Can a Marriage Survive Lack of Communication?

Are you struggling to have conversations with your partner? Even with the small things, it can feel pretty overwhelming and lonely when there is no communication in a relationship. The fact is, relationship communication helps build a foundation for you and your partner to succeed together. 

While there are several solutions to the lack of communication in marriage or relationship, it’s important to understand what causes these issues in the first place and how to move past them. Let’s look at how you can identify communication problems in your marriage and how to address them.

What Causes Lack of Communication in Marriage?

There are several reasons why communication can suffer in a relationship. Whether it’s using different types of communication in marriage, having different goals, or even stress, identifying the root of your communication issues is important. What are some of the common causes in detail?

  • Different communication styles can lead to misunderstandings when trying to talk about any concerns regarding your relationship. People communicate in four different ways: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. If you are aggressive and loud, while your partner is passive and quiet, it can be difficult to connect on a deeper level. In fact, this can even increase conflict between you and your partner. You should take the time to understand both your and your partner’s communication styles, so you can adjust your approach accordingly. It’s also important to note that these styles develop in childhood, and can be difficult to change without a therapist.
  • Lack of emotional intimacy can lead to an emotional disconnection—which can compel a partner to stonewall or avoid conversations in general. Whether there is a fear of vulnerability or simply a difficulty finding quality time with your partner, when there is emotional detachment, it can be hard to have intimacy. You and your partner can address this by providing daily affirmations and compliments, engaging in physical intimacy, and spending intentional one-on-one time together.
  • Different expectations or goals in your relationship might make it hard to connect with your partner. If the problem is financial, family-driven, or caused by other factors, having different expectations can hurt your relationship. If you and your partner practice compassion and consider each other’s feelings and perspectives, you’ll find you can compromise. Ultimately, it’s clear that if you show respect, you’ll likely get respect in return. 
  • Stress can make it tedious for anyone to communicate effectively. Sometimes outside influences, like work or an illness in the family, can be the problem. But it’s also important to recognize that arguments and neglect, even lack of sleep, can increase stress in a relationship. Make sure you and your partner are there for each other—ask how you can help and listen to their needs. Work together on reducing stressors in both your lives, and within the relationship as well.
  • Lack of trust or security affects how you and your partner communicate. Without trust, it can be difficult to be open and honest with one another. If you both can acknowledge concerns that lead to lowered trust, as well as make each other feel secure, you’ll find that your trust can be rebuilt. Once this line of communication is reopened, it will be easier to vocalize your feelings and concerns.
  • Physical or mental health issues are an unfortunate part of living and they can take a toll on partners. On one hand, a partner struggling with these ailments can have a difficult time connecting with the other. On the other hand, a partner helping take care of the person struggling can find it to be incredibly overwhelming. Setting boundaries and creating a wellness plan are a few ways to help alleviate some of the stressors regarding health issues.


While there can be several reasons for the lack of communication in a relationship, in the end, it is important that you’re able to voice your concerns with your partner. Whether that’s with the help of a licensed therapist or through exercises at home, you’ll discover a deeper understanding of your partner and issues that lead to poor communication. At Well Marriage Center, you’ll find help restoring your relationship while addressing any concerns you may have as a couple. Even deep-seated problems can be turned around by focusing on your strengths as a couple. 

How Many Marriages Fail Because of Lack of Communication?

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that 67.5% of unsuccessful marriages were the result of poor communication or a lack of communication skills. It can be argued that this is because lasting connections are built and maintained using effective communication. Unfortunately, misunderstandings and dissatisfaction can develop when there’s a breakdown in communication between partners. Those issues can also lead to feelings of detachment and discontent.

However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that unresolved issues, like lack of trust or disagreements, are frequently connected to communication problems in relationships. That’s to say, poor communication isn’t the source of the problem, but rather a byproduct of something deeper. Fortunately, it’s more than possible for couples to address any underlying challenges and concentrate on strengthening their communication. That’s where Well Marriage Center comes in. We can help you address any unresolved issues that you’re facing as a couple by focusing on what you’re doing right to boost your confidence and rekindle the flame. 

How Can We Solve Poor Communication in Marriage?

If you’re looking for ways to improve communication in marriage, speaking with a licensed marriage counselor is a step in the right direction. At Well Marriage Center, we specialize in strength-based therapy, which focuses on identifying and building upon your strengths as a couple. We believe that by highlighting the positive aspects of your relationship, we can help you overcome communication barriers and create a stronger, more fulfilling marriage. 

Don’t let poor communication stop you and your partner from trying to connect. If you feel like your relationship has hit a roadblock and communication has become burdensome, set up an appointment today with our intake coordinator, Melinda.




How Can I Improve Communication with My Husband or Wife?

Improving relationship communication isn’t easy, but it is doable with the right steps. If you’ve been researching answers for any of the following challenges, then you’re already on the right path.

  • How do I fix poor communication in my marriage?
  • I don’t know how to communicate with my husband
  • I don’t know how to communicate with my wife

That’s because the first step in any solution to lack of communication in marriage is acknowledging the problem and wanting to solve it. In this blog, we explore ways to communicate better with your partner, whether they’re withdrawn, aggressive, or somewhere in between.

What Causes Poor Communication in a Marriage?

A wide variety of factors can contribute to poor communication in a marriage, including:

  • Lack of dedicated time to communicate one-on-one
  • Unhealed trauma from childhood or past relationships
  • Mental health challenges, like anxiety and depression
  • Lack of healthy and productive communication skills

These contributing factors aren’t always obvious. Sometimes, you may just get the sense that communication with your partner is off. In situations like this, it can help to start with the signs of poor communication and work backwards to find the root cause.

Examples of Poor Communication

Here are some signals that you and your partner need to improve your communication skills:

  • Lack of compromise
  • Consistent interrupting
  • Aggressive communication styles
  • Placing blame
  • Fear of sharing true feelings
  • Assuming the worst intentions from your partner
  • The silent treatment
  • Deflecting difficult conversations with humor

If you notice any of the above signs in your marriage, then there are steps you can take to improve communication with your partner. Fortunately, just because you notice communication challenges doesn’t necessarily mean that your marriage is in danger. Instead, you can take the opportunity to improve communication and your relationship.

Benefits of Healthy Communication

The benefits of healthy communication in a relationship include:

  • Better conflict resolution
  • Increased trust
  • Improved intimacy
  • Lower stress levels
  • Stronger sense of belonging to a team

Not sure where to start? Working with a marriage counselor can provide you and your partner a safe, neutral space to share your perspective. If expressing your feelings isn’t one of your (or your partner’s) strengths, that’s okay, too. At Well Marriage Center, our counselors guide couples through exercises that help you develop healthy communication skills. 

How Do I Deal with My Husband Who Doesn’t Want To Communicate (Or My Wife)?

