Communication in Relationships and Marriage

By | August 18, 2009

communication couple marriage st george utah justin stum
Healthy Relationships
Communication is the path by which individuals share and exchange information about their perceptions, feelings, and thoughts. It is imperative that individuals learn to engage and connect with others in ways that promote healthy relationships and bonding within them.

Many adolescents I work with and adults alike, struggle to communicate in ways that are supportive of their relationships. I find with that when individuals have some understanding and conceptualization of how they are communicating it is easier for them to identify patterns that have kept them stuck in ruts that keep them from the happiness and relational harmony.

Patterns and Style
I think of one couple I worked with that had a specific pattern/style. A critical remark would be made about one thing or another and the husband would shut down. His wife would feel bad for the comments and apologize. He’d continue to be hurt and give her the silent treatment. He’d engage in passive and withdrawn behavior claiming he’d been hurt all the while giving her the silent treatment for days. Now, there a few things that need to change here. His wife needs help to attend to him and speak more kindly and he needs to not punish her when she slips up with a critical comment. I was able to work with the couple and assist them in identifying and helping them both to begin to learn to assertively speak to one another, especially around emotionally loaded issues in their marriage. In time they found that they could talk about any topic and stay calm and avoid the critical comments. During this same window of time, they were rekindling feelings of genuine love and concern for one another that helped to reinforce and support their newfound ways to communicating further strengthening their commitment and relationship.

Communication Continuum – 5 Forms Of Communication
I have created a document that helps you identify the 7 different types of communication. It can be a guide in assisting you in understanding and altering the ways you communicate. Ideally, you’d be communicating in the ‘assertive’ form, a way that invites love, connection, commitment and passion into your relationships. The other forms are not healthy and do not support a emotionally connecting and safe relationship.

Withdrawn: Withdrawn forms of communication are non-verbal, and include: stares, dirty looks, gestures and isolation, and self-destructive behaviors such as cutting, drug overdosing, hiding behind alcohol, the internet, or other activities that fuel avoidant behavior from others, etc. Sometimes people cause others to avoid them through muttering in an angry tone.

Passive: Passive forms of communication include: whining, expression of feeling victimized, “poor me,” blaming, “you” messages, turning to others for problem solving, etc. An inability to say “no,” even when saying “yes” may hurt is also a hallmark of passivity. Sarcasm is a primary staple for those that are passive communicators. Passivity is marked by mixed messages and ones that ‘seem’ non-confrontational but underneath are as destructive as the other more intense forms of communication.

Assertive: Assertive communication is the healthy balance point between aggressive/assaultive pattern, and withdrawn/passive patterns. Assertion is incompatible with negative communication at either end of the scale. Assertive communication includes: accepting responsibility rather than blaming or dumping hostility, using “I-Feel” statements, making choices and giving others choices, and developing good listening habits. It has entails calm tone, clear wording, and some level of humility.

Aggressive: Aggressive forms of communication include: loud/angry blaming of others, yelling, name calling, hostile “you” messages, such as “you better watch out,” or “you’re going to get it.” Demands, volume, and light threats also encompass aggressive ways of communicating.

Assaultive: Assaultive forms of communication are non-verbal and include hitting, kicking, or throwing items. It usually entails ones feeling out of control and attempts to punish, harm, or scare the other individual.

View or print a free print-copy of the 5 Styles Of Communication at the link here —-> Communication Continuum Print Copy

I counsel people from all over Southern Utah about their relationships and would be glad to help you come to understand the patterns, history, and nature of your relationships and how to begin living in a manner that helps you find the greatest satisfaction and peace in your life. You deserve to be happy and have fulfilling and meaningful relationships with all those whom you love and spend time with.

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Copyright: No part of this article in section or full may be reproduced without permission from the author Justin Stum, MS LMFT. The one and only exception is for educational purposes and only if the contact information below for the author is fully cited here in article. Justin Stum, MS LMFT, 640 E. 700 S., Suite 103,  St. George Utah 84770 435-574-9193,

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