By Jennifer Karina
“Talk to me please”! If your partner constantly uses this phrase, you need to pay attention. You may have gone into “a nil by mouth mode” or simply chosen to speak whenever it is necessary to protect yourself or the relationship from potential harm.
This may have been as a result of a threat, disappointment, frustration or simply a misunderstanding about something. Whatever the reason, this state of affairs may affect your relationship drastically.
Healthy relationships require effective communication, unconditional positive regard, and attentive listening.
Grow towards oneness
While good communication is not a guarantee for a happy marriage, it provides strong reassurance that the couple will continue to grow towards oneness in their relationship.
Wise couples will invest a great deal of energy and effort into positive communication. The process involves two key components — supplying self-disclosure and learning to listen with empathy.
Many couples discover that it is not always automatic to enjoy mutual self-disclosure. Appropriate self-disclosure is a necessary part of growing towards oneness and develop intimacy. It is important that the listener provides the partner a non-threatening, non- judgmental atmosphere to win their confidence.
Clearly, both components are required for a healthy communication.
A client, John, recently confessed: “I have been married to Brenda for the last seven years. Sadly I know little about her — she rarely shares her life with me and this has become a source of frustration in our relationship”.
From John’s case it is clear that one spouse could supply a strong level of self-disclosure but the communication process is thwarted if the other partner chooses not to listen or not engage at self-disclosure at any level.