned.  The important thing is to do everything that you can to improve your communication skills and create an environment that is conducive to open communication.  Following the steps above may help lead you on the right path.


Additional Resources

Save the Marriage – E-book by Dr. Lee Baucom

“7 Secrets to Fixing Your Marriage” – Free e-help series by Mort Fertel

    7 replies to "Communicate to Save Your Marriage"

    • sam Dousan

      Marriage is the decision for whole life,and trust,understanding and love is very important in a relationship. If you want a healthy relationship with your partner then the trust is a very important factor for your relationship…..


      E-Relationship ! Marriage Relationship Tips

    • Lorie

      How do you communicate with someone who is avoiding you? After 20 years of marriage I found my husband was having an affair. The day I confronted him, he moved out. He is living at his parents, but is still having the fog and doesn’t communicate with me. He actually acts like I don’t exist. I never initiate contact with him, unless it has to do with our daughter or finances. He makes plans with my daughter and never consults me! I find out from her and then I am so angry that he didn’t even have the courtesy to check with me to see if there was anything else going on. He has been out of the house a little over 5 months and I am afraid he is one of the 5% who is just going to move on with his life. He doesn’t want to talk about us at all. We never fought or argued about anything. We communicated like two adults when problems arose. I will admit, due to my job, the past couple of years, I was not really there for him emotionally. But, everytime I see him, I do try to connect with him, complimenting him and finding positives in the little discussions we have.

      I really believe he just doesn’t care about me. He told me he does love me, but he loves her more. UGH!! I don’t want to give up, but I don’t even know how to start communicating with him now. We have not had any communication for about 2 months now, except for daughter and finances.

      Help me!

      • Doug

        Lorie, Is the affair still going on?

    • Lorie

      Yes, he sees her often and spends every other weekend with her when be is not with our daughter. I should say because he doesn’t have a place of his own he spends his weekends with our daughter at our home andsleepa in the guest room. I try to atay out of the way as much as possible. He really doesn’t comminica5e then either .

      • Doug

        Lorie, Well I guess that probably explains why he is acting the way he is. Even so, he needs to communicate with you – especially when it comes to your daughter. As he is still in the affair, I’m sure that any discussions about you and your relationship are not relevant to him right now. If you believe what Dr. Harley says – that most all affairs die on their own – then when his does die, you will probably see a shift in his actions. I’m sure that all of this, along with the uncertainty must be very painful and difficult for you.

        • Lorie

          Thank you Doug, I guess that is my hope, that the affair will die. It is truly excruciating, physically and emotionally. I really do want be patient as I follow God’s will and show my husband that things weren’t really all that bad here. I don’t try to talk about the relationship when he is around, but it is frustrating that he doesn’t ask how I am doing, or my grandmother who is dying or how my job hunt is going ( I was laid off from my job one week after he moved out). I guess while in this fog he really is only thinking about himself.

    • Angel61

      My husband and I just came from a marriage retreat (religious) where they taught us a tool to communicate. I agree with all that is listed above, essentially that was all that it was about, We tried it and it worked so well while we were there, I hope that we can use it in real life.

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