If your partner doesn’t want to communicate, the first step is to understand why they are avoiding difficult conversations. Here are some common reasons why people shut down during confrontation:

  • They don’t know how to express themselves
  • They’re overwhelmed
  • They don’t want to escalate things or make them worse
  • The misinterpret needs or complaints as blame, and feel like a failure
  • Specific topics of confrontation may be triggers from their past

For many couples, it can be easy to blame gender for certain behaviors that make communication difficult. For example, boys are often raised to ignore vulnerable emotions, according to Psychology Today. These expectations lead to men who repress their feelings and rely on anger and frustration for emotional outlets. On the other hand, women may struggle with expressing their feelings because they can fear being labeled as “emotional” or “hysterical,” states a Forbes article that explores how women’s emotions are perceived in professional settings.

However, while societal expectations on gender and emotional expression can help identify why your partner has difficulty communicating, those expectations don’t tell the full story. Jumping to conclusions like “He doesn’t want to open up because he’s a man,” or “She’s only upset about this because she’s a woman” ignore the unique challenges that your spouse may be experiencing.

Working with a marriage counselor can help you and your partner explore the nuances of your communication barriers. Whether those challenges are from societal pressures, overwhelming responsibilities, underdeveloped communication skills, or other factors, the licensed professionals at Well Marriage Center are here to help improve the communication in your marriage.  

How To Communicate with Your Spouse when Angry

If you and your spouse are angry during a conversation, the most important steps to take are to:

  • Ensure your safety
  • Focus on de-escalation

Shouting matches can be frightening, and if either you or your spouse feel in danger, then effective communication will be impossible. If necessary, create physical space between you and your partner. Going to separate rooms may be enough, or one of you may need to leave the house for a walk or drive. In extreme cases, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233. More resources on our crisis links page here.)

When you feel safe, work on de-escalating the confrontation. During a shouting match, it’s natural to want to outdo your spouse and place blame or scream personal attacks. While doing so may release pent-up frustration in the short-term, it will only cause further challenges in the long-term. Instead, try to steer the conversation back to the problem rather than at one another. It’s also important to recognize how you and your partner process emotions. You may only need a few minutes to recenter, but your partner may need to sleep on it before they’re ready to revisit the conversation.

Setting aside time and space to have difficult conversations can also help prevent outbursts because you are both starting from a place of cooperation rather than a fight. Working with a marriage counselor is an effective way to work through challenges and build healthy communication skills in a safe, guided space.  

How To Start Communicating with Your Spouse Again

Improving communication with your spouse takes intentional effort from both people, and the following communication exercises for teams can be a great place to start:

  • Transition away from blaming your partner and express yourself with “I” statements
  • Give your partner several minutes at a time to express themselves to minimize interruptions
  • Include time for positive, light-hearted conversations so every interaction isn’t associated with hard work
  • Schedule regular time for difficult conversations so you have time to gather your thoughts
  • Get away from the distractions of your house to place focus on you, your partner, and the challenges you want to overcome together

At Well Marriage Center, we use these techniques and more to help you and your spouse find common ground again. We take a marriage-first approach, meaning that our goal is to guide you toward a happier and healthier relationship. Schedule an appointment and start improving communication in your marriage. 





Why Do Men Struggle to Communicate?

Have you ever found yourself wondering why your husband or boyfriend can’t communicate well? Odds are that you have, and that’s completely normal. The fact is that communication is hard for people of all genders. This is especially true in romantic relationships where emotional vulnerability and communication are intertwined with jobs, kids, illness, and the everyday stressors of life.

And while everyone sometimes struggles with relationship communication, stereotypes tell us that men—more than anyone else—have difficulty expressing themselves. Is there any truth to these stereotypes? If so, why do men find it difficult to communicate? And perhaps most importantly, is there a solution to lack of communication in a marriage or relationship—regardless of who is struggling? We explore these questions below.

Why Do Men Struggle to Talk About Their Feelings?

Some men do find it difficult to talk openly about how they feel; while the reasons why are vast and complex, alexithymia and gender norms around masculinity may play a role. 

  • Alexithymia is the term used to describe those individuals who find it challenging to understand, process, and share their feelings and emotions. And while anyone can deal with this, it is more common among men. In fact, the term normative male alexithymia is a specific subclass of alexithymia where boys and men have difficulty expressing emotion—largely because of societal expectations.
  • Gender norms and cultural expectations around masculinity may also play a role in why some men struggle to communicate. Especially in the United States and in other western European countries, women are often expected to show a greater range of emotions than men. Meanwhile, male emotional suppression is a relatively common cultural norm. 

With that said, anyone—of any gender—may find it difficult to communicate and express themselves for any number of reasons. Whether you’re working through communication difficulties on your own or with the help of a licensed couples therapist, it’s typically more helpful to get to the root cause of the issue rather than jumping to stereotypes about male vs female communication in relationships. In the rest of this article, we’ll explore themes around why anyone may struggle with relationship communication and what to do about it.

What Causes Lack of Communication in a Relationship?

There are several reasons why communication breaks down in a relationship, and some of the most common include stress, poor listening skills, unhealthy communication patterns, and a lack of trust or intimacy.

  • Life Stressors: Sometimes, a lack of communication or poor communication is attributed to stress. If you and your partner are busy with work, kids, and other emotionally-draining responsibilities, it becomes easy to de-prioritize communication. 
  • Poor Listening Skills: If you or your partner doesn’t feel validated and heard, it may result in misunderstanding or frustration. These issues can cause communication to break down.
  • Unhealthy Communication: Damaging kinds of communication, like criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling may cause you or your partner to become hesitant to communicate.
  • Lack of Trust or Intimacy: Trust, intimacy, vulnerability, and transparency are hallmarks of a good relationship. When one or more of these disappears, communication may become strained.

Fortunately, it’s more than possible to improve you and your partner’s communication. With dedication and the right strategies, your relationship can flourish and become stronger than ever.

What to Do When You Can’t Communicate With Your Partner

When you’re struggling to communicate in your relationship, it’s critical to recognize the issues that you and your partner are facing so you can intentionally work toward improvement. The following tips and strategies can help you on your journey toward healthy, open communication with one another.

  • Be Honest and Vulnerable: These are some of the most important aspects of a relationship. When you and your partner communicate, practice honesty and vulnerability. Not only does this enable you both to better understand the struggles and concerns you’re facing, but it builds trust and intimacy. 
  • Practice Active Listening: As you’re communicating with your partner, practice active listening. Make a dedicated effort to truly hear what they are saying. Avoid interrupting them or thinking through your responses as they speak. Simply listen in the moment. Some couples find reflective listening useful, which is when you repeat what your partner has said back to them, in your own words. 
  • Set Clear Boundaries and Expectations: What do you expect of your partner, and what boundaries are important to each of you? You can discuss overall expectations and boundaries in your relationship as well as those that are specific to communication. Communicating clearly and honestly about these can help avoid frustration and misunderstandings, especially during tense discussions.
  • Check In With Each Other: While scheduling a check-in may seem silly, setting aside time to see how the other person is doing, identify any concerns, and just talk about your relationship is important. This process allows you to dedicate time toward growing your partnership, and it can reduce the possibility of built-up tension or resentment.
  • Attend Couples Therapy: We all need help sometimes, and even the strongest relationships benefit from talking to a professional. At Well Marriage Center, our licensed therapists are experts in relationship communication. They work with couples to identify communication blockers and healthy ways to move forward.

