Improving Communication to Maintain A Healthy Marriage Through Couples Counseling


At the beginning of a romantic relationship, couples want to spend as much time as possible with each other. They communicate frequently and keep tabs on what is happening to each other’s life. In healthy relationships, this continues even after they get married. To be in a committed relationship means you have found someone with whom you are deeply connected.

No couple decides to get married to break their relationship later on. However, according to the American Psychological Association, more than 40 percent of married couples in America end in divorce due to poor communication. Healthy communication is often overlooked, but it is the key to maintaining a happy and healthy marriage.

One of the best ways for a couple to keep their marriage healthy is to get couples counseling once they notice any signs of poor communication. Do you feel disconnected from your partner of late?

There will be times when married couples experience periods of disconnection, hostility, and distress in every marriage. While this is considered normal and healthy at times, if you frequently disagree or fight in your marriage, it is often a result of poor communication skills.

What a Good Marriage Communication Looks Like

Couples in a successful marriage tend to have open communication where they feel safe to share their most private thoughts and talk freely. They agree to disagree on some issues by listening attentively to what the other has to say without looking for fault or dismissing what they hear.

Such couples are also comfortable verbalizing their concerns without the fear of reproach and are quick to voice positive thoughts. They are also careful how they approach big or small issues and are tactful of the words they use, staying far from controlling, hurtful, or attacking comments.

At the end of a conversation, each partner feels that their feelings and concerns have been addressed accordingly. Every couple can learn how to communicate with their spouse effectively. If this is not you, don’t despair. Even couples with good communication skills still find it hard to avoid difficult talks, leading to conflicts at times.

What Leads To Poor Communication In A Marriage?

Poor communication in a marriage does not happen overnight. If you want to keep your marriage healthy, you need to know what may cause poor communication in your marriage relationship to allow you to deal with the problem head-on. No one is born a natural communicator. Some of the reasons a married couple may fail to communicate include:

Emotional patterns

Everyone comes from a different background. Factors like the environment and social setting one were brought up in plays a great role in creating emotional patterns that can hinder communication. Emotional patterns can hinder communication if one partner is unwilling to deal with intense talks because of sensitivities to past experiences.

Different communication styles

It is very common for spouses to have different traits. This means they also have different communication styles. For example, you will find a married couple who is outspoken, outgoing, and expressive while the other is a more reserved and quiet type. Communication between this married couple can present some challenges since one may feel overwhelmed while the other may not feel appreciated.


In a marriage relationship, it is easy for a couple to get caught up chasing their career, raising kids, and balancing the social life that they forget to spend quality time together. This can lead to one or both partners feeling neglected. Neglect not only affects communication but also affects emotional and physical intimacy.


Pride is one of the leading causes of poor communication in marriages. This is where one or both parties harden their hearts and minds or become stubborn and refuse to admit their fault.

Lack of physical intimacy

Emotional and physical intimacy plays a huge role in building successful marriages. The more a married couple engages in physical intimacy, the closer they become, making communication easy. Without this emotional connection, communication between a couple can get affected.

How Can Couples Counseling Help Improve Your Communication?

Lack of communication is the leading issue that couples complain about in couples counseling. If you feel stuck because you can longer talk to your partner without getting frustrated, angry, or sad, it is best to seek professional help from a certified couples’ counselor.

Most married couples believe that lack of communication is the key problem. Professional marriage counselors believe that miscommunication is only a symptom of other underlying issues in a marriage relationship. A married couple can learn how to gap the connection through couples counseling, causing miscommunication.

Even with that, a good counselor understands that good communication alone cannot sustain a marriage. Good communication will enable couples to learn how to listen and communicate effectively. But do they have a strong connection vital to keep their marriage healthy? That connection can only be achieved through emotional intimacy that allows spouses to feel understood and known by their partners.

During couples counseling, you learn how to connect to your partner by working through key areas such as spending time together, reaching out to your partner even when you are disappointed or hurt, trusting, and being vulnerable. A couples counselor can also offer healthy marriage tips you and your spouse can use to identify and change patterns that have kept you disconnected, frustrated, and stuck. Some of the marriage tips you can get from couples counseling include:

Spending more time together

One of the assignments married couples get from a marriage counselor to improve their communication is to spend quality time together. Often, married couples get caught up in their day-to-day activities, including their careers and raising their families they forget to spend time together. This exercise is not just about spending quantity time but quality time.

This involves doing stuff together that will bring them closer. Marriage relationships are sustained by actively engaging in relaxing and enjoyable activities such as date nights, playing cards, laughing at inside jokes, among others.

Giving the benefit of the doubt

Hurts and disappointments from a partner can cause a lack of communication in a marriage. In couples counseling, couples learn to stay connected by giving their partners the benefit of the doubt when they make mistakes. Instead of getting caught in their anger and hurt and jumping to conclusions, they need to believe that the other partner did not mean to hurt or disappoint them intentionally.

This exercise helps couples accept that each spouse is not perfect and can work through their issues with ease. This does not mean that the party in the wrong does not take responsibility for his or her actions or choices. It means that a married couple can work through their issues without letting confusion and anger leave them stranded in discord.

Trust and vulnerability

Trust in a marriage is vital. Trusting your partner is more than knowing they will be there for you or they will remain faithful. Trust extends to being willing to be vulnerable to your spouse. If you cannot allow yourself to be vulnerable with each other, you cannot have open communication. In counseling, couples learn to treat their relationship as sacred, separating what they share with others from what they can share.

Frequently Asked Questions About Couples Counseling

If I open up during a counseling session, won’t that make things worse?

Most couples are afraid of speaking their mind for fear of reproach. This fear is common, forcing married couples to walk on eggshells around their spouses. At first, the counseling sessions may not be easy, with each partner pouring out their frustrations and anger they have withheld for a long time. The key is to work with a qualified, reputable marriage counselor to help you navigate these hard times to help resolve the issues without making the situation worse.

What if my partner is not open to the idea of couples counseling?

Some people understand they need outside help to work out their marital issues, but they are afraid their partners may reject the idea. You will find that someone would reject the idea because they are afraid they will be blamed for the discord in the marriage.

This is not the case. Encourage your partner to attend couples counseling with you so that you can learn to communicate lovingly, respectfully, and fairly. If they are still reluctant, you can still schedule a consultation on your own and learn important marriage tips for a happy marriage.

Couples Counseling in San Diego

Jan Rakoff, LCSW is an established family therapist with many years of experience dedicated to helping married couples in San Diego. Jan Rakoff provides psychotherapy in person or online to couples looking to improve their communication to maintain a healthy marriage.

Her approach is straightforward and caring, and she uses CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) to help couples change their attitudes and behavior patterns that induce stress, causing discord in relationships.

For more information about couples counseling or to schedule a consultation, call 858-481-0425, or visit Jan Rakoff, LCSW in 12636 High Bluff Dr. 4th floor today!