Good communication in marriage is a must. In fact, it’s the difference between being able to survive the small stuff—like meal planning and child-pick-up—as well as the big things like financial hardship and sexual satisfaction.
But according to research published in the academic journal Couple Family Pscyhology, a lack of communication that leads to increased conflict and arguing is one of the top three precursors to divorce. (The other two are a lack of commitment and infidelity and extra-marital affairs.) After all, bad communication tends to have a snowball effect. And if you don’t nip it in the bud when it first starts, negative habits just pile on.
So, how do truly happy couples steer clear of communication pitfalls? We checked in with two New York City-based matrimonial and family law attorneys Kelly Frawley and Emily Pollock, both partners at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, to find out the most common mistakes that they see again and again. Here, their top tips for keeping the lines of communication open.