Well Marriage Center: Building Bridges to Better Communication

Relationships are hard work, and when communication breaks down—for whatever reason—the path forward can feel rocky at best. But that’s where our counselors at Well Marriage Center can help. Our team practices a marriage-positive, strengths-based approach to counseling to help you and your partner create a path toward a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.

At Well Marriage Center, we offer in-person and virtual counseling for couples looking to improve their communication and rejuvenate their relationship. Reach out today to get started.





How Can I Improve Communication in My Marriage?

If you’re looking for ways to improve communication with your partner, then you’re in the right place. Here we cover the stresses that relationships place on effective communication and how you and your spouse can rekindle healthy conversations. There’s also specific exercises and steps to get you started on the right path.

How to Improve Your Marital Communication

For many married couples, structure and commitment are the keys to rebuilding healthy communication. Renewing clear and effective dialogue can be a difficult process, which is why these qualities are so important. Make it easier to stay consistent with your efforts by:

  • Choosing a specific space for difficult conversations
  • Setting aside a dedicated portion of your day
  • Working with a marriage counselor

Rebuilding communication in a relationship also takes intentional effort. You and your partner need to both be committed to the process. Communication is inherently tied to other challenges in a relationship, and making progress will involve many difficult conversations. These challenges are another reason why working with a marriage counselor, like our specialists at Well Marriage Center, can help make the process more engaging and effective. Marriage counselors provide:

  • A safe, neutral space for even the most difficult conversations
  • Mediation to guide discussions in a productive direction
  • Communication exercises tailored for your relationship dynamic    

While this may sound rigid, there are plenty of fun ways to communicate with your spouse! Many of the following marriage communication exercises are part of couples counseling, and you can also try them at home to start reigniting conversations:

  • Start a shared journal or scrapbook. This activity will serve as a fun way for you and your partner to record exciting memories or challenges that you worked through as a team. Sometimes, writing down your feelings is easier than saying them out loud, which is another benefit of this exercise.
  • Have date nights away from the pressures and routines of your daily lives. Dates will give you and your partner time and space to reconnect without worrying about the mess on the kitchen table or who’s turn it is to get the sock back from your dog. In a relaxed setting, you will both feel more comfortable about sharing your feelings.
  • Share music or other media that you’re passionate about. Doing so opens up an opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level. Your partner’s favorite song at the moment may reveal a lot more about how they’re feeling than a routine conversation ever could.
  • Take a walk together. Just like scheduling a date night outside of the house, taking a walk together is a great way to remove distractions from your environment. And, it’s free and easy to do! The American Psychological Association also published data on how regular, moderate exercise can improve mental health (which also makes communication easier).


What Does Healthy Communication in Marriage Look Like?

The journey of improving communication in a marriage is a work in progress, but it’s also one worth making! Like any journey, it helps to have a guide. So, what is effective communication in a marriage? Positive relationship communication often looks like:

  • Listening to understand instead of just responding
  • Accepting responsibility
  • Prioritizing solving problems over placing blame

However, sometimes it’s easier to notice the signs of bad communication in a relationship. These might include:

  • Reacting with blame or defensivenessGetting constantly distracted
  • Avoiding difficult conversations
  • Using aggressive or intentionally hurtful language

The Importance of Healthy Communication in Relationships

Healthy communication is so essential to the success of a marriage, or any relationship, because it allows couples to work together to overcome obstacles, set goals, express needs, and define expectations – when communication breaks down, these things don’t happen. Sometimes, it leads to every conversation becoming an argument and healthy communication loses out to passive aggressive orders, passing blame, and the silent treatment.

Understandably, married couples are concerned when once loving interactions become filled with combative statements.

Are there statistics on how many marriages fail because of a lack of communication? Studies vary on the exact percentage, but most agree that poor communication is responsible for over 50% of failed marriages. This consensus is supported by evidence collected over 50 years of study, which points to contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling as the most significant predictors of a failing relationship.

These numbers may seem intimidating, but there is hope if you’re experiencing poor communication in your relationship. At Well Marriage Center, we believe that couples can revitalize positive communication because we’ve seen it time and time again.  

What Causes a Lack of Communication in a Marriage?

Lack of communication in a relationship is often tied to other, larger issues. When external pressures—like bills, career responsibilities, and unequal household chores—build up, they can cause frustration that seeps into conversations between spouses. Sometimes, marriage can start to feel like living with a coworker or roommate because there are so many tasks to complete. If you’re experiencing this, it’s extra important to make time for conversations that extend beyond your to-do list. 

Mental health challenges—like anxiety, depression, and childhood trauma—can also make it more difficult for partners to open up about their own feelings or trust each other. In these situations, difficult and even exciting conversations with your partner can become overwhelming. Instead of facing the world together, one or both partners may find themselves avoiding confrontation. Working with a marriage counselor can help because sessions don’t just work on improving communication; they also get to the root cause of communication barriers. 

Ready to start putting in the work for a healthier, more connected relationship? At Well Marriage Center, we’re prepared to help you through the challenges, the fun, and everything in between when it comes to rebuilding communication in your marriage. We believe in things that last, meaning we work with you to preserve your marriage. We celebrate what made it great in the first place and look for ways to help you and your partner enjoy more of those moments. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.  




What Is Healthy Communication in a Marriage?

If you’re looking for advice on relationship communication, you might also know some of the telltale signs of bad communication in a relationship: constant fights, lack of respect, or stonewalling. But what about the signs of healthy communication? With the importance of communication in marriage being so critical, it’s valuable to know when you and your partner are doing things right—or when you might need a little work. So what is effective communication in marriage? Let’s look at good examples of communication and some solutions, like marriage counseling, that might help it get even better. 

What Are the Qualities of Good Communication in Marriage?

Good communication in a marriage can look different for every couple, but ultimately it comes down to being respectful of your partner and being clear about your own feelings and needs. However, there are some signs of effective communication in a marriage you should always look for in your relationship.

  1. Listen to your partner when they’re speaking—and don’t interrupt! It can be easy to listen to respond, rather than listen to understand. But when you take the time to hear what your partner is saying, you can give them the space they need to clearly explain their wants, needs, and concerns.

