How To Communicate With Your Spouse: An Effective Guide

Best ways to establish healthy communication patterns and improve your relationship

Reviewed by Dr Nancy B Irwin, PsyD Dr Nancy B Irwin Dr Nancy B IrwinPsyD facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA (English) Gazala Firdos Ansari Integrated MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Last Updated on

You might wonder how to communicate with your spouse if you and your partner don’t seem to be on the same page lately. Communication does play a big role in a successful relationship. While this is true, sometimes it can be difficult to get your points across without prejudice.

Every person has biases and beliefs that have a major impact on their interaction style, especially in intimate relationships. These factors come in the way of healthy conflict resolution later on, if one is not careful. So, regardless of how tense or joyful a situation may be, how you talk with your significant other is an important matter you both need to work on together. After all, it is a key factor in determining a healthy relationship and connection.

So, what can you do to achieve this? The following are 15 tips for communicating with your spouse effectively that won’t upset them. So read on and put them into practice!

Types Of Communication Styles

Husband and wife talking
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Communication styles can influence interactions. Recognizing them helps collaboration. Here are some common types:

  • Assertive Communication: This style is direct and respectful, encourages open dialogue, and promotes problem-solving. It involves using “I” statements and setting healthy boundaries.
  • Aggressive Communication: This style is forceful and intimidating, disregards feelings, creates hostility, and hinders positive relationships.
  • Passive Communication: In this style, communicators avoid confrontation and struggle to express their thoughts and feelings, leading to misunderstandings.
  • Passive-Aggressive Communication: This indirect style subtly expresses negative feelings through sarcasm or backhanded compliments. This can damage trust and prolong conflict resolution.
  • Analytical Communication: In this style, communicators rely on data and facts and excel in roles that require precision, logic, and critical thinking but may struggle to connect with others emotionally.

Adapting communication to people and situations is crucial for effective interaction and collaboration. Learn more in the next section.

15 Tips On How To Communicate Better With Your Spouse

Many children grow up watching their parents fight as a way of resolving tense situations. It could be a battle of egos or just a bad way of expressing their needs and emotions. However, it creates a twisted notion of teamwork in children and they grow into adults who approach conflicts in similarly unhealthy ways. That aside, the truth remains that this does not contribute to a loving relationship or family dynamics.
As part of a marriage, how should you communicate with your spouse effectively, respectfully, and with love? Read on to find out from these 15 tips.

1. Discuss The Little Problems

How to communicate with spouse by discussing little problems
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Communicate your problems to your partners before they grow into something monstrous and difficult to tackle. It is not always easy to communicate problems that seem like small annoyances. However, what you suppress can come back to bite you harder later in the future.

The little issues are what eventually grow big and signal the doom of an otherwise loving and caring marriage. If you want to enrich your relationship, this is where you can begin. Do keep in mind to express your opinions in a considerate manner with empathy and respect towards your partner.

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It can be a fine line between discussing little, daily issues and nagging or bickering. To prevent a discussion from becoming an argument, try to reserve blame and simply state the issue you would like to be resolved.

2. Don’t Discuss Past Mistakes

The past has no place in your relationship. You both might have made mistakes at a time when your dynamics as a couple were different. The fact that you are together now is an indication that you got past those issues.

Dredging past mistakes, again and again, is simply harmful to your relationship in the long run. Focus on the present, understand where the discomfort or irritation lies, and solve it together with your partner.

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Consider seeking help from a therapist if you have a lot of repressed emotions surrounding past issues. Alternatively you can practice mindfulness meditation or journaling as a way to release old thought patterns and pent up emotions.

3. Don’t Accuse Your Partner

Use “I” statements when you are expressing your annoyance about something. You are responsible for your feelings, and no one can make you feel a certain way. Tell them how you are affected and how it is impacting you as a person. This is a great alternative to accusing your partner and blaming them for what’s going wrong.

This is a valuable point to note because it helps your partner understand your perspective on the situation instead of building up their defenses against your accusations. Also, be prepared for your partner opening up about issues they have been experiencing that you might not have been aware of. Do not insist on focusing on your issues alone. Listen to their perspective. In the end, both sides might have to make a compromise in order to arrive at a solution that works for both parties.

4. Don’t Compare Your Partner With Others

Husband comparing wife with others
Image: Shutterstock

The worst thing you can do to your partner is comparing them to other people you know. Worse still, if it is an ex! This is a harmful communication tactic that many internalize from their parents, who might have constantly compared them to other children while growing up to show how they can do better.

