Any divorce lawyer will tell you that one of the most common reasons that a marriage fails is bad communication. People just don’t talk or express themselves as they used to. While some of this can be blamed on phones and other devices, a lot of it is simply two people who are unwilling to see eye to eye until it’s too late.
The good and bad news is that this poor communication doesn’t just “jump” to the end result of divorce. There are usually plenty of signs of communication problems in that way. Many couples may not even be aware of the symptoms.
According to a study published by Dr. Mary Ogechi Esere and other colleagues of The University of Illoran, Nigeria, a marriage without effective communication will crumble. Because of this, it’s essential to recognize and fix communication problems before the union gets to the point of collapsing. Here are five signs of bad communication in a marriage that you can begin to recognize and fix before they get out of control.
1. You have replaced listening with talking.
One of the most significant indicators of a failure to communicate is when communication becomes a one-way street. Sure, there is plenty of talking happening. The two of you aren’t missing a beat when it comes to sharing information.
You may share the details of your day or talk about any activities or chores that need to be done. You may speak about childcare concerns or bills, or even ask how work is going.
One person may even be expressing deeper concerns like how they’re feeling about certain things. This is where the real disconnection comes in. The other partner may simply respond with more talk.
The problem is that it’s all talk, just something that’s filling the air. Either one or both parties are simply not listening to the other. You hear each other, but you’re not processing what’s being said and taking the time to truly understand your partner’s feelings.
It’s like the wants, needs, and desires of each person are being tuned out. This type of dismissive behavior must be nipped in the bud early before it can have lasting damage to a marriage.
Each person must understand that merely hearing the other person isn’t enough. You must each think about what your partner is saying and process it. Only then can effective communication be restored, and a solution to whatever other problems are happening can be found.
2. You find yourself assuming how your partner is feeling.
It’s every person’s dream – to find someone who is on the same wavelength as they are. They want someone that’s so “in tune” with them that the person just automatically knows how they’re feeling.
On the surface, that sounds nice but, that only works in the cupcake stages of a relationship. This is because you’re only dealing with a limited range of emotions. However, keep in mind that we’re all a sophisticated container full of emotions brimming beneath the surface.
By the time you get married, you should have made it past all those initial, easy-to-read emotions. You should understand that there is more than what you can see. This means that you aren’t going always to be able to “read” your partner’s feelings.
That’s okay! It can be considered as healthy. After all, you’re most likely not a psychiatrist or a psychic. This is where communication comes in. You absolutely must be able to talk to each other about your feelings.
When you find yourself in a situation where you can’t or won’t talk to each other about your feelings, there is a severe breakdown of communication. There should never be a time where you’re assuming your partner’s feelings and vice versa. When this starts happening, it’s time to get together and work on the communication between the two of you.
3. You find yourself being irritated at even the smallest issues.
It may seem like your partner can do nothing right lately. You may find yourself wondering how he can be such a screwup. I mean, simple things aren’t even being done, simple needs aren’t being met, and you just too annoyed to even mention them.
When you stop to think about it, a lot of these situations are just that – situations. Not issues. You might not even be able to put your finger on why these things irritate you so much.
There may have even been a time where you thought these little nuances were cute. Those were simpler times. Times when it seemed your partner could do no wrong.
Those times don’t have to be gone forever. You can fix the issue of being irritated at everything if you fix the real issues that’s going on between you. There is only one way to fix those practical issues, and that is to change the bad communication.
You must be willing and able to express what’s irritating you. This doesn’t mean petty stuff. This means the real stuff that’s slowly chipping away at you. You also must be able to listen to your partner if they want to express what’s irritating them.
4. You feel more comfortable talking to someone outside of the marriage.
When you are more comfortable talking to someone outside of the marriage instead of your spouse, there is a clear issue with bad communication. Your spouse should always be the first person you can go to whenever you need to talk. You should feel comfortable in confiding in your spouse, and your spouse should feel the same way about confiding in you.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever confide in friends or family. It’s healthy to be able to talk to others outside of your relationship. Sometimes a fresh perspective on situations can help to open your eyes to specific issues.
However, they should never be a substitute for talking to your spouse. When you begin to avoid talking to your spouse in favor of talking to others, that’s when it’s not okay. That’s when you and your spouse need to talk more than ever, no matter how uncomfortable it can get.
There shouldn’t be any subject that you can’t talk to your spouse about. Even if specific issues push both of your buttons, you should still be confident in knowing that you can speak to your spouse even in disagreement. If not, you may both need to seek outside help together instead of individually.
5. Your sex life is terrible.
Sex might not be everything in a marriage, but it does count for a whole lot. When there is any type of problem in a marriage, you can be sure that it will be reflected through your sexual chemistry. If you’ve noticed a change in your sexual habits with your spouse, bad communication may be the blame.
Poor communication leads to a breakdown in other aspects of the relationship. This can include emotional, mental, and even spiritual elements. Once these things have been broken down due to lack of communication, what you have left is sex.
Sex alone doesn’t keep a marriage together.
You’ll begin to notice that physical bond breaking between you and your spouse. One or both of you may simply “not be in the mood” more often. By the time you’ve reached this point, you’ve probably let the lack of proper communication go too far.
According to Chris Kraft, Ph.D., a director of clinical services of the Sex and Gender Clinic at John Hopkins Medicine, there are plenty of sexual roadblocks that occur in marriages. It’s not necessarily even malicious roadblocks, just everyday circumstances like kids, bills, careers, and more.
The problems mainly occur when there is no communication between spouses about how they’re feeling about all of these things. “You need to talk about it because the resentment that builds up around feelings of inequality is one of the biggest killers of intimacy and sexuality,” says Dr. Kraft.
It’s time to rush into fixing your bad communication problem before it’s too late. It takes two to tango, so if you’re feeling the results of poor communication through your sex life, your spouse is feeling it also. Just sit down and have an honest conversation with each other.
Final Thoughts on Signs of Bad Communication in a Marriage
You got married for a reason. That reason had to have been worth it, right? If your answer is yes, then it’s time to fix the poor communication between you and your spouse.
Communication is what keeps a marriage secure. Sure, times may get tough, and your spirit may get drained from time to time, but this is when you need your partner the most. Use the five signs above to recognize when bad communication has become a problem in your marriage so you can fix it before it becomes a more significant issue.