Communication is more than important for a happy marriage. What if I told you communication is the relationship?

Without communication, you wouldn't have a marriage. It makes sense then to learn effective communication skills for a better marriage.

The first piece of advice is to minimize judgmental statements. Judgments are a common communication barrier in interpersonal relationships. You're judgmental when you label another person as "stupid", "uncaring", or "selfish". Labeling categorizes, assumes traits, and degrades another person.

Instead of ranting on about how selfish your partner is for not doing something you requested, state what you felt and need in objective terms. Here are three examples of good assertive statements that avoid judgment:

1) "When I come home from work and you don't hug me, I feel unwanted."
2) "When we agree to go out for dinner and you don't call me about being late, I feel frustrated because I've looked forward to dinner with you all day."
3) "I would like you to pick up the kids so I can cook dinner for us. Can you do that? Or do you have another idea to help get our needs met?"

These are much more powerful than a judgmental, "You're so selfish!"

Another effective communication skill in marriage is to acknowledge you cannot read another's mind. This goes for communication outside the marriage.

You don't know your partner's intentions or motives behind an action. You may think they intended to hurt you, get revenge, or elicit a certain response from you, but this is mind-reading. Talk to your partner to seek clarification and build understanding. Open up communication instead of shutting it down with judgments, mind-reading, and the third tip - destructive conflict.

A third secret of happy marriage communication is to not avoid conflict. One of the greatest myths of happy marriages is the couples do not fight. Quite the opposite. A couple with effective communication know how to fight because disagreements, problems, and tension is inevitable.

What separates happy couples from miserable couples is their communication. Conflict in the later is destructive while the communication in the former is constructive. What matters is how you deal with conflict. Good marital communication means you face an issue up front with compassion for your partner.

Eighteenth century master writer Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy known for his War and Peace book said, "What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility." How you do that depends on your ability to effectively communicate using the tips you learned in this article.

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