Communication Principles in Marriage
Letter of Advice
Dear couple (Sarah and Timothy),
I am a student pursuing a course in communications. Because I understand that you are newly engaged, I sought to write this letter in an effort to assist your relationship based on your communication skills. I am a firm believer in that fact that relationships cannot always work as expected without the maintenance of proper communication principles and effective interpersonal communications. I will also address the various myths that have been linked to principles and barriers among other factors that impact communications.
There are various principles of effective interpersonal communications. These help in governing the effectiveness of communications among people if they are fully understand them. Therefore, I will apply appropriate example where possible to further discuss a principle and presents its relevance with regards to your new relationship. Foremost, as partners you should understand that the maintenance of interpersonal communication lines is neither an option nor should be taken for granted. When two partners are living together, there should be often communication between them on the things that they like and prefer. Besides, they also need to discuss the bad habits that may cause anger or frustration to the other person. If one of you is angry and do not communicate the discontent with another, this shows that you are shy, ignorant and do not have the courtesy of honesty among other values that cannot guarantee a long lasting relationship (Sole, 2011).
The second principle highlights the irreversible process of interpersonal communications. When you communicate to one another in a manner that may be regrettable, you should understand that the damage has already been done as much as you may try to give an apology. I believe that during your first meeting, you developed your own way of communication. It can either be humorous even when you try to get serious or require the other person to evaluate the situation before response. These can be called stereotyped communication as a result of your past encounters. However, it is important to make sure that your thoughts are appropriate before communication. Besides, you should also be open minded and not angered in order to avoid uttering something that can deeply hurt your partner or cause both of you to be swayed apart (Schoenberg, 2011).
On the other hand, analyzing the environment, the manner in which communication is done, and the message passed across, which are the key variables of communication, influences of how the message is conveyed, received and interpreted. This explains why certain couples may use interpersonal communications that are interpreted by another couple as rude, ignorant and or less respectful, thereby causing wrangles in marriage. Thus, it is important for each of you to know why a given communication occurs. In order to prevent misunderstandings, I would advice that each partner should make sure that the timing and location is right so that one is able to develop the right feelings and attitude without assumptions that can impact misconceived emotions, opinions and views (Sole, 2011).
Based on these principles, barriers of communication can therefore be listed as follows. One of them is that the use of complicated technical terms in communicating a simple familiar idea to your partner can result into one person shifting away or failing to understand the point that is being passed across. If you are communicating to one who is not attentive, disinterested or distracted, your point will either be ignored or misperceived which may bring issues in your relationship. Communication through gestures to a partner who is not seeing the posture, cues and body language also renders this important skill in a relationship to be ineffective. Based on the disparities in your languages and cultures, it is important that you both avoid using accents and social interaction norms that are not familiar. This is because of the fact that they can have adverse impacts on your attitudes, emotional levels and interpretations of the message passed across, and lead to misconceptions (Schoenberg, 2011).
Self-concept, identity, esteem, confidence and perspective are vital in a relationship. These are the main values and beliefs that constitute individuals, therefore, determining how they interact and communicate with a marriage partner. Most people develop self-concept depending on past experiences. The development and maintenance of it, is thus a gradual process that is comprised of physical, social, academic and transpersonal aspects. Based on your relationship, physical aspects can be used in reference to the height, weight and choice of clothes of a partner. Social aspects on the other hand, describe the way in which you relate to one another and even your friends. Transpersonal aspects describe the relationship of a couple with the unknown, unexpected and super natural. Academic self-concept is mainly limited to school performance and the pace of learning and understanding (Lim, Saulsman & Nathan, 2005).
Self-concept is quite dynamic since it can change daily or even with time. There are several factors affecting development of self-concept among the lives of people. These include parental attitudes in the upbringing process, the way in which one relates to failure in life, their perception, attitude and emotions when handling depression as well as their individualistic self-critic methods. In order to develop a positive self-concept as an individual and also a couple, every partner should know their inner self. As an individual, you should appreciate your successes, achievements and share them as one entity. However, there are times when each of you may be in different stages of life where one is failing while the other is making great steps. In order to prevent conflicts in the marriage, it is important that you are involved in communication. Encouraging the partner who is failing and congratulating the successful one will ensure a mutual relationship filled with respect, understanding, and without jealousy (Azizi, 2012).
