Effective marriage communication or the lack of communication in your marriage can decide whether your marriage will last for a very long time or whether it will wither away to become another divorce statistic. The problem with our communication in the modern world is that we say less and we want people to understand more. Especially in marriage it is seen that the individuals take each other for granted after some time. They start to assume things more. The more they assume, the more they are cut off from the actual reality. This is so true in the case of marriage communication. The husband assumes that the wife knows what he is thinking and therefore he need not openly communicate regarding the problem. Similarly the wife thinks that if he doesn’t know what the problem is then he does not deserve to know it anyways. Can we see what is actually happening in this situation? Here both the parties are not effectively communicating to each other and they are leaving the problem to be solved on the basis of assumptions. Instead of solving the problems in their marriage through effective communication the individuals become party to the deterioration of their marriage. So what is the solution? First of all let’s accept the fact that the solution is neither simple nor instant. But then we have to make a beginning and it would be good to do that from our own self. The foremost thing that we can do is to avoid the pitfall of assumptions and this can be done by living a life based on principles rather than individual positions. A life based on principles will open up avenues for positive and constructive communications.
Marriage communication: Importance of communication based on principles
What we need to understand is that a marriage cannot be sustained without effective marriage communication. A healthy long term marriage needs effective and open communication which is continuous and which is based on principles rather than rigid positions taken by the self. When we base the marriage on solid principles then we tend to communicate more and assume less. Lesser we assume, the more we will communicate. To start with, the individuals in a marriage need to understand that marriage is a “long term affair” and when they have decided to live with each other then they are looking at a lifelong process. This is one of the basic principles with which we should enter into a married life. Once we are convinced with this basic principle then communication flows easily in the marriage. This communication can be for handling the problems in the marriage as well as for improving the overall environment of the marriage. Under these positive circumstances even the arguments between the couple become constructive in nature and they no longer become a source for “ego clash”. In fact such constructive arguments help the couple in finding effective solution for improving the overall circumstance and environment of their marriage. Here conflict is then seen as a step towards finding a solution rather than attacking the individual.
Marriage communication: Effective communication in marriage
As I said before, the foremost requirement for effective marriage communication is to base your communication on principles rather than rigid positions. This will help you to open up communication inside the marriage without hurting the ego. Once this happens then you will rely less on assumptions and more on talking and listening to your partner. A happy marriage is in fact a long conversation which always seems too short. When you are agreeing to communicate based on principles then actually you are creating a common purpose for your marriage. Once you have a common purpose in marriage then you have so much to talk and listen to. Here both the partners pay undivided attention to each other and they discus everything from their innermost feelings, their thoughts, each other’s interests and hobbies, the plans for the future, memories of the past, movies, television, something new that they have learned or heard and in fact everything that matters for their shared life. Here the communication becomes more respectful and polite and questions are asked with open ended sentences like “if you could”, “have you ever” or “do you believe” etc. The marriage communication in these circumstances becomes more purposeful and effective in solving the problems and finding action plans for the future. The couple also learn to effectively balance their marriage communication with the serious and the mundane stuff. Though they communicate regarding issues like the news, weather, kids, jobs, money, household chores, health issues, in-laws, friends, etc. but they don’t allow these to become the ball and everything of their communication. This helps the couple to avoid to certain extent the strain and drag of day to day existence and its problems.
Marriage communication: Summery of thoughts for effective communication in marriage
So to summarize once again effective marriage communication requires a focus on principles rather than rigid positions based on ego. It would be good to find a common purpose for your marriage and pray together to move towards that purpose in life. Once you decide on a higher purpose for your marriage then communication becomes continuous and effective. Further praying together actually helps in establishing a strong bond between the two individuals in the marriage and it also helps in polishing the rough edges of marriage communication. In fact prayers bring a humbling effect on the individuals which is so much required as a perquisite for an effective marriage.
But even with all the strong foundations in place we still need continuous efforts to pull on the ship of marriage in the violent sea of life with full of problems and challenges. Here the individuals in a marriage relation need to consciously work on ways and means to talk regarding the difficult problems and challenges of the marriage and find effective solutions for them. Listening is an art and it is very effective for marriage communication. Make sure that your listen to your partner with undivided attention. Only then you can demand undivided attention to what you want to convey. Remember that communication in marriage can fail when there is no communication at all. When you speak in generalities rather than specifics of an issue or problem, then again you are inviting big trouble. For example sentences like “you always do this” or “you never do that” can completely destroy a relationship as these generate great amount of resentment in the other person.
As I said before don’t make assumptions and don’t doublespeak. Speak what you actually mean and make it clear without ambiguities and without generating hostility. Use words and phrases very carefully as different people take different meaning for the same words and phrases. If needed substantiate on what you want to say. Finally remember that marriage is not a prolonged party where you are the guest. It is in fact a “life reality” on which you have to continuously work. You have to pull your marriage forward facing all the problems and challenges that it offers. On the other you should also not forget to enjoy all the fruits and joys of the hard work done.
Article by Sanjay Nair
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