13 Marriage Communication Exercises To Improve Your Relationship
By: Nicole Beasley
Updated March 10, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
The importance of communication in a marriage cannot be overstated. Communication is about more than just being able to sit down and talk to your partner about your day. Maintaining a high level of communication in a marriage is about being able to have open and honest discussions about literally anything in your lives. You and your spouse must be able to communicate with each other effectively – via a variety of communication styles, such as written communication – and build trust so that you know and understand each other's feelings, thoughts, and emotions. If you and your spouse seem to have grown apart and you feel like you aren't communicating well anymore, there are a lot of marriage communication exercises for couples that you can do to help you hone your communication skills and grow closer.
Importance of Communication in Marriage
It could be said that good communication between a couple is the foundation for a long and healthy relationship or marriage. Many married couples think that daily banter or lack thereof is not all that important for their mental health. However, your ability to communicate frequently and effectively with your spouse directly affects many other aspects of your relationship. A lack of communication skills can affect parenting decisions, your sex life, your ability to resolve conflict when it arises, and your ability to cope with the stressors that most married couples face.
What Is Effective Communication in Marriage?
Effective communication in marriage is about more than just words. Couples communication in marriage also depends on the context of the situation, body language, spoken or written communication, touch, and emotion. Powerful communication with your spouse isn't just about being able to say what you need to say in a way that they can understand and be okay with. It is also about being able to engage in active listening with your partner and read their context clues and body language so that you are aware of what is going on with them even if they are not communicating with you openly or actively.
Marriage Communication Exercises
If you feel that your marriage is lacking effective verbal communication, there are several things that you can do to remedy the situation. You have a lot of resources at your disposal. There are many effective communication exercises for couples and workbooks that you can purchase online or in the bookstores to help you and your spouse learn how to communicate more effectively. Yet if you want to make sure that you are communicating well and if the exercises and self-help books don't work, you might need outside help in the form of a counselor, therapist, or other licensed health professional. So, while you may be able to do these exercises and activities at home alone with your partner, you might also consider getting some professional input from a therapist or a counselor when it comes to these effective communication exercises for couples.
To start with, here are some marriage communication exercises for couples that you can try. Let’s look at each of the couple’s communication exercises and the benefits of these communication exercises.
#1 Fireside Chats
President Franklin D. Roosevelt made "fireside chats" the commonality that they are today. These chats were meant to allow you to feel as though you were sitting with the president by the fireplace in a cozy room. This powerful communication exercise requires you to recreate that environment for a comfortable and safe place for you and your spouse to communicate and eventually grow closer. Your fireside chats should last about thirty minutes once a week. You can start with safe subjects such as pop culture, or you can address deeper issues in your relationship. Make sure to maintain good eye contact so that your partner knows they have your full attention.
This is one of the effective communication exercises for couples because it not only has you sitting down with your partner and giving them your undivided attention, but it also allows you to be in a space that is both physically and emotionally safe. This gives you a chance to be a bit more free and open with your style of communication.
#2 Highs and Lows
At the end of the day, after dinner or toward bedtime, you and your spouse should take a moment to communicate with each other about your day. Each of you should pick a high point and a low point of your day to share with each other. This is an exercise to practice active listening. Listen to what your partner has to say about their day. If their low point was something you feel you might be able to help with, ask them if they want help or advice or just an active listening ear.
This is listed as one of the great effective communication exercises for couples because it is a powerful communication exercises that allows both individuals to reflect on their day. So, this is one of those effective communication exercises for couples that focus on individual reflection as well as helping couples to improve their communication with each other. When you or your partner think back on your own day, you’re practicing a type of self-reflection that will help you bring more and contribute more to these effective communication exercises for couples.
#3 Listening Silently
This is another marriage communication exercise for couples that allows you to practice your active listening skills. Set a timer for three to five minutes, and you or your partner get to talk freely until the timer goes off. Whoever is doing the listening must do so without interjecting or speaking at all. They can only use nonverbal cues to let the other partner know that they are listening and are empathetic. It is helpful to maintain good eye contact with your partner during all communication activities for couples. After the timer goes off, you can discuss your thoughts and feelings about the exercise and what was said. Then you switch roles so that both of you have the same opportunity to learn and grow closer to each other.
This exercise made the list of effective communication exercises for couples because it’s a great way to practice nonverbal communication with your partner. Nonverbal communication is a skill that you can build and practice, and it’s especially important to use when listening. That’s right! Even when you’re listening silently – not speaking at all – you’re communicating with your partner. This is one of those effective communication exercises for couples that can help you and your partner improve the nonverbal communication that happens when you’re listening actively to each other.