But here’s the truth – no one likes being told that there is a better person than them, especially when it comes from their partner. So, keep other people out of the equation and focus on your current relationship.

5. Do Not Threaten To Break Up

Breaking up is not a threat that you should ever use in a conversation with your partner. Ending a long-term relationship is no joke, and even if you are extremely angry, in no situation should you be using that as a weapon against your partner. Many people yearn for relationships because of the promise of companionship, love, and judgment-free support. A breakup threat shatters that belief, weakening the other person’s trust in the relationship.

One of the sacred rules of communicating better with your spouse is to keep the threat of ending the relationship, be it separation or divorce, out of the picture. Especially in an argument, if you feel the only way for both of you to feel happy is to go your separate ways, reserve the discussion for a later time when you are calm and collected.

6. Don’t Threaten To Spill Their Secrets

Husband threatening wife
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Another mistake many couples make is to use sensitive information that their spouse had shared in confidence to further the argument. This is an extremely hostile and selfish move.

Your partner considered you a safe space when they shared the information with you. They showed honesty because they care about the relationship and believed you would protect them the way they would protect you. Therefore, violating this trust and safety and weaponizing this vulnerability is not only unkind but also extremely hurtful.

7. Take Time Out

Take time out and spend some time away from each other. When you are living with a person and seeing them every day, conflicts are bound to rise. The smallest things might irritate you and lead to unnecessary fights. Know what to let go so that you are not creating an environment of discomfort.

Having some time for yourself ensures that you can come back to your spouse happy and rested and ready to tackle the challenges in your marriage together.

Take a trip with your friends, go for a walk, or simply go to another room and read a book. Learning how to communicate with your spouse also involves giving yourself the much-needed break!

8. Don’t Let Others’ Opinions Disturb Your Marriage

Do not let another person’s opinion of your relationship impact the bond that you share. In many South-Asian countries where families are close-knit, it is common for family members to interject and pass their judgments on your marriage.

Whether it is about having children or the demands of your job, do not let the opinions of your relatives become points of dissatisfaction for the two of you. Face them and their opinions as a team and talk about what might bother you about their behavior.

9. Indulge In Small Talk

How to communicate with spouse by indulging in small talk
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While this sounds unimportant, as years go by, many couples forget to ask each other about the mundane details of their lives. However, a key part of learning how to communicate better with your spouse is to talk to them about their day, what they ate, or how their colleagues are doing. Emotional intimacy is not just about deep pillow talks. Your attentiveness towards the small things about your partner is just as important.

This gives them a space to share the tiny aspects of their lives that not only bring you closer but also help you understand what they must be going through in their daily life.

10. Apologize When Required

Say sorry to your spouse. You do not need to apologize to them all the time, but if you are aware that you have done something that has hurt them or annoyed them, do not hold back an apology.

Telling someone that you regret what you did does not make you a smaller person. It only makes you mature enough to be responsible for your mistakes.

11. Understand What Makes Them Tick

Try understanding their love language. While some people have very obvious love languages like being physically affectionate towards their partner, others are way more subtle.

Knowing what makes them feel loved is a great step in the direction of mastering communication. This allows you to do things that make your partner happy. It also opens up space for you to talk about your needs and your love language. After all, a good relationship is where both partners feel loved equally.

12. Remember That You Both Are A Team

How to communicate with spouse by being a team
Image: Shutterstock

Remember that it is always you both versus the problem. You are a team, and you are not fighting against each other. It is easy to forget this crucial piece of information when you are angry, but this is at the core of achieving better communication with your spouse.

Tackle the problem like it is a challenge that has been thrown at both of you. Even when one of you has come to the other with grievances, take your time to figure out what is going on and how you can solve it together.

13. Let Them Talk About Themselves Too

Do not make the conversations all about yourself. Yes, you are allowed to talk to your partner about things going on in your life – like your workplace, your friends, or family. But in the urgency to share the things that are bothering you, it is common to forget about your partner’s needs. Therefore, make sure that you do not hog the space when it comes to sharing your experiences. Give your spouse the platform to talk about themselves.

A key tip on communicating better with your spouse is not to counter their experiences with one of yours. This sets up a competition, and relationships require cooperation.Resist the urge to steer the focus of the conversation to yourself when they are talking about themselves.

