Monday, August 1, 2011

Communication Challenges in Marriage

Communication in marriage is one of the important marriage lessons married couples (including us) need to learn in order to have a healthy and lasting marriage. It is also one of the major lessons you learn in life.
Communication and marriage go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. But before you can improve communication in your marriage, you first need to learn how to communicate with your spouse.

Nobody's born a natural communicator. Like riding a bike or hitting a baseball, communication in marriage is a skill you can learn. Good communication is the key to improving your relationship.

Psychologists have been studying communication in marriage for years, and there's a lot of consensus among experts about how happy couples communicate differently than unhappy ones. Communication in relationships is like a river. When thoughts and feelings flow smoothly between marriage partners it's fun, feels good, and helps support everyone around. However, when communication flow is turbulent, it's potentially dangerous and destructive. When communication gets blocked, pressure builds up. Then when the words start flowing again, they tend to come out suddenly in a damaging raging flood.

Because many couples struggle with healthy communication in marriage, especially about important issues, it’s common for couples to avoid their big, difficult topics. They share trickles of information back and forth about who’s going where when and who’s going to pick up the kids, without ever diving into the conversations that are actually most important to them. Overtime, the lack of a full communication flow dries up the passion and love between them.

What does great communication in marriage look like? In a great relationship couples talk freely, openly, and feel safe sharing their most private thoughts. They comfortably and considerately verbalize their concerns and feelings when difficulties arise and voice their positive thoughts when things are good. Both partners talk tactfully, staying far from attacking, hurtful or controlling comments.

Couples with good communication listen attentively, trying to understand what their partner says with sympathy rather than looking for what’s wrong in what their partner has to say or dismissing what they hear, even if they have a different perspective. After talking, both people in the marriage feel good about the conversation, and feel like their concerns have been considered and addressed.
Communication is said to be key to marriage. However, many couples aren’t sure what sorts of communication mistakes they make and can’t pinpoint just where they’ve gone wrong.

Just because you are talking doesn’t mean you are communicating well. And just because you aren’t talking doesn’t mean you aren’t communicating. Effective communication means that both partners are able to openly discuss their thoughts and feelings while also being able to listen to one another.
Sometimes couples get into bad habits when it comes to communication. Breaking free from bad habits can be hard. The first step in improving your communication is identifying your communication problems.

Often, couples don’t know when to put the brakes on a conversation. However, once things get heated, it can easily pass the point of no return. When people get angry and voices get raised, it’s unlikely that anything will get resolved.

When people get emotional it becomes nearly impossible to listen effectively. People tend to focus more on what they will say next rather than what their spouse is saying. Also, when people are angry they tend to try and get the other person to hear what they are saying. Often, people raise their voice or keep repeating the same things. Compromising, negotiating, and problem-solving become nearly impossible.

It is essential for couples to learn how to recognize when they are becoming too distressed to continue a discussion. Taking a break to calm down can be very helpful and can allow each person to be able to think more rationally and to develop more empathy for their spouse’s point of view.

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