#4 Practicing I Statements
One of the problems that often arises in marital communication is when words like you, should, and could are used in personal expression. It is important to own your thoughts and feelings by using I statements only. It can be very difficult to cultivate respectful communication patterns, but it is very important to establish effective communication without playing a blame game and starting a conflict. You can practice I statements in several ways, most of which involve taking time to sit down with your partner and actively come up with I statements.
This is one of the trust building exercises, in addition to being one of the most effective communication exercises for couples. This effective communication exercises for couples is also a great way to build up assertive communication. Now, assertive communication exercises aren’t meant to make things more contentious. Instead, assertive communication exercises are a way for couples to develop a style of communication in which both partners are heard and understood, without being ignored or shouted down. It’s also a great way to break negative communication habits that would otherwise disproportionately affect one partner in the relationship.
#5 Say It Again
If you and your partner tend to become heated when you have a conflict or disagreement, the chances are that you have said some hurtful things amid an argument. To avoid this in the future, this marriage communication exercise for couples focuses on helping each other see how you can alter communication style to phrase things differently to avoid conflict and hurt feelings. You and your partner think of two or three things that were said during your last argument. You then work together to determine how those thoughts and feelings could have been communicated in a more loving and nonjudgmental way. This activity can be thought of as an assertive communication exercise in which you can learn to still express your feelings, but in a loving manner.
This made the list of powerful communication exercises for couples because it allows both partners to reflect individually on their behavior while also seeing how this behavior – and style of communication – affects the relationship as a whole. It’s also a powerful communication exercises for couples because it fosters understanding and patience between you and your partner.
#6 Sticks and Stones
We all know that words and name-calling can hurt, but we often do it anyway in the heat of the moment. In this communication exercise for couples, you and your partner will each sit down and make a list of the disrespectful names you have called each other. When your lists are complete, you can sit down together and share them. Discuss each name on the list and discuss how it made you feel and allow your partner the chance to do the same. In the future, think to yourself: Every time I comment on something my partner says or does, how does that make them feel?
This is one of those effective communication exercises for couples that will also help both partners to see the toxic communication patterns that might be lurking in their relationship. When you have to take a step back and consider the viewpoint of your partner, you’re looking from a bigger perspective. This wider angle is a great way to identify further steps that you and your partner can take to improve your relationship.
In this communication exercise for couples, you will learn how to communicate with your partner in a way that they can understand. Different people understand and communicate on different levels in married life. This exercise helps you learn how to communicate with your partner on a level that they can understand. First, one partner builds a structure with blocks. Then, that partner guides the other partner with verbal instructions on how to build the same structure.
From this effective communication exercises for couples, you can see that communication building exercises don’t have to be boring or intimidating! This is a fun, hands-on activity that often serves as a jumping-off point for deeper conversations about your communication patterns with your partner.
This couples communication exercise is like the last, but in this instance, the partner is going to create an obstacle course with "mines" that must be avoided by the other partner. Then, the other partner is blindfolded, and the spouse that made the obstacle course must guide the blind partner through the course safely. This proverbial minefield is a great step in allowing for better couples communication without the necessity of eye contact while providing a secure environment for two people to grow closer and develop a sense of trust.
This is another one of the hands-on effective communication exercises for couples. It is also an effect trust building exercise that allows both partners the chance to lead and to be led. This can be a great starting point for conversations about leading in communication: from this effective communication exercises for couples, you can talk about who starts and carries the conversations in the relationship, what that says about each person’s role in the relationship, and how those roles might be tweaked (if necessary) to improve the relationship.
#9 Give Me A Hand
This powerful communication exercise is about cooperation. During this communication exercise for couples, you and your partner will have to complete a task together. The trick is that each of you will have one hand tied behind your back. This means that you absolutely must work together and engage in effective verbal communication to create a level of understanding allowing for successful completion of the task.
This is another one of the more fun and effective communication exercises for couples. It is also a great way to look at the patterns of leadership in the relationship. Who is leading? Who is listening? Does this dynamic cause stress, or does it lead to the successful completion of the task? With this effective communication exercises for couples, you’ll be able to see all of those questions play out in real time, and it will hopefully lead to a conversation that breaks down those answers.
#10 Mirror Mirror
This powerful communication exercise is about learning to listen to one another. Set a timer for three to five minutes. Either you or your partner will tell a story until the timer goes off. The other partner will repeat the story as they understood it back to the first partner. Then you switch and do the exercise again. This will help you to understand how well you can listen to each other and truly understand and regurgitate the information you are being given. Being able to listen to your partner and analyze their thoughts and feelings is an extremely important skill that will help maintain good mental health in married life.
