When you go to the store to purchase something, there are usually three steps involved. You ask the retailer for the product you want, agree on a price suitable to both, and pay for it. Now, imagine heading to the store with a price in mind and the will to pay for it too. But instead of asking the retailer you just stand there, expecting them to understand what you need. Won’t work, right?
That’s a rudimentary example of how communication works, or rather the lack of it can make it ineffective. In relationships too, be it at the home, office, or with friends, the lack of communication can cause many problems, pushing you and your loved one apart.
At home, the lack of communication can sometimes ruin your marital bliss leading up to a divorce. We understand communication can be difficult, and you don’t want to keep explaining yourself repeatedly. But it’s not the big ones that cause the problems, it’s usually the small, less obvious ones that eventually become the trigger point.
There are many causes of communication problems when it comes to marriage. But once you identify and work upon them, they can be resolved.
So what causes lack of communication in marriage, and how can you fix them? Read on to know more.
What Causes Lack Of Communication In Marriage?
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1. Emotional invalidation
Imagine you’ve had an extremely difficult day in the office and only you know how you’ve managed to ease the rising tensions between you and the boss. You narrate this to your partner, who brushes it off saying “It’s not a big deal.”
Maybe in the larger scheme of things, it may not be a “big deal” but it matters to you, right? That’s what happens in several relationships where the other partner feels invalidated. Sometimes, we unknowingly invalidate our partner’s needs creating a rift in the relationship.
Your partner could do the same to you the next time, further increasing that rift. Emotional invalidation also kills intimacy and emotional connection between the partners, which can make you less trusting of the other person.
Solution: The simple solution to this issue is just acknowledging what your partner says. You may disagree with them and that’s completely okay.
But the important thing is you hear them out first. Your partner should feel they are safe with you – both physically and emotionally – and building that trust will require you to lend an ear from time to time.
2. Not communicating what you want
Like the very first scenario we played out for you, not communicating what you want will only go against you in the long run. You cannot expect your partner to understand your thoughts or what exactly do you need.
Solution: Unless you and your partner have a telepathic connection, which is unlikely, you will have to actually muster up the courage and say what you feel. Sometimes, this can be an unpleasant conversation but the point is you need to have this with your partner.
By not communicating it in the first place, you are just adding fuel to the feelings of anger and resentment against your spouse. At the same time, you need to be understanding that they can’t agree to everything you say. And you will have to respect their space as well.
3. Not making time for each other
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Between stressful careers, children and worldly commitments, even the most communicative couples can lose track of the marriage. At some point, either of you will realise how much you’ve been neglecting each other and want to initiate a connection. However, sometimes your partner might just simply neglect your feelings.
Firstly, this happens and it’s just a by-product of the 21st-century lifestyle. It can be isolating when your partner neglects you, and may even make you feel lonely and disrespected at times.
Solution: But this is something that can be easily resolved by making an active effort to take the time out for your spouse.
This will also need you to be more understanding and pick up on cues that your partner is sending out subconsciously. Make your partner feel supported and you can work yourself back to the happy days of your relationship.
4. Behaving in a passive-aggressive tone
It’s one thing to not communicate your problems in a marriage. But it’s another to be whiny about it.
No one likes that, especially when you genuinely walk up to your spouse and ask, “Is everything okay?” only to be shrugged off with an “I’m fine, please don’t bother me.”
You’ve closed the door and it won’t allow you both to have an open conversation about the problem at hand. This can also be a trigger point for either couple and open a can of worms of previous issues.
Solution: Be honest about how you feel and what you think about your partner’s reaction to the situation. Make statements using “I” but do not make it sound that you’re the one putting all the effort into the relationship.
So say, “I understand that you’re upset but can you please not talk to me in that tone. We can resolve your problem together.”
This would be a far more effective approach to the conversation than saying, “I don’t like that tone, especially when I’m stepping up to help you with your problem.” Your spouse needs a partner, not a superhero.
The idea is to find a solution to the problem, rather than escalating existing problems between you and your partner. Always look at the bigger picture.
5. It’s not a competition
Competitive couples can be hard to please when one is always trying to upstage the other. There are no winners here unless the grand prize is a broken relationship.
Instead of focusing on the problem at hand, couples forget to work together to resolve even the smallest of tasks.
Solution: A healthy marriage is about thinking and acting like a team, which means making a conscious effort to include your partner in your decisions. So, compromise will go a long way in protecting the sanity of your marriage.
When both partners become empathetic towards each other, they are more likely to validate their individual stances, till they agree on a common resolution. Each conflict may not require compromise but it needs teamwork.
6. Lack of romance
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What causes lack of communication in marriage also contributes to ruining your romantic life. Lack of sex or intimacy can be gravely responsible for pulling apart some relationships.
Between the small fights and hectic schedules, you sometimes won’t realise where’d you lose the time to actually be there for your partner physically, until it’s too late.
Solution: Be there. As a spouse, listen to what your partner needs mentally, emotionally and physically. Take out the time to spend time with each other without the distraction of kids or work.
Some couples also like to put fights on hold to be intimate with each other. It serves as a reminder that this relationship is worth the effort.
Go out for dinners or even a walk in the park. Take a weekend together without the kids. Or simply organise a playdate for your little one, so you can have the house to yourself.
As long as you find time for each other, the smaller issues won’t matter.
7. Don’t be complacent
You made gigantic promises when you were courting your partner and now that you’re married, you seem to have conveniently forgotten some of them.
Solution: Do not assume your partner will understand. Fulfil the promises you made and take an active effort to keep that spark alive in your relationship.
Complacency restricts you from growing as a person, and the will to improve yourself in the marriage and otherwise.
Marriages are complicated. It requires effort, compromise and trust from either partner to make it work. And sometimes a bit of compromise too. Nevertheless, what causes lack of communication in marriage can be fixed by focusing on what you contribute to it.
If need be, visit a marriage counsellor to help you and your spouse to resolve your issues.