barriers to effective communication

Barriers to Effective Communication

Barriers to effective communication are preventing multitudes of people from experiencing the deepest joys of marriage!

Communication is a fundamental, foundational element of intimacy in every relationship. The vast majority of people you talk with will agree that effective communication is the key to success in almost every area of life—and yet, the vast majority of those same people experience significant barriers to effective communication at work in their own lives! Why?

It’s simple: We can’t improve what we don’t understand!

At the Intimate Couple, we talk about the 4 C’s of Intimacy

  1. Commitment
  2. Caring
  3. Common Values
  4. Communication

The fourth in this list, Communication, could be ranked first in importance—because this is where most of the trouble lies!

We might think, “Well, I’m not much of a communicator, but I’m great in the other three areas.”  Unfortunately—that’s not how it works! Poor communication affects every other area of intimacy in marriage! 

When talking about barriers to effective communication and intimacy in a marriage, we recognize intimacy appears in 4 forms:

Types of Intimacy:

  1. Intellectual
  2. Spiritual
  3. Emotional
  4. Sexual

For each of these types of intimacy, the 4 C’s must be present:

  1. communication,
  2. caring,
  3. commitment, and
  4. common values.


Let’s consider the 4C’s Barrel Diagram to see how poor communication affects everything

The 4C’s Barrel Diagram
God designed our marriage relationships to be like a repository—a barrel, if you will! There is an incredible potential in marriage to contain joy, excitement, satisfaction—you name it, marriage can provide it and hold it!The staves in a barrel (the wooden strips the barrel is made from), must all be present for the barrel to hold water! If one is missing altogether, the barrel leaks, and can hold nothing!

Think of communication as one of the staves in the barrel of marriage. If one stave is shorter than the others, the capacity of the entire barrel is directly limited to the shortest stave.

In relationships, a couple can

  • care deeply,
  • hold to the same fundamental common values and,
  • be totally committed to each other

…but if communication is missing, every other area of their relationship will be hampered. Do you see how vital it is that we remove all obstacles to meaningful conversation?!

What are the barriers to effective communication?

Here are 4 causes of, or hindrances to communicating well with your husband or wife:

  1. lacking ability or desire to step into their spouse’s world, (and needs to acknowledge self-centeredness and learn to actively listen!)
  2. lacking communication skills, (and needs to be taught)
  3. lacking self confidence, (and needs to be valued and empowered to express themselves and their views)
  4. lacking a healthy soul, (and needs to be freed from bitterness, regret, or rejection)

In my humble opinion, most barriers to effective communication can be traced back to one of these root causes. 

Much could be said, but let’s only focus on the first hindrance to good communication: lacking ability or desire to step into our spouse’s world.

Brady Wilson, a long-time personal friend, is author of Juice, Releasing Your Company’s Intelligent Energy, and co-founder of Juice Inc., one of the few companies in the world to specialize in conversation – conversation that leads to:

  • engagement,
  • productivity, and
  • alignment.

In his fascinating book, Brady refers to the push/pull of communication. So often, we want to push our views, ideas, and values on others. This approach inevitably erects walls and hindrances in experiencing good conversation.

However, applying Brady’s ideas to intimacy in marriage removes those barriers to effective communication by engaging in pull conversations:

  • step into our spouse’s world
  • fully understand and validate their viewpoint by asking appropriate questions,
  • only then, speak our truth
  • together come to a common understanding


For further material on Juice, and Brady Wilson, check out his website.