What Effective Communication In Marriage Looks Like, And Why It's Important

Updated March 19, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Communication is vital for a strong marriage. Without proper communication, the two people in the relationship may start feeling like they are on their own. For a marriage to last, couples need to learn how to talk about their feelings and fight fair without hurting each other in the process. Here are some things you can do to try to improve how you communicate with your spouse and how to know when it’s time to seek outside help.

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Effective communication is vital in any relationship

Pay attention to each other

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with your spouse only to feel ignored for their phone, TV, or own thoughts? To communicate effectively, you must pay attention to your spouse. Use eye contact and body language to show you're paying attention. Put your phones away, turn the TV off, or do whatever you have to do to ensure your spouse gets your undivided attention.

It's more challenging than it sounds, especially if you're about to have a conversation you don't want to have. But you show respect to your spouse when you give them your attention. They will feel heard, and you will hear what they are saying. Couples' communication should be about each other. You and your partner should understand the importance of communication in relationships to remain emotionally connected.

Paying attention is vital to understand your partner's wants, needs, and feelings. How can you be there for them if you don't know what they are saying? If you aren't listening closely, you may not understand what they want, leading to an even bigger discussion that you could avoid if you just paid attention.

Set expectations

A common issue among newly married couples is setting expectations. Spouses aren't mind-readers. When you want them to do something, you have to ask. Furthermore, if you have specific needs, you can't expect them to get it right unless you specify. Many arguments can be circumvented by having conversations that are specific and detailed.

Lack of communication often occurs because one person asks for something but needs to be more specific or expects their partner to know something they didn't automatically. Unfortunately, their expectations are unmet, and that's when the real fighting begins. It's better to be as detailed as possible than to assume that your partner knows something when they don't.

Reaffirm the relationship during conflict

Marriage is hard enough without having to worry if it's going to last. Remember who you're fighting with when a fight starts to get heated, and practice good communication. Reminding each other that you still love each other, even when upset, can help de-escalate the situation and prevent a lack of communication. It can mean the difference between screaming and crying and talking rationally. For new marriages, it's helpful to remember the commitment you made. One fight isn't going to lead to separation.

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Diplomacy in your household helps keep the lines of good communication open. You may have grown up in a home very different from your spouse, so even if you are comfortable saying what's on your mind, your spouse may not be. Ensure both partners know they have an equal say in the marriage. No one person has a monopoly on speaking or making decisions.

Affirming the status of both partners will help make it easier to improve communication. It's best to set yourselves up for success by affirming that you each have an equal say when things are good. Talk about how you would like to communicate effectively when you start to fight. Set boundaries and plan how things should play out when you disagree. This way, you both have the same expectations and know where to avoid crossing the line.

Ask for what you need

Along with setting expectations, you need to learn to ask for what you want and how to ask. That is the basis of effective communication in marriage. It is entirely okay to tell your partner what you need emotionally and physically. If you are a person that likes physical touch but feels like their spouse doesn't touch them enough, let them know! Ask for more hand-holding, cuddles, or kisses instead of feeling sad and letting days go by without affection.

They may not know they are doing anything wrong. Maybe they aren't as affectionate, so they think that everything is fine. But if you ask for what you want, they'll be happy to do more. If you are ever in doubt about asking for what you need, pretend your spouse is asking it of you. Would you do what they ask for, even if it's not as convenient? Of course! So why wouldn't your spouse do the same for you?

Be comfortable when you talk

When you have an argument or serious discussion, find a comfortable, neutral place to talk. It’s an excellent start to improving communication. Comfortable doesn't mean a spot where you can lie down and ignore your spouse. Comfortable means a place where you both can talk openly and listen effectively. Perhaps it's your kitchen table, your living room couch, or your back porch. Wherever it is, this is the place you go when you need to discuss any kind of issue. It will help you focus, be in the right mindset, and give you the space to say what you mean.

Effective communication is vital in any relationship

Fight for the marriage, not against each other

When you get married, you bond together as a new entity instead of two individuals. This doesn't stop you from having your own mind or being your own person, though. Two different people with two different opinions will disagree, but through the bond of marriage, you can find a way to work together towards a common goal instead of trying to get your way; this is the key to couples' communication.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy; on the contrary, it takes quite a bit of work. But first, you need to recognize that you and your spouse are a team. Your spouse should never be your enemy. When an argument begins, try to remind yourself of the actual goal: for some compromise or agreement. You and your spouse must work together against the problem for that to happen.

Get outside help

Sometimes, you might need outside help, whether through a pastor, counselor, therapist, or family; marriage advice may be necessary. When two people try to get along but struggle with it, there is no shame in asking for assistance. 

Many people who need help with communication don't ask for help because of pride, financial struggles, or even transportation issues. Luckily, online therapy and marriage counseling can help. 

When you sign up for online therapy, you will be matched with a marriage counselor who best fits your needs. You attend sessions online from anywhere you have an internet connection, which makes it easier for you and your spouse to attend together, even if you have conflicting schedules. Research shows that couples participating in video therapy felt they could effectively connect with their therapist, and a majority of couples found the experience positive and beneficial. For more information or to get started, sign-up with Regain.


Communicating effectively means spouses work together towards a common goal of unity, no matter what they might be talking about. Effective communication in marriage is more than just a conversation. It involves your attitude, body language, and interaction inside your home.

Hopefully, communication will get easier the longer you are married. As you get to know each other, you will be able to be what the other needs most. For those struggling, online therapy can help. You and your spouse have come together for a lifetime of happiness. Don't let miscommunication get in the way of that.

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