Communication in Marriage — It Ain’t Always Easy Salt Lake City!

Communication in Marriage is tough work for couples in Salt Lake City. Whether you live in West Valley, Tooele or Magna, what can be done to dramatically improve your marital communication? Check out this great information and definitely share it if you like it.

Communication in Marriage — Its about Perception Salt Lake City!

By now you’ve likely seen the BYU grad’s letter he wrote to his wife which began “Dinner was Awful” that went viral recently on Huffington Post and a number of other media outlets.  In fact, according to a story on, Ashton Kutcher even shared it on his Facebook page.  Wow! Regarding the scrawled letter, it not only appears to start out hurtful, it gets much worse from there:

“Dear Stefanie,” he states. “Dinner tasted awful and it smelled so I am leaving you a note. I just have to go. I have taken all my things. Just can’t stand you, I won’t be back. I have had enough. Enjoy your life. Goodbye, Max.”  After about 10 seconds of incredible shock, Stephanie Horsley noticed a second piece of this note, which had been torn out and was set face down just a few feet away from the first one.  When Stephanie pieced the two together it read:

“Dear Stefanie,” Dinner tasted awfully good, and it smelled great, so I am leaving you a note. I have to just go to the library. I have taken all my things I need to study. Just can’t stand your being gone. I won’t be back until 8 p.m. I have had enough dinner. Thanks. Enjoy your life cereal as a snack. Goodbye, Love Max.”

Apparently Horlsey and his wife were browsing through Pintrest recently and had recognized his handwriting on something pinned there.  Horsley further stated that he had written the note essentially on a whim and that his wife, Stephanie, had found it really funny.  However, not everyone has found it so funny though with some commenting that “this is not even a tiny bit funny or clever. It’s downright rotten.”  And,  “I agree, it’s not funny. Imagine the fear she felt for that short moment. Not very clever humor.”  The Horsley’s disagree and Stephanie was quoted on stating that “regardless of what’s going in your life, if you were to get a note like that , its hard not to feel happy.”

When Does Communication in Marriage Damage Relationships in West Valley City?

The Horsley’s apparently have a marriage where humor bordering on sarcasm seems to be okay in their relationship.  As a therapist that has seen many couples during the last 15 years, humor in marriage is absolutely wonderful when not focused on subjects related to, well, some of the following (btw, many of these subjects are absolutely NOT funny to your wife):

#1) Weight or appearance.  Too many men believe that its somehow their marital responsibility to point out lovingly to his wife that she’s overweight! Men somehow believe that comments related to her “baby fat” or “love handles” will absolutely motivate her to want to lose the extra weight she’s gained since marriage and children.  Really!!! This counterproductive perspective simply isn’t true and actually drives a wedge in the marriage and figuratively in his wife’s heart as she feels unattractive, undesirable and unwanted.

#2) The Dirty House. This is the classic marriage conundrum as husbands arriving home to a cluttered house actually wonder aloud, “why is the house so cluttered when you have all day to clean it?”  Further, “what do you do all day?” He actually seems to believe that his work at the office is more demanding and that being a stay-at-home mom should easily allow for the house to be clean, the children neatly attired, and dinner on the table promptly at 6 PM when he arrives home. Ugh!

#3) Marital Affection. Once a marriage moves from the Before Kid stage to the After Kid stage, the dynamic in the marriage totally changes around the complex dance of the marital bedroom.  Wife now spends her time feeding and changing diapers, feeding and changing diapers…for what seems like forever.  Sleep is a luxury, as is time to have an adult conversation with her husband.  He is absolutely blown away by her lack of attention and may make comments such as “don’t I even matter any more” or “when are you going to have time for me?”  I’ve blogged on this subject before and highly recommend you check this out.

When Is Humor In Marriage Awesome?

We’ve all heard the old axiom that Laughter is the Best Medicine.  Research has shown for many years the amazing correlation between humor or laughter and absolutely boosting of our mood…and ramping up of our ability to fight off diseases.  When we laugh, our brains release endorphins and also increase the levels of serotonin in our bodies that produce positive results.  Thus, humor in our individual and marital lives can be very connective in the marital relationship.  The key really becomes what works for your marriage and what doesn’t?  I’m confident that the three items noted in the previous section are clearly not helpful to yours or any marriage really.  However, what can be extremely helpful to strengthening closeness in the marriage include these three helpful suggestions:

#1) No Sarcasm. Absolutely work together to completely remove sarcasm from your marriage communication vocabulary.  I’ve been surprised over the years how many couples don’t recognize that the snide comments intended to be funny are actually deeply hurtful and damaging to the person carrying the brunt of the “joke,” e.g., honey I was just kidding.”  This is particularly true when husbands find it necessary to use their wife as a focal point of a joke to get a laugh.  The need to get a laugh at your wife’s expense is wrong on so many levels.  Don’t do it!

#2) Communicate often. It is well known that even when we’re not talking, we’re communicating.  This can range from loving glances to light hand touches…to arms folded and backs turned to each other. The latter examples denoting anger, frustration or hurt. In fact, over half of all communication is done non-verbally.  Not good in marriage! I highly recommend that couples take 15-30 minutes each evening to talk to each other without distractions from the kids, the boss, or even your church calling.  This is usually done best once the kids are to bed and the television, IPhone, etc., are turned off.  Make sure to make eye contact, compliment each other, and to touch, e.g., hold hands, stroke her arm, etc.  This will absolutely help build connection in your marriage.

#3) “Check In”  Always! This is perhaps the most critical and helpful of these three key items.  Checking In includes texts during the day.  It includes a kiss at the door as he leaves for work…and when we leave each other to go on an errand.  It includes asking how your spouse is really doing…regularly.  It simply means truly caring how your sweetheart or honey is feeling.  Notice, ask…and Check In!

Communication In Marriage — How To Improve in Salt Lake City!

Regarding communication in marriage, the Horsley’s appear to have some good communication.  Hey, at least he cared enough to leave a note…even an apparently controversial one!  Whether you agree with their approach is certainly open for discussion.  However, the key for your marriage is whether you and your spouse agree on what makes communication effective.  Is humor, joking around and perhaps putting your spouse on the spot as Mr. Horsley appeared to do okay in your marriage? Do your communication patterns in your marriage bring you closer together or do you feel more like roommates in your marriage? These are key questions to ask…questions to discuss with your spouse to improve your marriage on many important levels.  If you find yourself wondering if you should do a Google search for “Improving Marriages in Magna” or “Counseling Tooele,” then perhaps your marriage needs a communication over haul. My advice is to not wait until your marriage flat lines, or you continue in a roommate marriage. Be proactive and actually ask your spouse how he/she believes your marriage is progressing.  To do otherwise, well, likely dooms you to a mediocre marriage at best.  This is not what you signed on for…nor will it help you feel complete in your marriage.

Michael Boman, LCSW, is a marriage and relationship expert who is also the Clinical Director for England Counseling Services and LifeSTAR Oquirrh.  Michael can be reached for comment or to speak to your community, church or school group on subjects related to improving marriage, sexual addiction and communication in relationships, at [email protected] 









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