Communication problems are often cited as one of the main causes of marriage breakdown. Indeed, marriage is all about relating to one another, and if you are not communicating well, then the relationship will inevitably suffer. If you are experiencing poor communication in your marriage, or if you would like to improve your communication with your spouse, have a look at these five elements which can either make or break the quality of your marriage. Let’s look at some reasons for poor communication in marriage and their remedies:
Reason 1: Competing with one another
To a large extent this life is a fierce competition, on every level; whether it’s struggling to get the best grades, or coming first in the field of sports, earning more money than the next person or looking younger and more beautiful than your peers. This competitive attitude can easily seep into a marriage and cause a lot of trouble, especially where communication is concerned. When spouses feel that they have to compete with one another, it brings out an individualistic element in a marriage which is detrimental to the unity of a couple.
Remedy: Completing one another
Rather than competing, couples need to see each other as a unit – one whole, which is complete as they share their love, talents and resources. Together they can be so much better than if they were struggling alone. When you can see your spouse as the blessing which fills in where you are lacking then there is no need for competitiveness. See how you can help one another to be your best.
Reason 2: Being critical
It’s very easy to find fault with anything and everything. After a while it can become a nasty habit which brings a critical spirit into your marriage. Criticism is a serious cause of poor communication as it either leads to incessant arguments or sullen and offended silences. Either way, it is not going to help your communication with your spouse.
Remedy: Being grateful
The antidote for criticism is gratitude. Take a moment every day to remember that of all the people in the world, your spouse chose to marry you. Remember all the great things about him or her which attracted you in the first place, and run through some of the precious memories you have shared together. Find at least one thing every day to tell your spouse how grateful you are for all that they do and all that they mean to you.
Reason 3: Yelling or stonewalling
These two behaviors (yelling and stonewalling) are at either end of the continuum of communication. Once you start raising your voice to release or express your anger, the tension begins to build and you may find that your yelling has fuelled an angry fire into a full blaze. Conversely, those who withdraw and refuse to communicate at all are displaying passive aggressive tactics which are just as counterproductive and harmful to the communication in the relationship.
Remedy: Talking together calmly and consistently
It is much better to schedule a time when you can sit down quietly together and calmly and discuss whatever you are struggling with. Maybe you want to go for a walk in the park or have a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop. Make a point not to let things pile up. Don’t let a day or a week slip by with niggling unresolved issues left hanging between you, as these tend to fester and drive the wedge deeper and deeper, damaging your relationship as well as your communication.
Reason 4: Unforgiveness
As you have no doubt discovered, in every relationship, sooner or later some kind of hurt or disappointment is sure to happen. Usually, it is the relatively small things which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort like a sharp little stone in your shoe. When these things start to pile up and go unresolved it can become overwhelming. If you choose to hold onto an unforgiving attitude, before long you may experience anger and bitterness which leads to poor communication in your marriage.
Forgiveness does not mean that you are excusing your spouse’s bad behavior. Rather it means that you are acknowledging that what was done was wrong, but you are choosing to let it go. It is a choice and a decision that you make, not to hold onto your anger, hurt or negative emotions. In a marriage where both of you can give and receive forgiveness freely when hurts and misunderstandings occur, you will surely find that your communication improves.