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Can good communication divorce-proof your marriage?

Check out any marriage self-help book and you’ll see at least one chapter devoted to communication. Positive communication has long been seen by many as a way to save a bad marriage or prevent things from going downhill to begin with. However, a recent study out of the University of Georgia seems to indicate that good communication may not be the simple solution.

The study included more than 400 couples classified as both low-income and newlyweds and followed them over the course of three years. The couples were assessed by the researchers four times, and each assessment included the couples having to complete three tasks designed to gauge how they communicated with each other. The couples were also asked to fill out a marriage satisfaction questionnaire at each meeting.

While the study did find that the happier, more satisfied couples were more likely to engage in positive communications, it did not show a causal relationship between good communication and marital satisfaction. Instead, it seems to indicate that it is the high level of marital satisfaction that increases the chances the spouses will use positive communication techniques.

While this study shows that having good communication may not save your marriage, it does offer hope to those who want to divorce as peacefully as possible. An increase in life satisfaction — such as what happens when you finally end a relationship that is no longer working — could make the exes more likely to be able to communicate in the friendly, civil manner required for a less stressful divorce and better coparenting experience.

Source: UGA Today, “Study challenges theory that good communication leads to marital satisfaction,” Leigh Beeson, July 07, 2016

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