Harmful communication patterns to avoid in a fight with your partner

Avoid these to make your marriage stronger.

As people, we are greatly impacted by our life experiences, our upbringing, cultures, and beliefs. Thus, when we have conflicts with our partners, we react and respond to them from our perception of the events rather than with an objective POV. We are hurt, angry, and feel wronged, and in that emotionally charged situation, it’s natural for our ability to “listen” to become impaired. Our communication styles go for a toss as we go from being loving and witty to defensive and harsh. 

And none of it has ever led to conflict resolution. There are four common communication patterns that make conflict resolution in a marriage even more difficult, according to a scholarly article titled, ‘Stonewalling and Taking a Break Are Not the Same Thing’ published in the journal, Family Perspectives.

Mindfully avoiding these harmful communication patterns will help you greatly in conflict resolution in your marriage. 


When a partner communicates what they felt bad about or didn’t like and the other person starts feeling attacked and reacts by passing the blame instead, it means they are unable to exhibit accountability for their actions. This makes conflict resolution difficult because it can make one feel not heard in a relationship. Next time your partner points out something they didn’t like, make sure to make them feel heard and try to explore what can be done to avoid the same mistake. 


It is natural to feel angry during a fight but using a tone of contempt tends to make things worse. It makes your partner feel horrible about themselves. For instance, during an argument about household chores, if one partner says, “Why do you care? You anyway are barely contributing to the tasks, you go and lie down in front of the TV and order a round of popcorn.” There is no room for sarcasm and passive aggression in an argument with your partner. You can instead point out that you’d like them to take charge of a few chores so it gives you more time to spend on other things. 


It’s important to focus on the situation at hand and not say non-productive, confrontational statements using generalised phrases such as “you always” or “you never”. If a situation makes you feel uncared for, and it is not a persistent feeling, don’t tell them things like they don’t care for you. This just makes a person feel triggered. Instead, give your feedback in a softer, kinder way, motivating your partner to actually listen.


Sometimes, a fight can get very overwhelming and one may feel the need to protect themselves emotionally by removing themselves from the situation. However, there are two ways people do that. One, when they shut down and refuse to engage with their partner to fix the issue at hand—this is called stonewalling. The second way, which is the only correct way to do it is, taking a cool-down period with the intention of returning to the conversation. Make sure you let your partner know that this discussion is important but it is currently making you feel flooded, and commit to them that you will return to it when you are feeling ready. 

Also read: How to handle conflicts with your partner
Also read: How gratitude can build your marriage