Familiar with the movie, “What women want?’’ Well, in case no, let’s enlighten you a bit. Mel Gibson in this romantic comedy accidentally succeeds in gaining full access to the intricate thought pattern of a woman’s mind. This, rather bizarre boon enables him to remodel his way of communicating to women, metamorphosing his otherwise sassy, nonchalant ranting to a sophisticated and emphatic one. The outcome? His so called once reputed adversary falls for him head over heels.
Gosh! If only our partners and we had the secret keys to the desolate recesses of our minds! There wouldn’t be any misunderstanding, any bickering galvanizing to the most perilous drifting apart or even divorce. We would exactly know what to say, how to say and when to say.
Alas! Life can hardly be as fulfilling as fiction. Flapping our wings, we soar high atop the promises of youth; get entwined in a marital bond after a feverish escapade called love. Finally, as the real drama of responsibilities unfolds, we feel ourselves tossed as corns on a frying pan. Then ensues a loathsome period, where like zombies we plod along mechanically disposed to execute the drudgeries of life. We are reduced to become as Eliot’s “ stuffed men with dried voices, our whispers, dry and meaningless as wind in dry grass.’’
Then scales up like a potent creeper, the debilitating communication gap; a breach contrived due to the steady decline of small talk, of those essential whispers that had once vociferously defined love in the premarital phase. But why does communication breaks down in marriage? What forges the fissure? What defines communication in marriage?
The importance of communication in marriage
Good communication like blood fortifies the delicate façade of marriage. A particular study holds that there exist four levels of communication in marriage: Discovering transparency is heralded as the foremost followed by an emotional exchange, sharing of opinions and lastly clichéd hellos and hi’s.
Effective communication leads to the evolution of an absolute transparency for a marriage shorn off the blessings of an open sharing of emotions is shallow and prevents growth. Communication gap also cultivates negativity in the bond.
Problems in marriage that leads to lack of communication
The Biblical Interpretation: According to the Bible, Satan relentlessly works to disrupt Christian marriages, lest God uses it for his kingdom. This explains the lure of the forbidden fruit to Adam and Eve and their subsequent fall signaling the invasion of deceit, contempt, and foul.
Banking on past experiences: The manner in which our elders communicate tailors our way of conversing in the long run. Each of the episodes involving either respectful listening or growling or unintentional avoiding that our parents practiced gets loaded in our sub-consciousness to be employed as a reference while having a discourse with our spouse in the distant future. The experiences would entail communication issues in marriages.
The gender difference in communication: It is a universally acknowledged fact that men are predominantly unemotional and largely logical. So, if you stumble upon a bad day and desperately harp on your hubby to prudently utter, “Honey, it’s all right, don’t worry”, he would probably cripple your aspirations with a blunt, “Leave it if you face problems.” Simultaneously, women brimming with emotions can seldom restrict themselves from baring their heart out, which crack the patience limit of men.
The impaling tendency to win: Ever spared a second to dwell on where you go wrong persistently while communicating? It might be steeped in your inherent competitive urge to triumph in every squabble. A flare-up may gladden your raging heart but nips the bud of natural communication, paramount in a relation.
Failure to gaze at the world through spouse’s eyes: We are involuntarily disposed to nurture certain premonitions when we embark on putting forth our views. The consequences of being judged critically, scorned, joked or empowered instill fear in us and propel us towards tempering our conversations with assumptions and judgments. Slighting our spouse’s views, and thoughts turn communication dysfunctional.
The language of communication in interracial and intercultural marriages: Against the backdrop of both parents having their distinct mother tongues, it becomes difficult to pin on the language to be used at home. Majorly, the habitat determines the choice. The scrape of poor or no communication might spring up in a new marriage.
How to improve communication in marriage: Four useful tips
- Good communication starts with respect: Compassionate consideration of each other’s views is the pedestal upon which towers the fabric of marriage. It is essential to frame your words such they don’t stoop to abuse, accusations, criticisms or lashings. Prominent communication killers are statements like “I hate you” or “I don’t know why I married you.” Though uttered at a heated phase, they prove destructive and may even maim a relation.
- Mold your conversations acknowledging the reality that you two communicate differently: Going by the Bible, women are expected to win over their husbands with persistence. Alternately men are deemed to hold on fast to their wives to harmonize into one flesh. It points out that psychologically men are at odds from women and follow individual communication patterns. Consequently, for a healthy relation, each requires harboring distinct communication skills:
For men the keys to successful communication are:
- Being a bit more verbal: Connect to your wife’s emotionally volatile mind through the inclusion of comments as “I get you” or “I understand how you feel.” A simple reassurance evokes the faith that her hubby indeed digs into her concern and understands her.
- Don’t jump off to conclusions: Let your problem-solving persona take a breather while engaging in an honest observation of your wife’s problem.
- Indulge in closeness: Women are master practitioners of both verbal and nonverbal communications. Simple gestures as holding hands or stealing impromptu kisses set their minds waltzing on cloud nine.
For women the skills that overcome communication mistakes in marriage are:
- Set a limit to the boundaries of your conversation: Starting a discussion with why your kid has fared poorly in exam must not be dragged to it being inherited from his parents. Not only would it invite uncontrollable character assassins, but men being habitually impatient would refrain from talking about it any further.
- Practice diplomacy in speech: Seize your emotions, explain candidly what made you feel in such a way without exaggeration and slowly glide over to preferences. Deter from “I want to” and rather use “It could be better if” thereby expanding the horizon of possibilities.
- Bestow unexpected praises: Men crave for adulation as much as at the domestic front as at work. Compliment him time and again on his looks, his sharing of responsibility, his being such a great hubby and dad.
- Nurture intentional listening by:
- a) Being a focused listener
- b) Refraining from making offensive body gestures as frowning or glaring your eyes.
- Weed out misunderstandings: You may take the help of a heartfelt and open apology, ask questions and prefer clarifications or cuddle and makeup. Ultimately it’s your spouse, and you know best how to demolish the impenetrable barrier of no communication.
Some effective marriage communication exercises
For a better communication, you can try this simple week planner. Randomly select three days in a week and save the first for recalling the sweet times you relished together. Salvage the second for a spell of intimate conversation and finally splurge on a romantic hideout on the third with lavish dressing and incorporation of out of the way events, as skydiving or ice skating.
You can wrap up by ruminating aloud about what turned out the choicest part of the evening or what you learned about him that you had no inkling about.
Let’s finish with two lines of a famous song to furnish a fitting conclusion.
“It’s only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away.”
Indeed, words can prove more toxic than fatal poisons, more piercing than a needle and more painful than a gushing wound. Start your day with a loving conversation and see the difference it brings to your life.