Being able to communicate effectively is probably one of the most important skills a person can have in a marriage, as the main cause for divorce is the lack of communication between one another. You are the only person that can say what you want your spouse to hear, so if you don’t know how to express what you want to say or explain your intentions clearly, the other one could easily take what you say and turn your own words agains you. So the best way to avoid this situation is to be assertive in how you communicate.
When I say you must be assertive, I mean you must express your feelings and ideas openly, honestly, and take responsibility for your actions. It is also being willing to listen to what the other one is saying and respect them no matter how different their opinions may be from yours. You also need to be able to recognizing the emotions in one another, as it is a very important first step to building a good relationship. If one cannot feel what the other one is feeling, then you simply cannot connect with them on a personal or emotional level and that can deeply hinder one’s relationship process.
Interpersonal communication is important because of the functions it achieves. Whenever we engage in communication with another person, we seek to exchange information with them, we also communicate information through a wide variety of verbal and nonverbal cues. Spoken communication has huge effects on all aspects of our life, to including interpersonal relationships, just as speaking and telling our needs and wants verbally or non-verbally is a necessity for our daily lives.
Within our daily lives of both work and home, when we exchange information with our spouse, our verbal communication is organized by our language, whereas nonverbal communication is not. We spend about 75 percent of our day communicating our knowledge, thoughts, experiences, and ideas to each other. (Allis, 2002) What we don’t realize is that a lot of our communication is not made up of the oral or written form but of the nonverbal form. In communications involving two or more people, our messages are sent on two levels simultaneously and if the verbal cues are not congruent with the nonverbal cues, then the flow of communication is hindered.
Correct or not, if the receiver of the communication will base the intentions of the sender on the nonverbal cues that they recieved. Most couples believe that they will communicate better because of the fact that they are in a relationship with this person and the depth of their personal knowledge and connectivity. (Schoenberg, 2011) All of this is based on the assumption that your significant other understands your intent even though your verbal and nonverbal signals are not matching up. So you two have to be cognizant of the nonverbal signals that you send to each other.
Nonverbal cues can be categorized into two sections: vocal and visual. The vocal side of nonverbal communication involves timbre (quality and tone), pitch (inflection), intensity (volume), tempo (speed), rhythm, and pauses (silence). Whereas the visual side of nonverbal communication involves your eyes, face, body posture, and hand gestures. “Before a person makes an attempt to form an interpersonal relationship, they must decide what attracts them to that person. There are many factors that make up attractions to other: physical attractions, perceived gain, similarities, differences, and proximity are a few of them. (Hybels, 2007) As you too were attracted to each other from the start, it is common with most people to be attracted to each other by the way they look, some people might have certain distinct characteristics that they find more attractable then others. Tall or short, blonde or brunette hair, blue or green eyes, muscular or slender, or even freckles are many things that attract us to one another but if there is no attractions, you are going to be less likely to walk up to someone and strike up a conversation them.
For example, I am covered from wrists to neck to waist with tattoos and I have found that they inhibit my ability to have a good first impression on many of the professors that I have had over the last several years of college. I didn’t notice it at first but over time I saw that I received a warmer reception and instruction from my teachers when I had long sleeves on but if I gave the instructor time to get to know me. I could slowly start to show tattoos and it would not affect how the instructor acted towards me.
On the opposite side though, I have met very interesting and smart people that had just as many tattoos as I did because of the shared similarities that we had. The similarities and differences can be a major factor in determining if a relationship will be good for a person because at times we will find ourselves attracted to people that share the same culture basis that we do. It is not a hard reach though to see why people are often attracted to people who enjoy the same things as we do but people can also be attracted to the differences in personalities. For example, people who don’t like making decisions might be attracted to a stronger decision maker. Because these characteristics complement each other, they might help strengthen the relationship. ” (Hybels, 2007) So keep this in mind when you two are communicating with each other and it seems that what you are trying to send in not being received properly, as your nonverbal cues or bodily language might be sending something entirely different. As important as sending the right signals both verbally and nonverbally, effective listening is just as important in any relationship.
When one listens to another, it shows that you respect them and care about what the other person is trying to communicate. There are three important types of listening and they are active, critical, and empathic. (Sole, 2011) Active listening is assertive communication that develops a sense of trust, were the person talking gets the feeling that you know what they are trying to communicate is getting to you. In doing this, you two will build a stronger bond and trust each other more in what you say and do.
Critical listening is an analytical and rational process of listening, in where you analysis what is being said, process the information, and make a judgement on what was meant. After one has been in a relationship for a while the critical listening will not be needed, as empathic listening will tend to take over. Empathic listening is listening to your spouse when they have an issue or problem that they just need to talk about and know that you are there to listen.
So when you empathetically listen, you set aside your own feelings and concentrate on comforting you spouse in their time of emotional need. Once you can use empathic listening in your relationship, you will be able to reflect on what is being said and respond back on the same emotional level of the person communicating but empathic listening is something that takes time in a relationship and you cannot force emotions but you can just be there for your spouse.
It is obvious that you too have already made the initial approach to each other but there can be times in you relationship that you will have to make the approach again because a new or different situation has developed. So it is good to know that once we have approached someone, the next steps of forming an interpersonal relationship would be our motives for communicating. Your motives for getting married can easily be seen if someone spends just a couple minutes with you two and you guys fit the text book definition of what motivates us for forming a relationship.
