The #1 Marriage Problem, According To Therapists (And How To Fix It)

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how to communicate effectively

Every relationship has its share of problems. You'd think that the worst things a relationship could face would be death, health issues, and/or money problems. While those things are indeed challenging, therapists agree that poor communication skills is the number one relationship problem.

In an article in Self, psychotherapist Laura Young said, "The number one problem... in marriage is indeed effective communication. This includes how to argue with your spouse and not threaten to leave the relationship during a fight, as well as how to recognize — perhaps remember — that the annoying behaviors you feel are now intolerable have probably always been there. Perhaps you even felt they were adorable at one point."

RELATED: 7 Critical Things Couples With Good Communication Do Way Differently

You can learn how to communicate effectively, but being able to do it in the most effective way possible is easier if you do it at the start of a relationship. You set the foundation of good communication, and communicating becomes part of the way you interact with your partner.

So, here are six communication mistakes you might be making in your relationship, and how to fix them:

1. You believe that talking is enough.

Just talking with your partner isn't good communication. Therapist Erica Curtis says that one of the biggest mistakes we can make is assuming that communication connects us to our partner. Talking does make women feel connected to other people, but for many men (and some women) this isn't rue.

You need to connect before you communicate, and this will help to create open and effective communication. Try to connect on a shared activity such as playing tennis or cooking together. Don't forget that body language is another way to aid in communication.

2. You expect your partner to know what you're thinking and feeling.

Most people aren't mind readers; in fact, it seems as if the more they try, the further they get from what's actually going on with us. Never assume that you don't have to say what you want or how you feel. Say it out loud; your partner will appreciate you stating your needs directly. 

RELATED: The Way Your Zodiac Sign Communicates Best, According To Astrology

3. You hide your feelings to keep the peace.

As someone who hates conflict, I know that if you don't deal with something, it never goes away. It will eventually return as a bigger problem. Things don't disappear, they just get worse. It's better to deal with something when it's a smaller issue rather than have it irreparably damage your relationship.

4. You rant — a lot.

Yes, get your feelings out, but don't keep ranting. At certain point your partner is just going to shut down, and there are times when less really is more.

5. You're locked into your point of view.

It's difficult to see both sides of the story. If you're so rigid, you refuse to see things from anyone else's view point. You don't always have to agree with your partner, but try to understand where they're coming from. Try to let go of the need to be right — compromise is key.

6. You don't listen to your partner. 

If you're not honestly listening to what your significant other is saying, the chances of misinterpreting what they're saying are great. Try not to jump to conclusions. 

Giving and getting good communication (even about difficult topics) can be stimulating, bonding, and enjoyable. With good communication skills, you and your partner will be much more likely to handle the relationship challenges that come your way.

RELATED: Tone Of Voice MATTERS: It's Not What You Say, It's How You Say It

Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and teacher who loves writing and performing personal narratives. She's had pieces in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Woman's Day, Purple Clover, Bustle, and is a regular contributor to Ravishly and YourTango. Check out her website or her Facebook page.