    Tip: You can show your partner you’re actively listening by maintaining eye contact and nodding your head rather than being distracted by technology or a wandering mind. Alternatively, you can repeat their point back in your own words to show you understand and create a moment to clarify any misunderstandings.
  2. Think before you speak, even in moments of frustration or hurt. It can be easy to say the wrong thing if you respond reactively. However, it’s important to take a step back and think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Remember, after you say something you can’t take it back. If you say something hurtful, it can be hard to redeem yourself. You should express your negative feelings in a constructive way.

    Tip: Communicate with your partner about how you’re feeling during tense conversations. Avoid attacks or malicious responses.
  3. Talk about small things—good or bad! It’s important to have conversations about your day, what’s new and exciting, or what’s got you down (and not always the big-picture stuff). Nobody wants to talk about serious topics all of the time. In fact, talking about fun things is fun in its own right! Having these conversations can help reaffirm your connection with one another.

    Tip: Asking about your partner’s day is a great way to show them you care.
  4. Be aware of body language and non-verbal cues. Understanding both your and your partner’s body language can help you adjust the way you approach a conversation. How are you and your partner showing your emotions? Are you guarded with your arms crossed? Or are you leaning in and listening to your partner attentively?

    Tip: Make sure you take your partner’s non-verbal cues into consideration when having a conversation.
  5. Express gratitude on a regular basis. It always feels nice to know you’re loved and appreciated by your partner. By communicating your gratitude regularly, you can give your partner confidence and security in your relationship. Not only that, but it will help you both focus on the good things about your marriage and strengthen your connection.

    Tip: Tell your partner one thing you appreciate or admire about them every day.

Of course, there are several more qualities of effective communication in a relationship. It’s all about giving each other the space you need to feel comfortable expressing your feelings. It’s okay if you and your spouse don’t always understand each other—sometimes things get in the way. However, poor communication can be a sign of a deeper issue, but there are ways to help you navigate the root of the problem. For example, marriage counseling at Well Marriage Center can help you refocus your marriage on your strengths, rather than what’s holding you back.

What Is the Importance of Communication in a Marriage?

Effective communication enables couples to establish trust, resolve conflicts, share their needs, and forge a deep emotional connection. With open and honest communication, you and your partner can gain a greater understanding of one another, which means greater trust and intimacy. You can also feel more connected to your partner by expressing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a safe and encouraging environment. 

Conflict resolution is also an important skill for marriage. Of course, arguments are bound to happen in every relationship and they can even be healthy, but good communication can help you and your spouse reach respectful and constructive outcomes. This includes clarifying expectations with your partner to avoid misunderstandings. By communicating in the most straightforward way possible, partners may steer clear of assumptions that would otherwise cause arguments and uncertainty.

Overall, if you and your partner prioritize communication, you can establish a lasting and rewarding connection that can last a lifetime. But making communication a priority also comes with exploring the possibility of more in-depth relationship concerns, like lack of intimacy or conflicting approaches to finances. You can address those concerns by reaching out to professionals like us at Well Marriage Center. You and your partner can dig into the problems you’re facing by focusing on what’s working in your relationship. Building a solid foundation on your strengths gives you a well rounded perspective on how you communicate with your partner.

What Is One Way to Create Healthy Communication in a Marriage?

If you feel like you’re having difficulty communicating in a healthy way with your partner, or just want to make a good marriage stronger, it might be time to consider a solution like marriage counseling. Attending couples therapy doesn’t mean your marriage is unsuccessful—or that you’re alone. In fact, about 50% of couples try counseling at some point in their marriage. 

If you’re looking to rejuvenate your marriage, Well Marriage Center provides a strengths-based approach to counseling. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your marriage—and communication—we help you restore your relationship based on your successes. You’ll also get marriage communication tools to help strengthen your connection. If you’d like to deepen your relationship, connect with our intake coordinator, Melinda, and get started on your counseling journey!




What Causes Lack of Communication in a Relationship?

Couples sometimes struggle with communication, but what do you do when it becomes a pattern? It can feel frustrating, or even demoralizing to struggle with relationship communication, especially when you can’t figure out what’s causing it. While every relationship has its own challenges, there are a few common signs of bad communication in a relationship. The good news is that all of them have solutions.

At Well Marriage Center, we love helping relationships thrive. Let’s take a look at some ways people—and couples—struggle with communicating. We’ll also examine some of the ways a therapist could help you improve communication with your partner.

Why Do People Struggle With Communication Skills?

The short answer is: it’s complicated. Truthfully, there are a lot of factors that impact communication skills, and each of those factors affects people in different ways. Most of them, though, can be boiled down to a few basic concepts. Every person:

  • Learns to communicate (or not communicate) differently
  • Has different needs, and relationships with those needs
  • Receives each type of communication differently
  • Possesses varying degrees of natural social skill

Since each person is unique (as are their life experiences) it’s easy to see how quickly communication between two people can become challenging. This is especially true in a romantic partnership. When two people become a couple, they each bring their personal formula of communication to the table, and chances are those formulas are very different. What’s more, their gaps in communication may not be apparent at first; the reasons for lack of communication in a relationship are not always the stereotypical fighting or silent treatments. Poor communication can also be dynamics that long go unnoticed, or an inability to express needs. And if either partner has not done the therapeutic work of understanding their patterns or behaviors, this can make bridging communication gaps even more challenging.

So, when it comes to couples communication, there are a lot of moving parts. But what are the most common causes of communication difficulties in a relationship? Let’s take a look.

What Causes Poor Communication in a Relationship?

When there is no communication in a relationship, or the communication feels like a challenge, it’s usually because of one (or both) of the partners is struggling with at least one of the following skill sets:

  • Understanding Communication Styles
  • Solving Relationship Conflicts
  • Expressing Unmet Needs
  • Processing External Stress

Let’s take a look at each of these, and how a therapist can help with each skill set.

Understanding Communication Styles

There are four basic styles of communicating: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. It’s important to not just understand which of these is your default, communication habit, but how your partner communicates as well. This is because each pairing of communication styles sets a tone for different relationship dynamics. If you don’t understand your partner’s communication style (or your own), you’re set up to run into the same kind of trouble over and over again.

How do couples find common ground in communication styles? Ideally, each partner should shoot for assertive communication. When you are assertive, you’re able to boldly express yourself, while giving your partner space to do the same. It also involves respecting your partner’s feelings and concerns. Therapists help couples understand not just what it means to be more assertive, but also how to practice assertive communication in a relationship. This can include tools like “I” statements, which focus on expressing frustration through a lens of feeling, as opposed to a lens of criticism (i.e. “I feel uncomfortable when we don’t talk” versus “You never want to talk about anything”).

Solving Relationship Conflicts

Every relationship has conflict. More than that, every healthy relationship should have conflict on occasion. Conflict, when handled well, can encourage growth, empathy, and an enriched perspective. But the sad reality is that everyone learns different meanings for conflict, a lot of which occurs early in life. For example, people with abandonment issues may fear conflict because to them, it is a sign of impending doom. Conversely, those who grew up in an abusive household may subconsciously associate unhealthy conflict with expressing love, and thus seek out conflict to feel loved.