With this, you will learn to appreciate yourselves as individuals and a couple through seeing the good and bad, negative and positive aspects in your lives. My advice is that a couple should focus on the good and positive while working hard towards reducing the bad and negative influences. When people appreciate themselves, they also have the power to appreciate others who will also do the same to them. Therefore, enmity in a marriage is not recommended (Lim, Saulsman & Nathan, 2005).
The best way to avoid enmity is if you neither blame nor cause conflicts in your relationship. It is important to note that enemies will never recognize the positive and goodness in their partner. There will always be conflicts between the real and ideal expected situation, and ineffective communications. When there is consistency in enmity, your mental status will be exhausted, and develop frustrations and negative self- concepts. Because of this, I advice you develop and maintain a self-concept through positive and rational thinking while ensuring effective interpersonal communications based on your marriage and individual careers. I believe that you have dreams and plans of becoming parents in the future. In order to raise children with self-concept, you should begin by developing and maintaining one as parents so as to be able to pass it along to them gradually in their upbringing (Schoenberg, 2011).
Assessed personal communications among couples is portrayed by the following in competencies. According to Kathrin and Guy (2008), there are steps that couples should take towards maintaining a stress free marriage. They should keep an open line of communication, be fair and support each other regardless of their individual feelings and attitudes while also enhancing their learning competencies in the relationship so as to reduce chances of divorce.
In your marriage, you tend to undergo everyday stress levels as a result of work related issues and daily hassles, which can impact the quality of your relationship. Physiological stress resulting from the illness of a partner can also interfere with the marriage. On the other hand, chronic stress also causes dissatisfaction and instability in a marriage (Kathrin & Guy, 2008).
As a young couple, I do not think that you are at that stage of suffering from or experiencing physiological and chronic stress. However, you are at risk of experiencing everyday stress as a result of your work hassles, pressure and lack of access to quality healthcare in the event that either of you falls sick. When a partner is either pressurized at work or becomes sick, you tend to be stressed in an effort to nurture them back to stable health and positive attitude towards life. A partner who is under pressure or sick is also stressed by the fact that they seem burden the other through their inability to fully play the same roles that they were initially capable of handle. Thus, when both of you are stressed, it is detrimental to your marriage especially if neither of you communicate your feelings and emotions to one another (Kathrin & Guy, 2008).
A partner who is sick is allowed to say that he or she is undergoing stress and I believe that none will hold it against them. However, one who is in good health may feel that he or she will be unnecessarily burdened to communicate stress levels to the sick partner since it may make the situation worse. In order to avoid stressing yourselves in various ways as a result of the same reasons like work pressure or illness, I advice that you two should create a communication session between yourselves. The session should be staged at a time when both of your stress levels have gone low so as to avoid raised voices, tempers and negative attitudes that may eventually worsen the situation. As discussed earlier, effective and efficient communications can only be achieved in the right environment, time, attitude and emotions (Jeffrey, 2010).
Stress leads to withdrawal, manifestation of anger and hostile behaviors. You may have noticed that during the week, your stress levels are elevated but tend to reduce as the weekend approaches. Under these circumstances, I suggest that you set up a communication session at the weekend. This will offer you an opportunity to discuss how the week has been, talk about the stresses that you experienced, apologize to one another for any misconceptions and misunderstandings that may have been harbored in the course of the week, and come up with a plan in order to avoid them in the coming weeks. According to an experimental study, women undergo stress, are angrier and more withdrawn compared to men. Lack of communication can make the situation worse. Unless you two sit down, talk, listen and empathize with one another without criticism, contempt, withdrawal and belligerence, your marital woes are bound to elevate beyond stress levels (Rodney, 2011).