This effective communication exercises for couples are about active listening. Remember, active listening is just as important as speaking when it comes to effect communication in a relationship. This is also a great way to hear new stories and experiences from your partner, while building up better listening and communication skills at the same time!
#11 Future Goals
One of the most powerful communication exercises for partners in married life is discussing future goals with your spouse. Discussing your goals and hopes for the future can help you both be on the same page about where your lives are being taken and how you want to get there. Your goals and your partner's goals might not be the same, but that doesn't mean that they can't mesh, and you can compromise to build a life together that you can both be happy with. This example of verbal communication practice is an assertive communication exercise that helps people express their true intensions without feeling like they necessarily have to agree with their partner.
When it comes to effective communication exercises for couples, this is one that should be done frequently throughout the relationship. At the beginning of a relationship or marriage, it’s important to know what your partner desires and expects for the future. It’s equally important that they know what you want and expect for the future, too. Even as the relationship grows and develops, it’s important to touch base with the future goals. So, this effective communication exercises for couples is great at every step of the relationship’s journey!
#12 Music Lyrics
This effective communication exercise for married life is supposed to help you and your partner understand more about each other through music. Music is a very powerful form of written communication, and the lyrics to our favorite songs hold deep meaning to some people. By sharing the lyrics of your three favorite songs with your partner, you can engage in verbal communication to discuss how those lyrics make you feel, why they are important to you, and why you want to share them with your partner. This communication exercise for couples can bring you much closer together, grow your arsenal of communication styles, develop your understanding of the love languages, improve your communication skills, remind you of the importance of communication, and serve as a fun activity to enjoy during date night.
In this effective communication exercises for couples, you’ll be looking outside the relationship for clues and words to express how you feel about your partner and your relationship. This is a great way to really consider your feelings, and then to earnestly search for the right words and music to express it. It’s also very fun, and it makes a lot of great memories that will last throughout the relationship!
#13 Keep a You and Me Journal
This method of written communication exercises for couples will help you and your spouse better communicate by writing, as well as through verbal conversation. Often when you are writing something to someone, you have a chance to think more carefully and choose your words wisely so that you can convey your message without hurting or upsetting the other person. You and me journals are books that you and your spouse can leave messages for each other in so that you can hone your written communication skills and aid in the maintenance of good mental health. These messages can be anything, but they should be an attempt to communicate thought and emotion without criticism or judgment.
This exercise made the list of effective communication exercises for couples because it gives you and your partner a concrete thing to hold and look at. When things get rough, or when you need a reminder of how much you really do love each other, your journal is there. It’s also a great way to track progress and measure how far your relationship has come. This can be an encouraging tool as the relationship progresses, and it can give you and your partner the motivation to keep going with these effective communication exercises for couples.
If these communication activities do not help you get the communication in your marriage back on track, you might need additional outside help from a health professional. A marriage counselor or therapist will be able to help you and your partner learn how to communicate more effectively. They can also help you to address other problems associated with married life that may be stemming from a lack of effective communication. If you are unable to afford or find a marriage counselor in your area, you have other options. ReGain is an online counseling platform that has a network of licensed marriage counselors and therapists in your state that will be able to help you and your spouse when it is convenient for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I improve communication in my marriage?
The importance of effective marital communication is immense. Without communication in a marriage, your spousal relationship is more likely to be marked by strife and conflict. In order to improve your communication skills and reestablish intimate contact with your partner, it may help to start by reading self-help books or engaging in communication exercises for couples. ReGain has developed many effective communication activities, which are available above, designed to reignite the flame of healthy communication. It is probable that these exercises will improve your arsenal of communication skills profoundly, but if more help is needed, it may be advantageous to seek the advice of a mental health professional. There are many licensed marriage counselors available to assist you in your quest for quality communication. If you would prefer to connect with a counselor online, there are plenty available on ReGain.
How can I do marriage counseling at home?
Marriage counseling at home can follow a few steps designed to impose the smallest financial burden. It may be smart to first read self-help books or attempt couples communication exercises, like those provided by ReGain above. These exercises are designed by mental health professionals to help reestablish substantive communication for married couples. It is important to treat each exercise seriously, and attempt to accomplish each task to the best of your ability. If these measures are not completely successful in reestablishing communication, it may help to seek the services of an online mental health professional. Marriage counselors can be found online at ReGain.
What are some communication activities?
ReGain has developed thirteen communication exercises and activities designed to assist in marital communications. These exercises are outlined and summarized below:
- Fireside Chats – Take thirty minutes out of your busy week to get comfortable with your partner and talk about both safe subjects and ones that are more controversial.