Therapists show partners how their individual perceptions of conflict play out in the relationship. They may even work in one-on-one sessions with each person to better process conflict, so that when the couple rejoins, there is a better chance of positive resolution. Knowing your partner’s feelings around conflict—and what will trigger an emotional response in them—is key to improving communication.

Expressing Unmet Needs

There may come times in relationships where one partner is not getting what they want or need from the other. Unfortunately, not everyone can clearly express when this happens, and not everyone who can express it does so in a healthy way. On top of that, since everyone receives communication differently, the other partner may either be triggered by the need or may simply not be getting the message—even if it’s clear.

With that, though, it’s important to understand that what seems like “clear communication” to you may not be so clear to your partner. People cannot read minds, and may misunderstand subtle signals, which is why assertive communication is a valuable skill in relationships. Additionally, if you never tell your partner what your needs are, they cannot be there for you. This is another place where therapy helps not just the relationship, but the individual; asking for what you want is an important life skill in general, but it also makes relationships far more fulfilling. People struggle with sharing their needs for a variety of reasons—whether it’s low self-esteem, traumatic events, or expecting their partner to “just know them”—and a good therapist knows how to work with each of these.

Processing External Stress

Life can throw any number of challenges at us—some big, and some small. But no matter what they are, the stressors in our lives impact all of our relationships, including romantic ones. When things become hard for one or both partners, they must come together and support each other through whatever difficulties arise. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy, as stress can cloud our judgment and make us more reactive, which adds tension to our relationships.

When you’re struggling with life, it’s a good idea to have a therapist—whether you’re in a relationship or not. But it’s especially important for relationships because in addition to your own well-being, you have to look out for the well-being of your partner and the shared bond you two have built together.

Practice Effective Communication With Well Marriage

Whether your relationship is struggling or thriving, it can benefit from improved communication skills. At Well Marriage, our therapists are trained in a variety of tactics, tools, and techniques to enrich any couple’s partnership and help them grow closer. If you’re interested in how therapy can make your love stronger than it’s ever been, please reach out to us and schedule an appointment today.



Signs of Bad Communication in a Relationship (And What To Do About It)

Communication is often listed as the most important piece of any relationship, romantic or otherwise. Another less-known (and less-fortunate) truth is that while communicating is easy, communicating well is hard. Everyone learns to communicate—or not communicate—differently, much of which happens in our developmental years. And while our individual means of communication may seem natural to us, they aren’t always natural to others, and vice versa.

This, among other reasons, is why communication is maybe the most challenging part of a romantic partnership. Poor communication is often the root of many relationship issues, and can oftentimes go unnoticed until it boils into a larger problem. If you found yourself reading this, you’re likely dealing with communication problems in your relationship. You may be asking yourself questions like:

  • Why do I struggle to communicate with my partner?
  • Why does it feel like my partner and I are speaking different languages?
  • Why won’t my partner openly communicate with me?
  • Is it true that lack of communication in a marriage leads to divorce?

While this can be a painful experience, the good news is that you’re not alone. The even better news is that with a little intention, a bit of teamwork, and some help from a professional, you can drastically improve your communication skills as a couple. And Well Marriage Center is here to help you take those first steps. Below, we’ll cover some common communication pitfalls, what good communication looks like, and some steps you can take alongside your partner (and a therapist) toward a better partnership.

Is Lack of Communication a Reason to Break Up?

It doesn’t have to be! If you and your partner are willing to make changes together, communication patterns can be improved. Usually, when there is no communication in a relationship, it’s a sign that either one or both partners’ needs aren’t being met, feelings aren’t being expressed, or a partner isn’t feeling listened to. These are all things you can work on. And with the help of a therapist, it becomes much easier. Having the outside perspective of a therapist also helps to identify some negative patterns couples often face when communicating.

What Does Toxic Communication Look Like?

If you and your partner are struggling with communication, you’ll likely see one or more of the “Four Horsemen” in your relationship. Discovered by expert John Gottman, these four toxic communication patterns, if allowed to persist, prove very detrimental to a partnership:


  • Criticism | Verbally attacking someone on a personal level, rather than addressing the real issue
  • Contempt | Intentional, sometimes passive-aggressive, expressions of disrespect
  • Defensiveness | Avoiding responsibility for a problem or listening, usually by “playing the victim”
  • Stonewalling | Complete withdrawal from the relationship, effectively stopping communications


While the presence of all Four Horsemen at once is a high predictor of separation, having one pop up in your relationship does not doom your chances. Many times, people that communicate in these ways don’t realize they’re doing it, or may not even have control of it. Therapists like those at Well Marriage commonly deal with these patterns in couples, and will help identify solutions tailored to the couple’s unique situation. Let’s look at each of the Four Horsemen in detail, including some unhealthy ways to communicate during a disagreement—and healthier alternatives for them.

The First Horseman: Criticism

It’s completely normal to get frustrated, or even angry with things your partner does. Maybe you can’t stand how they load the dishwasher, or maybe they forget it’s your birthday. While it’s healthy to express frustration, it’s problematic when that frustration is directed at the person, rather than the behavior. If criticism does not address the actual issue, the criticized partner can feel blindsided, leading them to Defensiveness (the Third Horseman).

When a partner is angry about something their lover has done (or not done), it’s important to focus on expressing feelings rather than attacking. You do this by mainly using “I” statements, as opposed to “you” statements. When we criticize, we are projecting a meaning onto our partner’s actions or inactions, and that meaning is usually more of a reflection on us than our partner. As an example, let’s say someone feels they’re not getting enough help from their partner with household chores:

  • Instead of: “You never help me clean up around here; you’re so lazy and selfish!”
  • Try: “I get really frustrated when you don’t help me clean up the house.”

The Second Horseman: Contempt

Usually caused by long-term, simmering negative emotions, contempt is a driver for active mistreatment of a partner. If you find yourself feeling superior to your partner or “better than” them, contempt is typically the root cause. This can come out as verbal abuse, dismissing their feelings, or mocking them in a passive-aggressive way. Contempt is the single greatest predictor of a breakup, but like all the other horsemen, it can be solved. 

Doing away with contempt requires an intentional, consistent environment of gratitude and respect. That means not only appreciating the great things about your partner when things are going well, but acknowledging what they contribute when you are frustrated with them as well. Oftentimes, contempt is a long-standing pattern that will take time to unravel—something therapists are expertly equipped to handle. Let’s refer back to the household chores example again, but with a solution for contemptuous behavior:

  • Instead of: “Oh, it’s fine—I’ll clean the house again, alone, like I always do. Thanks a lot.” *scoffs*
  • Try: “I know you’ve been really busy lately, but could you please help me today? I’d really appreciate it.”