Words like: I am sorry, I understand, I apologize, your apology is accepted, I love you, I know what you are going through and am here for you, can significantly change the perception, attitude and behavior of your partner towards a negative situation in your relationship. However, when both of you are involved in a heated argument, using negative verbal words, cues and disrespectful body language, they relate negatively to a relationship. In more simple terms, spoken words can hurt, wound, humiliate, degrade and or ambush a partner. This is harmful to attitude towards one another. Generally, attitude defines the mental readiness and organization towards a person or experience. Such ill spoken words will therefore change the mindset and behavior of an individual. Behavior refers to the way in which a person values, perceives or recognizes another or a given situation. It is important that proper words are used during interpersonal communications among couples especially if they come from different religions, political affiliations, cultures, economic or social inclinations (Jeffrey, 2010).
The use of improper words in your marriage, based on the affiliations listed above can impact hatred, resentment, withdrawal, the feeling of inferiority on your partner and even long term emotional and psychological damage. Without communication or use of ill spoken, disrespectful, damaging, threatening and harmful words, a marriage can end up in divorce, violence or withdrawal coupled with drug abuse in order to cope with the negative experience. For this to be avoided, it is important to understand the principles of effective interpersonal communication applied with emotional intelligence (Rodney, 2011).
Emotional intelligence is the ability to control depression, stress levels, making sound social judgments, maintaining physical capabilities, solving marital issues, achieving hope and avoiding as well as eliminating suicidal ideologies among other debilitating mental disorders. In order to ensure an effective interpersonal communication as partners, I would advise that you both aim emotional intelligence. Through self-report questionnaires, hassle scales, life experience surveys, suicidal ideation questionnaire, the beck depression inventory or hopelessness scales, you can both be able to access your emotional intelligence using the method that proves to be more appropriate to your relationship. The results can be critical in the event that your interpersonal communications are at risk of misconceptions and misunderstandings, reducing marital problems, enhancing your communication skills and the relationship at large (Joseph, Frank & Stephen, 2012).
Appropriate levels of self disclosure vary among the people. Even though it is risky based on the amount of information that partners share in a relationship, and also plays a crucial role in building and maintaining a healthier marriage. Thus, my advice is to find the appropriate time to share your deeper feelings and thoughts. However, do not share too much even if the time seems right. This is because your partner may not accept the information that you are putting across, thereby impacting marital problems. Besides, do not wait for too long or keep too much information that you feel should be shared since your partner may not be very patient (Robert, 2008).
Before I come to the conclusion, I would like to point out that your marriage is still quite young. Presently, I believe that you are maintaining an open, effective and efficient interpersonal communications since you are able to date and agree to marry. The misconceptions, misunderstandings, barriers and conflicts listed above may not be existent in your relationship at the moment. However, in your efforts to grow together and spend more time as partners in life, they are likely to arise unless you maintain your interpersonal communications. Relationships are established, developed, built and maintained by love. However, success depends on the way in which partners communicate, solve their problems, conflicts and understand the shortcomings of one another as well as their efforts towards making sure that the marriage does not flop. To conclude, I wish and hoe for all the best in your new and long lasting marriage life.
Azizi, B. Y. (2012). Self-concept in Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University Technology Malaysia.
Jeffrey, P. (2010). Attitudes and Perceptions, Department of Social Sciences and Counseling, St. Thomas University, Miami, Florida.
Joseph, C., Frank, P. D., & Stephen, A. (2012). Emotional Intelligence Moderates the Relationship Between Stress and Mental Health, Personality and Individual Differences Journal, 32(1): 197-209.
Kathrin, W., & Guy, B. (2008). The Couples Coping Enhancement Training (CCET): A New Approach to Prevention of Marital Distress Based Upon Stress and Coping, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Lim, L., Saulsman, L., & Nathan, P. (2005). Improving Self-Esteem, Centre for Clinical Interventions, Western Australia.
Robert, M. T. (2008). Self-Disclosure and Relationships, Annunciation Parish, Williamsport.
Rodney, M. (2011). Do Words Harm? The Perceptions and Attitudes of African American College Students to Hate Speech, Capella University
Schoenberg, N. (2011). Can We Talk? Researcher Talks about the Role of Communication in Happy Marriages. McClatchy-Tribune News Service Education, Inc.
Sole, K. (2011). Making Connections: Understanding Interpersonal Communication. San Diego, California.