14. Don’t Raise Your Voice

Do not raise your voice even in the tensest situations. The moment your volume goes up in an argument, it could take an ugly shape. You and your partner might be facing a tough problem – but remember that it is always the two of you versus the problem.

The moment you feel your fight is getting out of hand and you are tempted to raise your voice to make a point, remember to take a break from the conversation. Ask your partner for a time out, go on a walk, and come back with a clear mind to get to the root of the problem.

The best books on how to communicate with your spouse will always tell you that this is a much more effective way of solving a problem than shouting over each other.

15. Listen

The most important tip on communicating effectively with your partner is to listen to them more carefully. This means giving them your undivided attention to understand their needs.

Healthy communication is essential in any relationship. Whether you are just starting a relationship or have been in one for years, you must know effective ways of communication for the smooth functioning of your relationship. If you are wondering how to communicate with your spouse, then these tips will help you to start conversations with them and maintain that spark alive in your relationship. Your commitment towards ensuring healthy and transparent communication will work wonders in deepening your bond with your partner. Discuss the little problems, do not compare your partner with others, take some time out, and try to apologize when required. These tips will help you grow a strong relationship with your spouse.

Rachael Kable, a writer, shares her experience of being in a relationship with a partner who makes her feel supported and safe. Appreciating the way her partner communicates, she writes, “Rather than jumping in with advice or solutions straight away, he’ll acknowledge how I’m feeling and ask if he can help. It’s so simple, but it works (i).” She continues, “When someone is going through a hard time, especially someone you love, it’s normal to want to jump in and fix it. But, try to hold back and create space for them to talk, validate their feelings, and ask how you can help. That can be an even bigger gift than solving their problem for them.”

Infographic: 7 Important Communication Tips For A Successful Relationship

As cliche as it might sound, communication is the key to a healthy relationship. However, most people have a hard time maintaining positive communication with their partners. Not being able to share your ideas and emotions in a healthy way can signify a deeper problem. Improper communication can lead to conflict and misunderstandings. Are you facing a similar problem? Well, fret not! We are here to help. Check out the infographic below for some communication tips that can help save your romantic relationship.

7 important communication tips for a successful relationship (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Healthy communication is essential in any relationship. Whether you are just starting a relationship or have been in one for years, you must know the effective ways of communication. If you are wondering how to communicate with your spouse, then these tips will help you to start conversations with them and maintain that spark alive in your relationship. Discuss the little problems, do not compare your partner with others, take some time out, and try to apologize when required. These tips will help you grow a strong relationship with your spouse.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you communicate with a difficult spouse?

Communicating with a difficult spouse may be challenging, but you can effectively do so by picking the right moment for a discussion, taking responsibility for your emotions or actions and using I statements, listening actively, sticking to the issue at hand and expressing your thoughts, feelings or expectations clearly.

Why do I struggle to communicate with my partner?

There may be several reasons that can make communicating to your partner difficult. Some common reasons include unresolved past conflicts, resentments, a lack of awareness of what really needs or wants and a lack of security or sense of safety within the relationship.

Can communication issues in marriage be resolved?

Yes, communication issues in marriage can be resolved by being honest with each other. If you’re struggling to come to terms with something that happened in the past, then it would be better to reach out to a professional as a guide to help resolve the issues for a happy marriage.

Why is it important to communicate with your spouse?

Communicating with your spouse allows you to express your needs, expectations, and what you’re experiencing at the moment. It helps you connect with your spouse and work on your marriage together.

Can communication save marriage?

Yes, better communication equals a healthy and happy marriage. Communication goes both ways, and it takes a lot of effort and compromises on both sides to make a marriage work.

Key Takeaways

  • Being unable to communicate your points with your spouse can impact your relationship, especially when you are not on the same page.
  • Do not speak about the mistakes made by your partner in the past. Remember, comparison can affect any relationship negatively.
  • Do not let others and their opinions disturb your relationship.
how to communicate with spouse

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Check out this video featuring practical tips and insights on fostering open and meaningful conversations for a stronger, happier partnership.

Personal Experience: Source

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Dr Nancy B Irwin
Originally from Atlanta, Dr. Nancy Irwin graduated from UWG in 1977 with a Bachelor of Music in Opera Performance. She moved to New York City in 1985 to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. She worked all over the country and abroad and moved to Los Angeles in 1994 when she heard that Hollywood needed more blondes.

Read full bio of Dr Nancy B Irwin