The Third Horseman: Defensiveness

While this Horseman showing up is often in response to the First Horseman (Criticism), some people are just naturally defensive—usually because of some past trauma they’ve experienced. It’s normal to want to defend yourself when you feel attacked, but the problem is that sometimes, people can feel attacked when a partner is simply trying to express themselves. In this case, defensiveness is, for lack of a better term, a defense mechanism against accepting responsibility or listening to a partner communicate.

A relationship where your guard is always up doesn’t allow for vulnerability, connection, or intimacy. On top of that, being defensive is really just a roundabout way of placing blame back on the other partner. Whenever you’re feeling defensive, it’s always a good idea to check in and see where it’s coming from. Sometimes, it’s absolutely warranted, like if you’re being unjustly accused of something. In many cases, however, a little more empathy and listening will help you lower your guard with your partner. It also usually means accepting responsibility for at least part of the current problem.

Let’s say, in that household chores example, you’re now the partner who hasn’t been helping out. Your partner approaches you one night and says “Hey, I’d really like your help cleaning the kitchen next time. I get really frustrated when I feel like I’ve got to do this alone.”

  • Instead of: “You act as if I never help with anything! I have a job too, you know.”
  • Try: “I’m sorry I didn’t help you. I had a long day at work and just crashed. I’ll help out next time.”

The Fourth Horseman: Stonewalling

The fourth and final Horseman, stonewalling is arguably the most damaging behavior to engage in. When we stonewall, we completely seal ourselves off from our partner—physically, emotionally, and mentally—thus abandoning all attempts to solve the issue at hand. The effects of lack of communication in a relationship are profoundly negative, especially over long periods of time. The effects can leave the other person with lingering self-doubt, isolation, and depression. Thankfully, this behavior isn’t something that is just going to pop up without warning; it typically takes prolonged periods of exposure to the other three Horsemen before stonewalling occurs.

It’s important to be aware of when you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Oftentimes, you can stop a shutdown before it happens by pausing an argument and taking some time to self-soothe. Some topics can be difficult for couples to have rational conversations about, and it’s not always the best idea to press the issue in the moment.

Let’s say the household chores disagreement turns into a heated argument about bandwidth. If you feel like you’re at your emotional limit:

  • Instead of: Shutting down, exploding in a rage, ignoring your partner, or storming out…
  • Say: “Could we take a break and talk about this a little later, please? I’m feeling overwhelmed.”

While the above suggestions can provide a roadmap for the Four Horsemen, fixing communication patterns does not happen overnight, even with genuine effort and intention. To complicate matters even further, there are more than just the Four Horsemen when it comes to communication patterns. A skilled therapist will be knowledgeable about all of the communication pitfalls and able to tailor solutions to your unique situation. 

Truly changing how we communicate takes time, and usually an outside perspective to help maintain objectivity as the relationship improves. This is just one of the many reasons having a therapist by your side can make this so much easier; they can help you navigate these communication patterns and more easily fix problems as they arise.

What Causes Poor Communication in a Relationship?

Each relationship is unique, so the causes for communication issues vary widely. Here are a few common culprits:

  • Unmet Needs | More often than not, this is the primary cause of communication breakdowns: a need that is not being fulfilled for one or both partners. These may be needs that the partner themselves has not expressed, perhaps because they don’t even know what they’re longing for. A healthy relationship requires each individual to be aware of what they require in a relationship; after all, how can you ask for what you want if you don’t even know what that is? Some common examples of unmet needs are a lack of quality time, lack of vulnerability between partners, and feelings of insecurity or jealousy.

  • Past Traumas | Therapists will often speak ad-nauseam about how “everything goes back to your childhood,” but that’s because there is a lot of truth in that statement—particularly when talking about communication. As children, we adapt to the patterns around us that best meet our needs for survival, and those patterns aren’t always healthy to carry into adulthood. This is not to place blame on ourselves or even our parents, but it’s our responsibility as healthy romantic partners to understand how our upbringing has shaped us. Perhaps your partner communicates in a way that an abusive parent communicated to you as a child, but they don’t realize it. If you don’t realize the problem either, it becomes a lot harder to pinpoint, much less solve.

  • External Stressors | Like the saying goes, “life happens.” Any number of unexpected events can add a huge amount of stress to our lives, which inevitably affects how we relate to others. That stress doesn’t always have to be negative events, either; positive life events like a new job or even a wedding can add abnormal amounts of stress. In these times, it’s more important than ever to be mindful in establishing good communication patterns.

  • Unhealthy Communication Styles | As we discussed earlier, there are many unhealthy ways to communicate that damage future efforts to share between partners. Contemptuous behavior, disregarding feelings, or bottling up problems until they explode are just a few ways that partners damage their relationships. To reiterate, having these issues does not mean the relationship can’t be saved; it just means there is a need for more intentional communication, and likely the help of an experienced professional. 

What Is Good Communication Between Couples?

Since each relationship is different, “good” communication will look different for each couple. That said, here are a few general guidelines you can apply, all of which a therapist can give you tools for:

  • Be aware of your own needs, feelings, and shortcomings in communication—we all have them!
  • Talk about things through a lens of how they make you feel.
  • When frustrated with your partner, focus on their behavior—not their character.
  • Listen to your partner, even when you don’t agree with them. There can be two valid viewpoints to any situation.

Well Marriage Center: Communication Is (Your) Key

If you’re wondering how to communicate better with your spouse or romantic partner, Well Marriage Center is here to help. Our therapists are experts in developing positive communication patterns for couples and can give you a variety of ways to improve communication in a relationship. We truly believe that any partnership can be improved, if both partners are willing to work together. No matter where you are in your relationship or what patterns you are seeing, no problem is too big to be solved.

Reach out to us anytime and schedule an appointment. We’ll be here when you’re ready.




Can a Relationship Last Without Communication?

We’ve all been there. We’ve had romantic relationships where it feels as though there is some sort of disconnect between ourselves and our partner. Our relationship communication turns disjointed, sometimes even nonexistent or aggressive, and it can create a separation. Some couples are able to work through these issues while others feel they have to call it quits. Before reaching that breaking point, you and your partner can take steps to remediate your problems.

In this blog, we discuss what causes communication issues and how to fix communication in your relationship. We’ll also recommend a couples therapy center with experts who ask more than the surface level couples therapy communication questions.

What Causes a Lack of Communication in Marriage and Other Romantic Relationships?

