Barriers to Effective Communication in Marriage

There are barriers to effective communication in marriage. If you deny the fact that you and your partner are experiencing communication problems, you may be surprised when the relationship blows up, proving to be too far gone for repair. You'll want to work on keeping the lines of communication open so you can work through problems in your marriage while they are small, before they get overwhelming. Try these tips for knocking down barriers to effective communication:

Broach Touchy Topics Gently
It's easy to start an argument by complaining or making a nasty jab about something, but your angry comment will set the tone for a fight, not a productive discussion. If you are displeased with something your spouse has done, bring it up gently. Tell your partner how you feel and what you wish he or she would do differently next time. Give your partner time to explain what he or she was thinking and why he or she thought the behavior was appropriate, then explain why you feel it was not appropriate. Remain calm and try to keep the focus on finding a solution, not assigning blame. Placing blame is one of the top barriers to effective communication.

Assume the Best
As you discuss a difficult topic, try to assume the best about your partner. Look for signs that your partner intended well and recognize the fact that miscommunication can cause serious and hurtful misunderstandings. Refute angry, contemptuous thoughts with memories of times when your partner proved to be on your side. Avoid barriers to effective communication by giving your partner a chance to explain his or her side of things and look for common ground.

Take a Time Out When Tempers Run High
It's worth it to take time apart when you are tempted to say things that will cause irreparable damage to the relationship. Ask for a specific amount of time to think about what angered you so, what you need from your partner in order to reconcile the situation and what solutions are possible. Make sure you have plenty of time to discuss the problem when you reopen the conversation.

Get Help if You Need It
For more help on avoiding barriers to effective communication and to repairing communication problems in relationships, read up on communication techniques that really work or seek couples counseling. There are many reputable researchers out there who have studied communication patterns in happy and unhappy marriages. Look for books and workshops put on by experienced, seasoned therapists who have conducted studies and provided therapy for couples for at least a couple of decades. Books, workshops and personal therapy sessions can help you figure out the specifics of what will and will not work for your marriage.

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