WE DEMAND TO BE RIGHT. A common argument couples have right? Sometimes it becomes so silly as to who remembered what, that the bigger issue is forgotten. It becomes a battle of 'who said or did what' and this will clearly end up nowhere good. When we argue about who is right or wrong, the only thing it communicates is that we want to feel in control. Unfortunately, women get more of this blame, but this doesn't make men innocent either.
WE EXPECT A CERTAIN ANSWER. Couples who have been together for a long time often believe they can "predict" their partner's response. This isn't far-fetched, but it gives us a false sense of omniscience. This belief makes us less open to what our partner says because our mind will hear what we want to hear. This can make us irritated when we don't hear what we expect or when our partner gives us the same damn response all the time (ie. "it's up to you").
WE ARE CLOSED TO NEW IDEAS. All roads lead to this. When we argue to be right or believe we know what our partner will say before they say it, we close up our willingness to hear anything new. So even if we were to hear something new from our partner, we won't even recognize it, believe it, or hear it. We stick to our ideas and beliefs, and become more restricted in our communication. This is where communication gets stuck.
To get unstuck, we must remind ourselves that communication is about being open to our partner's influence and being able to handle the message. It will only flow back and forth easily when we can do this. When we are closed to our partner's influence we might hear our partner say something like: "what's the point, you've already made up your mind", and we may find our partner talking less or appearing disinterested when we "need to talk". When we are unable to handle the message, we might hear our partner say something like: "I don't want you to over-react", and we may find ourselves hurt or defensive. Possibly leading into a new argument that justifies what our partner just said.
Communication is simple and complex all at the same time. The hopeful thing is that we are always communicating, even when we are not speaking. So communication is not the problem we face in relationships. The problem we face is how we can change ourselves to be more open and ready to hear the truth. When we can be more open and handle our partner's response appropriately, then communication becomes easy.