What’s so important about communication in a marriage?
Communication is simply vital to a healthy marriage for the simple reason that each married person needs to feel that their partner is listening to them and that they have where to go for a sympathetic ear as they struggle against the outside world.
Not only does one have to work on listening to one’s partner, one has to make an attempt to listen to the messages on the surface and deeper than the surface that are being given over by one’s other half. It is true that we are not mind-readers but there is obviously often an element of messages below the surface that people try to give over when they speak even about seemingly trivial things.
Don’t Hint- Say it as it is!
Having said the above about more subliminal messages it is really important to remember that our spouse is not a mind-reader and you both need to get in the habit of saying it as it is. You can’t get upset with your partner for not guessing how you feel or what you need or that actually when you said no you actually meant yes! Practice makes perfect and it is most beneficial to get used to opening up about little, trivial things in order to perfect the ability to also open up about bigger, more substantial matters. So many couples get upset with one another for not “realizing” what the other one wants but just be practical about it-which leads us to the next point…
Intuition is not the name of the game!
Some people go according to their instinct in life but intuition is not to be relied upon in relationships- don’t assume you know, rather ask and clarify and don’t rely on their intuition either- tell him/her. Instead of complaining of feeling unwell and hoping your partner gets the hint that you would like him/her to make dinner, it is much healthier and beneficial to phrase such a request clearly, stating that you feel unwell and to ask if s/he would mind making dinner.
Don’t buy into the common myth that a spouse that is truly loving and devoted will have better prophetic powers. Its wrong- tell him or her straight out what you need and want. A better sign of a committed and loving spouse is one that responds to your requests thoughtfully.
A Listening Ear…
Often couples will argue without realizing that actually their positions are extremely similar or even the same, but caught up in the heat of the moment they’re not listening to anything but their own voice. One has to learn how to truly listen. Listening means actively listening to what your spouse is saying without planning your own response at the same time. The Imago method, invented by Dr. Harville Hendrix, places much emphasis on fine-tuning these listening skills by learning to repeat back to your partner what s/he said in their own words, thus affirming that you have listened and understood. This mirroring-back effect takes practice and you may be surprised at how many disagreements you can prevent just by truly understanding what each one is saying- too often arguments are caused to minor misunderstandings of your partners intentions…
I’m All Ears
In today’s crazy, non-stop, noisy lives it is more important than ever to concentrate fully on what our spouse is saying by turning off or closing the technological device you are using and providing your spouse with the full attention that they deserve. Your spouse should not have to feel second-best to your digital gadgets.
Hope these pointers can help even one person out there improve their communication and as a result of such their relationship with their spouse…
Uriel Sela is one of the partners at Ajudaica.com. Their website also sells interesting Jewish books such as in the picture above. Great present for friends and family.