Marriage Communication: How Does It Work?
A good marriage thrives on the open exchange of emotion, desires, and beliefs. In fact, communication is one of the most important aspects of a satisfying marriage. Most marriages go through rough times, which can change the way spouses communicate with each other. Many couples develop bad habits and create destructive patterns when things aren’t going well.
How Does Communication Work?
Many people in troubled marriages say, “We just don’t communicate anymore.” Most likely, they mean to say that they don’t communicate effectively anymore. The truth is that people are communicating all the time. Even two people giving each other the silent treatment are communicating with each other.
This article will focus on five common pathways of communication within marriage:
- the context of the situation
- nonverbal physical expression (behavior, facial expressions, gestures, etc)
- spoken or written communication
It’s easy just to focus on words, but that’s only a fraction of the information couples share back and forth. In the next section, you’ll read an example of a potentially difficult situation for a married couple. Look for all the different ways information is being communicated in the story below.
Marriage Communication: Is Yours Effective?
We are constantly giving out signals that other people can pick up. Your family can usually tell when you are stressed out, relaxed, happy, or sad. You may not have to say a word to convey a message accurately. Take a look at the following example to understand this better.
You suddenly don’t feel well in the middle of the afternoon. You notice you have a runny nose and you feel really tired. You lay down on the couch, thinking you might just need a quick nap to help you feel better. Your spouse is initially upset to find the house messy when he or she comes home from work. But once he or she sees you lying on the couch asleep with a box of tissues next to you, his or her entire demeanor and understanding of the situation instantly changes.
You had been giving out the same “I’m sick” messages all afternoon while no one else was home. Once your spouse came in the door, he or she was able to pick up your messages and process them. He or she was forming a long list of complaints while walking in the door, but tossed them aside after seeing you on the couch.
Let’s see what happens when the situation becomes more complex. What if you and your spouse were selling your house and you were expecting visitors shortly after your spouse got home from work? Would leaving you to sleep really be the best decision? The bigger context of the situation would probably cause your spouse to go against his or her initial feelings of compassion and wake you up anyway.