Couples & Marriage

Communication Mistakes Couples Make (And How to Fix Them)

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When your close relationships are struggling, everything else in life feels harder. At The Family Therapy Clinic we want to help you heal, find peace in your life, and remember that you are not alone.

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Communication is a critical component of a healthy relationship. More often than not when a couple sits in front of a therapist for the first time one of the most common things they want to work on is their communication. If couples can’t communicate well it will affect all aspects of their relationship–from how they manage conflict, to planning their schedule, to intimacy.

A couple sits facing away from one another, representing communication issues in their relationship. Learn more about couples communication therapy American Fork, UT by contacting a therapist for couples in American Fork, UT. Search for couples counseling in American Fork, UT for support today.

Here are some common communication mistakes couples make that keep them stuck in conflict rather than having long walks on a moonlit beach. Are any of these mistakes happening in your relationship?

1. Poor Listening

One of the most prevalent issues in communication is poor listening. It’s easy to fall into the trap of waiting for our turn to speak rather than truly listening to our partner. This can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Understandably, it can be difficult to listen to your partner when you feel their point of view is inaccurate or misrepresenting things. It is common to want to jump in and correct or defend, but that leads to more frustration and arguing. Active listening involves paying full attention to what your partner is saying, without interrupting or planning your response prematurely. Reflecting back on what you’ve heard can demonstrate understanding and validate your partner’s feelings. A good couple’s therapist can help you manage your own emotions so that you can really hold space for your partner and their experience, and so your partner can do the same for you.

2. Assuming Mind-Reading Abilities

No matter how close you are to your partner, assuming they can read your mind—or vice versa—sets the stage for disappointment. Couples often expect their significant other to instinctively know what they want or need. This can lead to frustration when expectations aren’t met. Instead, practice expressing your thoughts and feelings clearly and directly. Be open to asking for clarification when needed, and encourage your partner to do the same.

3. Reacting Emotionally Instead of Responding Thoughtfully

In the heat of the moment, emotions can run high and lead to reactive responses rather than thoughtful communication. It’s natural to feel upset or defensive during disagreements, but reacting impulsively can escalate conflicts. Take a moment to pause and collect your thoughts before responding. Use “I” statements to express how you feel without blaming your partner.

A couple argue while standing outside and gesturing with their hands. This could represent communication issues that couples counseling in American Fork, UT can offer support with. Learn more about couples therapy for communication American Fork, UT by searching for a couples therapist American Fork, UT today.

This approach encourages a more constructive dialogue and fosters understanding. And while this is the goal, it is often easier said than done. Often couples feel stuck in a negative conflict cycle where it feels like the harder they try not to fight, the more they inexplicably end up fighting. A couples therapist trained in getting to the core patterns that are keeping you and your partner stuck can help shift you both out of this cycle and into a more peaceful place where you both feel heard and seen.

4. Sweeping Issues Under the Rug

Avoiding difficult topics or brushing them aside in hopes they’ll resolve themselves rarely works. Ignoring problems doesn’t make them disappear; instead, it can breed resentment and distance between partners. Couples who avoid talking about difficult things tend to do so because they do not want to fight, but sweeping things under the rug can lead to a big explosion down the road. When couples avoid having hard conversations it is common for resentment to grow and for connection to decrease. Create a safe space for open communication where both parties feel comfortable discussing concerns or issues. Address problems as they arise, focusing on finding solutions together rather than placing blame. Try to give your partner the benefit of the doubt and assume positive intent when you are approaching touchy subjects. A couples therapist can help you learn how to face hard conversations directly and effectively.

6. Using Negative Communication Patterns

Certain communication patterns, such as criticism, defensiveness, contempt, or stonewalling (withdrawal from the conversation), can be toxic to relationships. These behaviors are known as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by John Gottman. They erode trust and intimacy over time. Instead, strive to cultivate positive communication habits. Practice kindness, empathy, and respect in your interactions. Validate your partner’s feelings, show appreciation for their perspective, and be willing to compromise when conflicts arise.

7. Failing to Acknowledge Different Communication Styles

Everyone has a unique communication style shaped by upbringing, culture, and personal experiences. Misunderstandings can occur when partners fail to recognize and adapt to these differences. Take time to understand your own communication style and that of your partner. Be patient and willing to adjust your approach to better connect and communicate effectively.


A couple holds hands while sitting on a couch across from a person with a clipboard taking notes. This could represent the support a couples therapist in American Fork, UT can offer. Learn more about couples counseling in American Fork, UT by searching for couples communication therapy American Fork, UT today.

Effective communication is not just about talking—it’s about actively listening, understanding, and responding in a way that fosters mutual respect and empathy. By recognizing and avoiding these common communication pitfalls, couples can nurture stronger, more fulfilling relationships. Remember, healthy communication takes practice and patience, but the rewards are profound: deeper intimacy, trust, and a stronger bond that withstands the test of time.

Start Couples Counseling in American Fork, UT

Cultivating effective communication skills in your relationship can take time, but it is a vital part of a lasting, healthy relationship. Our team of caring therapists would be happy to offer support from our American Fork, UT-based practice. Start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:

  1. Schedule a consultation.
  2. Learn more about our therapeutic approaches here.
  3. Start improving couples’ communication!


Couples therapy isn’t the only service offered at The Family Therapy Clinic. Our team provides comprehensive mental health services designed to address your unique needs including teenage support for anxiety or depressionpost-divorce, and support with your faith. Our specialized therapists also offer adult anxiety, adult depression, and  OCD therapy, ensuring a holistic approach to mental wellness across different life stages.

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 American Fork, Utah