Be Curious, Not Furious – A Tip To Improve Communication In Your Marriage

August 10, 2023

A lot of the therapy work I do is helping couples and partners understand what their contributions to the relationship are, and how they can start making changes with communication. Specifically, when communicating with your spouse, it’s important to make sure that you are not part of the problem, but part of the solution.

Being Curious, Not Furious

Being open and receptive to your partner is one way you can be part of the solution and not part of the problem. One of the tips I use with my couples in session is the reminder to be curious, not furious.

In healthy conversation between a couple, when one of you brings up a complaint or a concern, the partner will be receptive.”Hey, tell me more. I’m interested. Help me understand.” On the other hand, if you are meeting your partner’s complaints with rebuttals “That’s not true”, or trying to problem solve, then you are likely part of the problem and not part of the solution. We want to be receptive when our partner speaks and communicates. Being receptive will encourage your partner to be more willing to share with you. Likewise, when you have a concern or complaint, your partner will be more willing to be understanding of your concerns and give you the time to hear you out.

How it Works

So when I say ‘curious, not furious’, here’s what I mean. Oftentimes when our partner says something that we don’t like, we react in the moment. We get triggered. We get angry or upset or defensive, and we respond in kind.

Being curious instead of furious, means pressing pause on that instant reaction of anger or frustration and instead responding in a way that helps you learn more about how your spouse is really feeling. That might sound like “Tell me more.” or “Help me understand why you think XYZ.” For example, if your partner says to you “You are not a safe place to come to.”, you have a choice on how to respond.

You can respond defensively and say “Of course I am a safe place. Here are all the things I do and ways that I’m safe..” Or, you can try to solve the problem, “You wouldn’t feel that way if you….”. These kinds of responses keep couples stuck in an unhealthy cycle.

Next time you find yourself in one of these conversations, I want to encourage you to come at your spouse from a place of curiosity. “Help me understand why you feel I’m not a safe person to come to. Why does it feel hard to talk to me?” By asking these kinds of open-ended questions, you are able to learn more about what it is that your partner’s trying to say and your partner is more likely to feel heard.

We can all practice being a little bit more curious, not furious and it will change the dynamics of our conversations with each other.

My clients actively practice this communication tool and I hope it also helps you.


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