Most romance movies are rarely about couples therapy, but falling in love. What about day to day lives of those couples?
Many people focus on the beginning of the marriage. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and although they may have some problems they eventually end up together and they live happily ever after. But do they really live happily ever after? Does any couple?
A real marriage, in the real world, necessarily hinges upon the interpersonal skills of the people involved. Real life couples have jobs, bills, their extended family, their children, their pets, hobbies, thoughts, feelings, and their favorite TV shows that all get put into the mix of their relationship. The thing that keeps all those things and their marriage working well is their ability to positively communicate about everything that goes into their collective lives.
Why Communication Matters
Most of the tips relate to communication because communication is at the core of almost every single relationship problem. According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, they state that the top 3 reasons people request a divorce are incompatibility, infidelity, and money issues. Each of these issues can be alleviated, not solved completely, with better communication.
For couples facing infidelity, had the straying partner simply communicated with their spouse about their sexual intimacy problems they would have had a chance to solve things before they cheated and created a domino effect that led to their divorce. Communicating properly before a couples therapy usually will fix their incompatibility issues. Often, couples will marry and seemingly forget to talk about what kind of life they want. A woman may not want any children and cherish lavish vacations and time with her husband, while her future husband may want a large family and camping trips. Ultimately, that couple is going to experience a breakdown in their marriage because they never discussed what they wanted and someone is going to be unhappy.
Financial issues are complex, but for many of them – communicating with their spouse can easily help to alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with money problems. Even couples with no-budget have a budget and in order to have a budget that works for both spouses they have to talk. If one spouse is buying hundred dollar shoes and the other tosses and turns all night because they don’t know how they’ll pay the electric bill, eventually that couple is going to fail. That couple needs to talk to deal with their problems and if they don’t know how to communicate effectively they won’t ever fix their problems.
How Couples Fail at Communication
It’s easy to fail at communication, it’s a skill that has to be worked on in order to improve and many people don’t work on it with the same amount of effort that they work on their golf game. At work, at home, at school, in all facets of your life communication is going to be an important skill to have. In fact, Forbes believes that communication is the most important skill a person can have today.
According to marriage researchers bad communication is the top reason why marriage counselors believe marriages fail. They state that the four biggest problems in communication are: criticizing your partner’s personality, contempt, defensiveness, and the silent treatment. All four of those are huge problems but the biggest of all is the silent treatment.
Communication Isn’t Only Your Words
Why Disagreement Isn’t Bad
A lot of couples choose to use the silent treatment because they figure that by not fighting they’re helping the relationship. This is extremely false. No, couples therapy can help in such circumstances. Silent treatment is toxic to relationships. Did you know that meditation improves communication? By withdrawing from communication with your spouse, you end up reinforcing the polarization between yourself and your spouse. You don’t want to end up so separate from your spouse that you aren’t talking at all.
Arguments are healthy because you are each an individual. What isn’t healthy is name calling, being dismissive, and ignoring the others concerns. When you feel as though you want to go into the silent treatment to avoid conflict, it would be better to tell your partner that the conversation is making you feel uncomfortable and ask if you can discuss the situation after you’ve composed yourself.
Show That You Heard Your Partner
The best way to avoid bad communication is to show your partner that you can hear what they are saying. Sometimes, your spouse might ask if you’re listening and you’ll say, “Yeah, I heard you” and yet you still have a disagreement. This is because you can hear the words but you aren’t understanding them. The best way to improve communication is when having a discussion reiterate to your partner that you heard what they said.
Your spouse might say, “Honey, you never take me out and I want to go to the ballet.” A good way to counteract this would be to say, “I hear that you feel like you don’t get to go out, why don’t you go out tonight.” This gives your spouse the chance to let you know that they don’t want to go out by themselves, what they really want is to spend time with you in a setting outside your home. This one tip alone will easily improve most disagreements that you have with your spouse.
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