- Highs and Lows – Towards bedtime, take a few moments to share the high and low points of your day with your spouse. Then, allow them to discuss their day while you listen intently and offer advice if possible.
- Listening Silently – Each partner will have the opportunity to speak freely for three to five minutes without any interruption. While one person is talking, the other will sit and listen without talking, and they can only use eye contact and nonverbal cues to indicate that they are listening.
- Practicing I Statements – This exercise involves sitting down with your partner to develop effective and respectful I statements.
- Say It Again – You and your partner can think of two or three things that were said during an argument that resulted in hurt feelings. Once these lists are created, the couple can develop ways to communicate these ideas in a way that is not as harsh.
- Sticks and Stones – Both partners will create a list of names they were called and then discuss how these names make them feel.
- Copycat – One person builds something out of blocks, then that person verbally communicates with the other person on how to make the same structure.
- Minefield – One partner designs an obstacle course that includes ‘mines,’ which need to be avoided. The other partner wears a blindfold and is led through this course by the first partner.
- Give Me A Hand – You and your partner need to complete a task, but each person has one hand tied behind their back. This ensures that teamwork is required.
- Mirror Mirror – One partner will tell a store uninterrupted for three to five minutes. At the end of the story, the other partner will repeat the story. Then, roles will be reversed.
- Future Goals – Take time to discuss each other’s goals, whether they are similar or completely different.
- Music Lyrics – Each partner can choose a few songs that they really enjoy, then both people can read and analyze the lyrics to the songs.
- Keep a You and Me Journal – Engage in written communication with your spouse by writing loving, supportive messages in a shared journal.
What questions are asked in couples therapy?
There are a few questions that are almost always asked during couple’s therapy. These questions are outlined below:
- How happy are you? In which way does your relationship impact your level of joy?
- Which questions do you hope are not asked during counseling sessions?
- What made you decide that couples counseling is necessary?
- Where do you see your relationship going?
- How did you first start dating?
- What do you do when you are disappointed in your partner?
- How aware are you of what your partner has done this week?
- What would you like your partner to do more?
- How can you ensure that your partner trusts you more?
How do I reconnect with my husband?
Reconnecting with a spouse is usually synonymous with reestablishing effective communication. It may help to first read self-help books, and then attempt to talk to your husband directly. Often times, expressing concerns regarding loss of communication can incite a call to action. Once your husband realizes that there needs to be some sort of reconciliation, communication exercises can be attempted. If these measures do not work, advice from a licensed marriage counselor may be in order.
Remember, it is always best to start the conversation with questions. All the answers you are looking for are right in front of you. If you want to know more about your husband, and get inside his head, then try asking him and listening to his answers with genuine care and totally lack of judgment.
How do you fix relationship communication problems?
In order to improve your communication skills and remedy communication problems, it may help to first read self-help books or engage in communication exercises for couples. ReGain has developed many effective communication activities designed to promote healthy communication. If after these measures more help is needed, it may be necessary to seek the advice of a mental health professional. There are many licensed marriage counselors available to assist you in your journey of reconnection. If you would prefer to connect with a counselor online, there are plenty available on ReGain.
What are the 5 methods of communication?
There are five major modes of communication, and each of these methods is important in their respective ways. Outlined below are the different methods:
- Verbal – speaking with others
- Non-verbal – eye contact, posture, facial expressions, hand movements, touch
- Listening – active listening
- Written – emails, social media posts, letters, etc.
- Visual – pictures, videos, movies, art, etc.
What is the 7 C’s of effective communication?
Clear – clearly state objectives and eliminate unnecessarily complex words
Concise – keep thoughts short and to the point
Concrete – specificity is better than vagueness
Correct – get factual information correct, do not have grammar and spelling mistakes, etc.
Coherent – make sure that thoughts flow smoothly
Complete – make sure message has all necessary components
Courteous – be polite and communicate tactfully
Previous ArticleCoping With A Sexless Marriage: How To Bring Physical Intimacy Back To The Relationship
Next ArticleDoes Marrying Your Best Friend Lead To A Happier Marriage?
Anxiety Attachment Attraction Chat Counseling Dating Depression Divorce Domestic Violence Engagement Family Friendship General How To Infidelity Intimacy Love Marriage Online Dating Parenting Psychology Relationship Singleness Therapist
How To Seduce Your Wife All Over Again My Wife Doesn't Love Me Anymore When To Know A Relationship Is At Its End My Husband Is Always Angry: Is It My Fault? 4 Signs A Married Man Likes You More Than A Friend And What To Do About It The Meaning Of Marriage: A History Of Partnerships And Unions From The Ancient World To The Present Day What To Do If Your Spouse Is on Married Affairs Websites