One of the most critical aspects that define our human species from other animals is language. Our brains gain meaning from how it has learned to interpret carefully arranged sets of circles and lines.
This has created language as symbols. We can see and interpret these symbols such as we view the words on this website. Symbols can also be heard, as well as be created to be seen by others.
The evolution of our ability to communicate with one another has not come without faults. A simple exchange of symbols is not the only process at work.
We are not only wired to see, hear, and interpret symbols as words but also to see, hear, and understand symbols as facial expressions, intentions, assumptions, judgments, and biases.
Language is a way to express ourselves positively but also as a way to both defend ourselves and attack others.
Attacking through words is one that needs careful attention. Verbal attacks can be a distraction in how we interact with others.
Attacks on words are the total opposite of creating an environment that enriches language as a precious resource.
Communicating from a defensive or aggressive posture in a blaming manner is toxic and contaminates society and relationships.
An area that is prevalent with toxicity and damaging to marriages can be found in the world of dependency. A dependent person will use whatever destructive method are at hand.
This can come in the form of deceit, coercion, defensiveness or blame. Addictive thinking twists symbols into negative meanings. It is self-serving and manipulative.
Developing a healthy ability to communicate is a powerful tool to rely on for the journey out of impaired, addictive thinking.
One method that supports language as a precious resource and reinforces communication as a stream of compassion is called Nonviolent Communication, or NVC.
Advocated by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, NVC is a method of carefully placing attention on opportunities to share yourself and receive the self of your spouse and others through verbal and nonverbal interaction.
NVC is practical, honest, and peaceful. Non-violent communication techniques bring sincere intention to the preciousness that is our human ability to use language.
It is from this premise that empathy can flourish, and a compassionate purpose for all these symbols can be achieved.
Non-violent communication steps
The principles of non-violent communication can help a couple to restructure the way they communicate with each other.
The 4 steps or the components of non-violent communication enable a couple to express and understaffed each other. These steps are essential for managing conflict in your relationship.
Step 1 – Making observations
One of the first basics of nonviolent communication is to make an impartial observation of what your partner is saying to you free of any personal evaluations. This requires you to put aside any judgment or preconceived notions.
Not only does observing objectively help you to be a better listener but it also gives you a better insight into the conversation.
You can also do a quick recap of your observation with your partner giving you both an opportunity to reflect and clarify if needed.
Step 2 – Addressing feelings
In this step, you identify and share your feelings in terms of them being met or unmet. You must differentiate your feelings from your thoughts.
Rather than trying to express yourself
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Duane Osterlind