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Six Levels of Marriage Communication

Marriage, at its core, thrives on effective communication. Renowned relationship expert Gary Smalley outlined a framework to help couples understand and improve the way they connect with each other. His “6 Levels of Marriage Communication” provides a detailed guide to deepening intimacy through focused and intentional conversation. This blog explores each level and offers practical advice for couples looking to enhance their marital communication.

Level 1: Surface Communication

At the first level, communication is basic and often revolves around day-to-day activities and logistics. Conversations typically include topics like “What’s for dinner?” or “Did you pay the bills?” While seemingly mundane, these interactions are essential for managing a household and sharing responsibilities.

Tip for Couples: Use these moments to show appreciation and attention to detail, which can strengthen the bond even in routine exchanges.

Level 2: Reporting Facts

Here, couples share information and facts but avoid personal opinions or emotions. This level is about conveying information, like discussing news events or sharing updates about work.

Tip for Couples: Try to engage more deeply with the topics by asking open-ended questions to encourage your partner to share more than just facts.

Level 3: Sharing Ideas and Judgments

This level involves more vulnerability as couples start to share their opinions and judgments. Discussions might center on political views, parenting styles, or personal preferences.

Tip for Couples: Respect and openness are crucial at this stage. Acknowledge your partner’s views and explore the reasons behind their opinions without judgment.

Good marriage communication like sharing feelings and emotions

Level 4: Sharing Feelings and Emotions

Emotionally charged communication happens at this level. Sharing feelings about a job, fears, joys, or frustrations allows couples to deepen their emotional connection.

Tip for Couples: Practice active listening and validate each other’s feelings. It’s not about solving problems but understanding and empathizing with your partner’s emotional state.

Level 5: Sharing Needs, Desires, and Prayers

Level five is about expressing deeper needs and desires, including hopes for the future or spiritual life. Sharing at this level can significantly enhance intimacy as it involves opening up about personal dreams and vulnerabilities.

Tip for Couples: Create a safe and supportive environment where both partners feel comfortable expressing their deepest desires and fears.

Level 6: Complete Emotional and Personal Communication

The deepest level of communication involves a complete and unguarded sharing of one’s self. This includes fears, failures, successes, and deep personal experiences. At this level, nothing is held back, allowing for total understanding and acceptance.

Tip for Couples: Trust and security are fundamental at this stage. It’s essential to maintain confidentiality and show unconditional love and support.


Gary Smalley’s 6 Levels of Marriage Communication is a powerful tool that can help couples navigate the complexities of marital interaction. By understanding and practicing these levels, couples can build a stronger, more resilient relationship. Each level builds upon the previous one, so it’s important to develop gradually and consistently. Remember, the goal of communication in marriage is not just to inform but to connect, and these levels provide a roadmap for deepening that connection.

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