Toxic Communication That Can Ruin a Marriage

Words are hard. They say that communication is important for a marriage, but many couples fail in this department. It is safe to say that many people do not know how to communicate well. They may stay quiet and fail to express their feelings. Your spouse may ignore you when you share something important. They may use negative body language or hurtful words. They may roll their eyes or focus on something else, like a video game, TV, or phone.

You cannot go wrong with clear communication. Being open, honest, and straightforward with your spouse will ensure that you are understood. This will prevent miscommunications, which can negatively affect a marriage.

Are you or your spouse engaging in toxic communication? Toxic communication can hurt your marriage and lead to divorce. Here are some types of communication to avoid to help you stay married and communicate well for years to come.

Getting Defensive

When your spouse brings up an issue, you need to respond appropriately. Getting upset and defensive is not the way to go about it. Do not be so quick to get mad and place blame. “Not my fault” should not be the first words out of your mouth. Instead, show empathy by saying something like, “I’m sorry you’re feeling frustrated.”

It can be easy for you and your spouse to blame each other. Instead, work toward finding a solution to the problem.

Being Overly Critical

Another type of extreme communication response is being overly critical. You have to remember that your partner is not perfect. They will make mistakes, and they will do things that annoy you. It is best to ignore the things that do not really matter. If your partner asks for your advice, be honest, but try to avoid damaging their self-esteem in the process.


Gaslighting has quickly become a popular term, but what exactly does it mean? Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation used to make a victim feel doubtful and confused. They seek to control their partner by distorting reality and forcing them to question their own judgment. A person who gaslights someone will make it seem as though they are imagining things. It can be difficult to stay married to someone who gaslights you.


Stonewalling is another type of toxic communication that can ruin a marriage. Ever heard of the silent treatment? That is what stonewalling is. You may be tired of arguing with your spouse, but simply refusing to talk does not help things. Instead, it only makes matters worse. Ignoring them or engaging in the silent treatment is a petty form of arguing that may occur when you are feeling overwhelmed. If you need a break, that is fine, but be sure to let your spouse know. Stonewalling is a sign of giving up. Instead of giving up, take some time to collect your thoughts, understand your feelings, and work with your spouse to come up with a solution to the problem.

Using Absolutes

When a person is frustrated, they may use absolutes such as “You always make me mad” or “You never help around the house.” Avoid using this type of language. It is normal to get frustrated when things don’t go your way, but you need to avoid taking it out on your partner. Also, using words such as “never” and “always” can make your partner feel as though they are the cause of all your problems.

Negative Body Language

We can communicate nonverbally as well, and what you do not say can also have a huge impact on your spouse. When your spouse tries to talk to you, and you roll your eyes or turn your back toward them, you are being disrespectful. You are showing your partner you do not care about what they are saying and you do not want to be around them. Instead, use your words to convey how you are feeling so there is no miscommunication.


A steamroller just runs right over everything in its path. That’s what steamrolling does in the communication world as well. When you steamroll someone, you talk over them, do not let them talk, and change the subject abruptly. This is a type of narcissistic behavior that can lead to rage in a relationship.

Steamrolling is toxic and makes a person feel as though they are not being heard. They fear saying anything because their spouse won’t listen to them anyway. They feel unworthy, causing them to stay silent.

Making Assumptions

You should never assume that your spouse knows how you feel about a certain topic or knows what you want to talk to them about. Some people have a hard time “getting the hint.” Get out of your head and start communicating with your spouse. Be clear with your spouse so there is no miscommunication. Avoid beating around the bush. Be open and honest. This will allow your partner to understand your perspective and show empathy toward you.

Seek Legal Help

The way you communicate with your spouse can affect your marriage. Be careful to avoid negative patterns of communication, which can push your spouse against you.

If you and your spouse cannot communicate well, then try therapy. If that does not work, then divorce may be the best option. Get the help you need from Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. We will work with you to get the outcome you desire. We have 30+ years of experience. Schedule a consultation with our office by calling (954) 346-6464 or filling out the online form.