Most, if not all, causes of a lack of communication in a relationship stem from deeper issues, including:

  • Different communication styles: Different people have varying types of communication in relationships. Some are direct, some only hint at their feelings, and still others may come off as overpowering. Individuals even have different ways of showing and feeling love. Disparate communication styles can warp messages in translation, leaving partners feeling unheard.
  • Unmet needs: This issue goes hand-in-hand with having different communication styles. Individuals who feel as though their significant other isn’t providing what they need in a relationship may start to distance themselves. This, in turn, will result in even less communication between partners.
  • Jealousy: When you or your partner feel hostility towards the other person for spending time or communicating with friends and colleagues, it can lead to anger or resentment. You may end up building walls in your relationship and blocking communication.
  • Prior trauma: Our past experiences often affect how we act and communicate in the present. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.” It really means that no matter what you’ve thought you’ve overcome, your weakest moments can remind you of those previous experiences. When you sense trouble in your relationship, you may remember your past (or subconsciously be re-enacting it) and use defense mechanisms or negative coping strategies that result in a lack of communication.

These are only a few examples of problems that lead to poor communication in relationships. With a specialized couples therapist like ours at Well Marriage Center, you can spot and uproot those problems to plant healthier communication into your relationship.

Can a Relationship Survive Without Communication?

As hard as it may be to hear, a relationship cannot survive without communication. It leaves you and your partner feeling isolated, angry, and sad. It can turn the smallest disagreements into the biggest arguments. It may even cause you to question why you two are in a relationship in the first place.

Just because your relationship may lack communication now doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. No matter how long you and your partner have struggled talking to each other, you can turn it around and start fresh by taking the appropriate steps and accepting help from a professional when needed.

How to Deal With No Communication in a Relationship

Rather than learning to deal with a lack of communication, you should instead find ways to improve communication in your relationship. There are a few key actions you can take to accomplish that goal:


  • Kickstart communication. Sometimes leaving your home to talk or setting aside designated time to have a conversation can ensure that you explore those deeper questions and concerns that you need to discuss with one another.

  • Listen to one another. That means without distractions and without trying to decide what you want to say next. Engage with your significant other, and show them that you understand what they’re saying. Ask questions as necessary to better understand the message they want to get across. You may even repeat back what they said to you to make sure you comprehended them correctly.

  • Empathize with the other person. When your significant other is expressing their feelings, avoid putting on a defensive air. Instead, work to understand their point of view, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.

  • Work as a team. Odds are that you both played a part in the lack of communication in your relationship. Take responsibility for what you might have done to contribute to the issues and move forward. Since your relationship is, in fact, a partnership, you both need to work together to uncover and unravel any deeper issues that may have gotten you to where you are. 

  • Talk to a marriage counselor or couples therapist. Working with relationship-friendly professionals (experts whose first solution isn’t separation or divorce) like those at Well Marriage Center can give you the safe space, communication skills advice, and the knowledge you need to discover your deeper problems and work through them together as opposed to against one another.

Take Steps Towards Improved Communication at Well Marriage Center

We at Well Marriage Center want to see your relationship succeed as much as you do. That’s why instead of going through some of the typical communication exercises you might expect from online tips or self-help books, you will experience more meaningful questions and deeper conversations to find what’s really causing the poor communication in your relationship. With our experience and expertise working with couples, you’ll have the opportunity to build a relationship stronger than ever. To get started, contact our intake coordinator or schedule online.

How Does Couples Therapy Improve Communication?

Strong relationship communication is one of the most valuable and desirable traits that couples seek in their marriage. There’s a wealth of information regarding couples therapy communication questions and how to apply them to your marriage. However, does couples therapy actually work to fix communication issues? It can—if both parties are willing to put in the work. With that in mind, let’s talk about improving communication skills and what to do when you can’t communicate with your partner. We’ll also answer questions like, “How do you fill the communication gap between couples?” 

Can Couples Therapy Help with Communication?

Yes! The good news is couples therapy can help you and your partner work through any communication issues you may be facing in your relationship. In fact, learning how to communicate successfully with one another is one of the main goals of couples counseling. Poor communication is usually the crux of many relationship issues since it can cause misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and even anxiety. That’s why strong communication is fundamental to the success of a marriage! 

Of course, every couple faces different challenges, but what are some of the most common signs of bad communication in a relationship?

  • Listening to respond, rather than listening to understand
  • Responding reactively with your emotions rather than rationally
  • Raising your voice or yelling instead of talking in a calm voice
  • Showing negative non-verbal communication like facial expressions and body language
  • Blaming your partner for anything that goes wrong
  • Not taking a break when things get heated
  • Withdrawing from hard conversations

Understanding how you communicate with your spouse is essential to clearly voice any concerns you may have. It’s also important to remain open and vulnerable with your partner, which can be more difficult if one of you is following the patterns listed above. But you might be surprised to learn that communication is not typically the underlying cause of relationship problems. Often communication suffers when there is a loss of trust, a different set of priorities, and a lack of intimacy—among other things. 

So if you’re wondering how to fix communication in a relationship, couples therapy can help. Licensed couples therapists, like those at Well Marriage Center, will help you focus on the root causes of your relationship problems and introduce healthy communication styles. During couples therapy, your therapist will be there to support you and your partner. They do this by encouraging you to be confident in your feelings, actively listen to each other, and feel empathy for one another. Your therapist will provide you and your partner with other strategies to communicate while also pointing out ineffective communication habits that might stem from deeper issues. 

In general, couples therapy can help you focus on what is causing the communication problems. We know diving into your feelings can be difficult to talk about. You want to feel safe to be open and honest. But couples counseling can help you and your spouse to improve your communication skills while also providing you with a secure place to talk about sensitive or difficult topics. Your therapist will encourage discussions, assist you in using clearer language, and make sure that both parties feel heard and understood. Ultimately, they give you the tools to bridge any gap, including poor communication.

How Do You Fill the Communication Gap Between Couples?

You can “fill the communication gap” between you and your spouse by making time to communicate using skills like active listening, being honest and direct, and acknowledging difficulties when working through problems. Typically, it’s best to find the cause of these issues, rather than blame it all on communication. Keep in mind that improving communication in a relationship is a continuous process that needs the dedication and effort of both parties. You can create a stronger, deeper, and more fulfilling connection by cooperating and applying efficient communication techniques.

How Can You Improve Communication in a Relationship?

The best way to improve communication with your partner is to invest time in each other, whether through communication exercises or couples therapy. Every couple faces difficulty communicating at some point in their relationship. That’s okay! There are a few communication therapy techniques you can work through with your couples therapist to help make communication between you and your partner better, such as:

  • Practice active listening and understand your partner’s perspective
  • Express your feelings clearly and honestly using “I” statements
  • Be empathetic towards your partner and their feelings
  • Be mindful of nonverbal communication and how your body language expresses your emotions
  • Avoid being defensive and listen to your partner’s concerns
  • Acknowledge your part in any issues you’re facing
  • Find a solution or compromise together

Speaking with a licensed therapist will help you navigate these communication techniques while helping you discover the root of the problem. Has your partner cheated? Are you financially irresponsible? Do you have different parenting styles? What childhood traumas are you each bringing to the table? Each of these concerns can lead to poor communication between you and your spouse. 

