Constructs to Enhance Effective Marital Communication

Communication, as an overarching principle, is arguably extraordinarily complex because of its multi-faceted and multi-layer variables, particularly in the context of interpersonal and intrapersonal communication.

According to Stewart (2012), “Good listening is the ability to get into the shoes of the speaker in order to see his side of the issue” (p. 187). According to Burley-Allen (1995) “We devote 40 percent of our day to listening, yet, his tests revealed, [sic] listen at only 25 percent efficiency.

With training, our listening can be improved so that we listen at level 1 more often (p. 120). As it relates to marriage, researchers continue to investigate the type of relationships that may exist between marital communication and marital satisfaction. According to Lavner, Karney, and Bradbury (2016), “the quality of communication between spouses is widely assumed to affect their subsequent judgments of relationship satisfaction, yet this assumption is rarely tested against the alternative prediction that communication is merely a consequence of spouses’ prior levels of satisfaction” (p. 680).

In an interesting study Lavner et al., (2016) postulate an interesting hypothesis suggesting that marital communication and satisfaction may be correlated concurrently “not because communication predicts satisfaction but because satisfaction predicts communication” (p. 681). The study was conducted among first married newly-weds from diverse cultural backgrounds in low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles County. The sample population was evaluated four times over consecutive nine-month periods. The results, based on this the study, revealed that “satisfaction is a more consistent and stronger predictor of communication than the reverse, but overall, both effects are fairly inconsistent and similar in magnitude” (p. 690).

I chose to highlight this study because I thought that we could collectively gain considerable insight from this paradigm shift of thought as it were. In other words, perhaps if we introspect and synergistically seek to improve overarching marital satisfaction, applying principles such as: (a) holy honor, (b) righteously living, (c) daily repentance, (d) building spiritual discipline such as prayer and (c) reciprocal unconditional love, respect, and forgiveness; effective marital communication may intrinsically manifest in our character (Eggerichs, 2004; Thomas, 2015).


Burley-Allen, M. (1995). Listening: The forgotten skill. (2 nd ed.). New York,
NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Eggerichs, E. (2004). Love and respect. Grand Rapids, MI: Thomas Nelson.

Lavner, J. A; Karney, B. R; Bradbury, T. N. (2016). Does couples' communication predict marital satisfaction, or does marital satisfaction predict Communication? Journal of Marriage and Family, 78(3), 680-694. Retrieved from

Stewart, J. (2012). Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication. (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.