My research and professional experience tell me that good communication is necessary to maintain a healthy, satisfying marriage and to foster continued growth in the relationship. Couples have to find healthy ways to communicate around anger and they need to know how to share positive feelings with each other.
They also need to understand how gender and personality differences impact the way in which they communicate. And, they must work at being good, active listeners. Barriers, such as, defensiveness, interrupting, and making assumptions have to be avoided.
Then, there are the different levels of communication. Some leading to low levels of intimacy and others developing deeper intimacy. These levels of communication range from simply talking about facts to sharing your deepest feelings. Trust and vulnerability play a big role here! We risk being emotionally vulnerable with those we trust not to use their knowledge of who we are against us.
Marriage partners learn to utilize nonverbal communication, such as, gentle touch and eye contact to enhance their communication and bonding. Happily married couples are able to communicate a genuine sense of care and concern for the well being of the other and are empathic of each other’s feelings.
My professional experiences as a marriage therapist have given me much insight on this topic, but it has been my personal experience in the day to day life of marriage that has taught me the most. I have learned that there’s something to be said about being on the same “wave length” with the person you’re married to. That doesn’t mean we have the same opinion on every topic, but it does mean we’re open to listening to the other person’s opinion with the mindset that we just might learn something. It doesn’t mean we have all the same interests, but it means we give each other the space and encouragement to enjoy those interests.
Pure acceptance, knowing we have each other’s back. Knowing we are enjoyed for just who we are instead of someone trying to change us. Those are the subtle things that matter!
Feeling safe, emotionally and physically. Knowing we will not be treated poorly just because someone had a bad day. No fear of the other’s anger or of being taken advantage of makes for an environment where defenses are rarely needed. What a gift not to have to be emotionally armored up in your own home. That’s when you can relax and be yourself, where you get a small taste of how God loves you through the love of your mate.
I’ve been blessed with a husband who is a good communicator and a positive support in my life. I endeavor to be the same for him. But, none of us are perfect in this area. We are all still growing, regardless of our age or how long we’ve been married.
None of us can afford to take lightly the importance of developing good communication in our marriage. The strength and success of our relationship depends on it! Our happiness and sense of well being are affected by it! And, the person we have, in the presence of God, committed to love, honor, and cherish – deserves it!
After thirty years as a marriage counselor, I have a lot more to say about marriage. But not tonight. Maybe in a future blog. 😌