If you and your partner need to find your way back to one another, the therapists at Well Marriage Center can help you take a strengths-based approach to your marriage counseling. With the most experienced marriage counselors who have helped thousands of couples, you can find success in your relationship too. If you’d like to learn more, visit our website or set up an appointment with our intake coordinator, Melinda. 



What Are Some Communication Exercises for Couples?

When it comes to relationship communication exercises, it’s important to take your partner’s perspective into consideration. But mending your relationship shouldn’t focus solely on couples therapy communication questions. You should also look at different activities and exercises you can do together to strengthen your bond. So,  what activities can couples do to strengthen their relationship? Let’s take a look at some top examples in this blog.

What Are Some Communication Exercises Couples Can Do Together?

It’s no secret, communication is an important element of a healthy, strong relationship. Unfortunately, communication problems are a common issue between partners, and it can be hard to know what’s causing them. These problems often lead to conflict and even resentment between partners. Thankfully, there are several activities couples can do together to strengthen how they communicate. You and your partner can use these couples’ communication games and exercises to improve your ability to listen, communicate clearly, and deepen your emotional connection with one another.

  • Actively listening without interruption so you can better understand your partner and their perspectives. Giving them space to speak freely while you listen to their needs, concerns, or potential solutions to issues is important. Understanding how they feel and how you can help them will deepen your connection and encourage empathy.
  • Use “I” statements to clearly explain your feelings without blaming the other person. For example, saying “I feel sad and lonely when you’re gone all day because I think it means you don’t want to be around me” rather than “You’re never home!” This “I” statement points out how you feel and doesn’t condemn your partner for what you think they did wrong. 
  • Express gratitude when you appreciate something your partner has done, no matter how small. Simply saying “Thank you for making coffee this morning” or “I appreciate that you cooked dinner” goes a long way in making your partner feel loved and recognized. 
  • Daily or weekly check-ins to help reconnect with your partner when life gets busy. It’s important to set aside time specifically for you and your partner to share how you’re feeling and what’s going on in your life. 
  • Keep a joint journal where you take turns writing notes to each other. This can help you openly express your feelings and gratitude, follow a joint prompt, or even write a gushy love letter. Giving yourself a safe space to share with your partner will help deepen your connection.
  • Use the “Sandwich Method” to clearly request your partner to help with something without being demanding. You “sandwich” your requests or concerns between two positive statements to help show your appreciation, while also encouraging your partner to help. For example, “Thank you for cooking dinner last night. Would you be able to take care of the dishes as well? I know you do so much around the house already, but it would be really helpful.”
  • Get crafty and work together on making something creative and fun. Whether you take an art and wine class or do a photoshoot, you can connect and be active with your partner in exciting new ways.

There are several more relationship exercises for couples communication that you can do to strengthen the connection between you and your spouse. Ultimately, it comes down to dedicating time and effort to your partner. 

If you’re struggling to connect with your partner, consider couples therapy. Going through therapy together doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a couple, but rather you’ll gain the tools you need to address relationship problems head-on. This approach includes learning how to communicate effectively about core issues you’re facing together. If you’re interested in taking steps toward strengthening your marriage, the licensed therapists at Well Marriage Center are here to help.

5 Examples of Communication Exercises 

1. Mirror & Switch. Periodically “checking in” where one partner starts with a series of statements about the relationship. Their partner mirrors back their answer to them, to show they understand and hear the statement. This focuses on hearing each other instead of responding to each other. The mirroring is a brain exercise. If I’m mirroring you, I must remember what you’re sharing. It greatly assists in reducing reactivity, eliminates arguments, and shows their partner they are heard.


“Something I appreciate about you is…(your kindness to others.)”

Partner mirrors… “You appreciate…(that I’m kind to other people)”

“Where I am in our relationship is…”

Partner mirrors, “Where you are in our relationship is…”

“What I’d like to work on today is…”

Partner mirrors, “today you’d like to work on…”

Then they would switch and the other would fill in their answers.


2. Dialogue vs. Debate. Couples try to reframe things as dialogue instead of as a debate. You want to listen, understand your goal, ask questions, and accept each other’s experiences. It can be helpful to write out your point before bringing it to your partner. Write out your initial point, then try to reword and reframe your point until it fits more into the “dialogue” category. 



  • Goal = understanding (the relationship wins)
  • Listening = happens before talking
  • Concentrate on the other person, validate them, and see them as strong


  • Goal = winning (usually both of you lose)
  • Not Listening = counter what they say and ask questions to trip them up
  • Concentrate on making points, criticizing them, and see them as weak


3. “I Statements”. One of the most basic communication skills to use in problem-solving and goes along well with the mirroring exercise. “I Statements” are primarily about “me” and only secondarily about “you” with no blame on the other person. 


“I feel _______ When _______ Because _______ and sometimes include “what I want/need”

I feel sad when you pull away from me because I want to be closer to you

I feel frustrated when you tell me to do _______, I want trusted to start it myself


4. Reflective Listening. Focus on accurately hearing the other person and then saying it back so they know you head them. Listen, validate, ask for what you want, search for win-win solutions where each gets something, and be present in the conversation. Something you could also try is to ask your partner to only listen to you and not say anything back for at least 24 hours to give more time for reflection.


“If I’m hearing you right, you’re feeling upset at me for not ‘believing’ … you want to feel trusted”


5. Basic Conflict Resolution (Problem- Solving) Strategies. There are a variety of other strategies to use to help you problem-solve. 


  • Solution counter-solution technique – write down all suggested solutions till agreement is reached
  • Change roles and argue the other person’s position – can build empathy and understanding
  • Barter – this is often better than pure compromise and is a form of compromise
  • Avoid starting with a negative/critical comment – stay away from blaming using the words always or never
  • Be specific about what is bothering you – deal with one issue at a time and don’t bring up other issues
  • Use a talking stick or another object while talking to help take turns 
  • Take breaks when needed and give time to return – possibly do an argument autopsy several days later

What Can Couples Do to Improve Communication?

The best way to improve communication between you and your partner is to find the root of the problem. Whether there’s a lack of trust or disagreements on significant issues like children or finances, poor communication is often an unfortunate byproduct. While you might be able to work through these concerns together, couples therapy may be able to help if you’re still experiencing issues. 

One of the main advantages of therapy is having the ability to share your thoughts and emotions in a safe and supportive setting. There’s no need to worry about being judged in your sessions. The therapists at Well Marriage Center can guide you in understanding one another’s perspectives and goals. Couples can discover new communication techniques and couples’ communication questions in treatment, such as active listening skills and other helpful techniques. We also focus on strengths-based therapy, which highlights your successes as a couple rather than what you’re struggling with. 

These techniques can improve your communication inside and outside of therapy sessions. If you would like to deepen your bond and strengthen your relationship, visit our website today or get in contact with our intake coordinator, Melinda. A brighter future of stronger communication awaits!