As “we are motivated to form relationships for many different reasons such as, pleasure, affection, inclusion, escape, relaxation, control, and health. ” (Hybels, 2007) If one is motivated by pleasure, he or she might want someone to watch the same movies, listen to music, or discuss things that they have in common. If one is motivated by affection, then finding someone who will give you the “affective affirmation” that you need.
Regardless of what motivates us, if we have started to develop a relationship we have to decide how much of our selves that we want to share and at what point in the relationship do we share it. Another factor that would have been considered as well would be the proximity of each other, as “proximity is the close contact that occurs when people share an experience such as at work, school, or play. ” (Hybels, 2007) But seeing as you to met in college and studied the same major, your proximity was really close and you too were able to hare a lot of really neat experiences together and still continue to do so. Speaking of sharing with one another, I would like to explain self-disclosure to both of you. As “self-disclosure is a process in which one person tells another person something he or she would not reveal to just anyone. ” (Hybels, 2007) Self-disclosure in not just providing someone with information about yourself. Self-disclosure is about revealing a piece of yourself that others would not normally know or learn about you over time.
It involves trusting a person with your vulnerabilities when your risk sharing this information but it is also a way of gaining more information from the person you are sharing it with and you want to be able to trust each other and predict the thoughts and actions of your spouse. When one shares information like this, we are able to judge the reactions of our significant other. So once we share this information, we can learn how they think and feel on certain situations or topics that would not normally come up in normal day discussions.
It is also implied that once he or she begins self-disclosure, the other will follow suit. Thus causing a mutual disclosure and deepening the trust between two people in a relationship, knowing that they except you for who you are. While self-disclosure can strengthen a relationship it can also damage it as well but it is not called the intensifying stage for nothing because a relationship can be damaged if he or she is pouring out their soul to you and you don’t like what they are hearing or if the self-disclosure comes to early in the relationship, it can be just as damaging.
There are five stages that we go through when developing and strengthening a relationship, these are the “coming together” stages. The first stage is the initiating stage, which is characterized by nervousness, caution, hesitation, and a very high risk of rejection. The next stage is the experimental stage, where we seek out any common interests, experiences, and life goals. It is in this stage that you might of talked about both of your education and career goals, when you might want to start a family, and what part of the city you wanted to settle down in.
The third stage is the intensity stage in which the couple begins self-disclosure in an attempt to strengthen their relationship but also make it more vulnerable to each other. If you didn’t notice, when you two first started dating, your conversations were usually on positive topics in both of your lives but as time when on and you began to trust each other and build bonds. So when both of you felt comfortable in expressing your needs, fears, and desires; your relationship was strengthened and the two of you grew closer together as a couple.
I don’t really think you two had an issues with this though, as you guys seemed to attach yourselves to each other after only a month had passed bye and the beginning and continued use of your pet names for each other made all of us sick but we were extremely grateful (kidding) when both of you got that summer intern job together. You two did come back a stronger couple though, so that summer really did bring you two together more, which led you into the fourth stage.
The fourth stage is the integrating stage, in which the couple begins to communicate and respond easily to each others feelings. This is the point where your personalities began merging into one and we always saw you two together. I don’t think there was a single party or gathering that both of you were there for but you two made a cute couple and it was just expected after a time. The final stage would be the bonding stage. At this point, the couple will make some sort of commitment that announces their relationship to those around them,” (Hybels, 2007) involving a lot of commitment and dedication to the relationship and to each other. Whereas you two decided to get married and finally move into that small house you both were drooling over but you do know that once you two decide to have a baby, you will have to find a bigger house. In all of the stages discussed we all have decision to make, we can either continue to move forward to the next stage, stay in the same stage we are in, or terminate the relationship all together.
No matter what we as individuals choose to do with our lives, we need to know how to communicate effectively to that next stage and we need to know how to handle and resolve conflict in any relationship we place ourselves in. “We can do this by conflict resolution, which is negotiating to find a solution to the conflict. ” (Hybels, 2007) Depending on how a conflict is resolved it can produce a positive or negative result but it also helps to take a positive approach to any conflict resolution, where discussion is considerate and on-confrontational, and the heart of the matter is on the issues and not on the individuals. If this can be completed, then, as long as people are willingly listening to each other and explore facts, issues, and possible solutions properly, conflict can often be resolved effectively. Making interpersonal communication just like any other work of life, meaning that it must be practiced and utilized regularly to be successful and we must continually analyze and study it in order to improve our ability to communicate effectively in relationships.
So if you relationship is to last a long time and be a healthy and happy one, it is important to maintain a constant and consistent flow of communication with your partner (Sole, 2011). I wish the best of luck to both of you and hope your future endeavors bring you as much happiness as the last ones did. Sincerely, Aaron Stamper Reference Allis, R. (2002). Non-verbal Communication. Zeromillion. com. Retrieved from http://www. zeromillion. com/business/management/non-verbal-communication. html Hybels, S. & Weaver, R. (2007).
Communicating Effectively. New York: McGraw-Hill Company Inc. Preston, P. (2005). Nonverbal communication: Do you really say what you mean? Journal of Healthcare Management. Retrieved from http://proquest. umi. com. Schoenberg, N. (2011). Can we talk? researcher talks about the role of communication in marriages. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com. Sole, K. (2011). Making Connections: Understanding Interpersonal Communication. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from https://content. ashford. ed.