We think therefore we communicate. In a marital (or any) relationship things may get tricky, since the recipient listens therefore interprets as rampantly as his/her imagination allows it. The majority of issues in a relationship may be caused by bad communication, and the fallout does not rely solely on the speaker. The listener plays a huge part in a communication, otherwise there wouldn’t be a need for communicating if no one could understand.
Shrinks are not the magic pill for a bad marriage — there I said it. Now, now, psychologists need not to worry, for they can agree that communication is a key factor in any relationship debacle. We are thinking rational beings — we speak our thoughts too. Cancelling communication as a big player in any relationship is marital suicide. You thought it was money and good looks? Perhaps pheromones? Think again!
We communicate, so we mingle. And as we mingle we choose our partner (or do they choose us? Mhmm). Sure people can get married by the size of their bank account, but if they can’t communicate well they’ll divorce. That’s why divorce is the number one hobby in early 21st century society. It is not that we’re not thinking straight, it’s that we are not communicating accordingly.
So what’s the deal with communication. For starters, it’s not just talking — that’s babbling (and even ranting, if taken to extremes). For monologues please refer to your nearest late night show host. But we’re no Stephen Colbert, we are people in relationships that not only express through verbals and non-verbals but also listen, decode, and interpret what is being told to us.
Now here’s the tricky part… What if I told you that listening is 50% of this whole communication deal-e-o. So not only you have to be good in making yourself understandable, you also need to excel at understanding whatever is being told to you. Again, verbals and non-verbals.
So a partner could say to his other half about a financial trouble they are undergoing. The other person may interpet the conversation about money as reference to multiple possibilities:
- Oh, he/she is subtly telling me I should get a job. Does he/she think I’m lazy, or what?
- Well what do you know, I should’ve married that stock broker I met in college. Seems we’re broke.
- We’re having money issues, but why is he/she telling me. I’m no Alan Greenspan.
- How conforting that he/she is telling me this.
- Is this his/her way of telling me I should’ve not used my credit card on that thing.
- The money is going somewhere, I bet he/she has something to do with it.
- We need to plan what we’re going to do about this.
Again, the possibilities are endless for the listener to interpret when he or she hears the “honey, we’re having money problems” line. True, the speaker needs to be right on target when talking about issues. But the listener should never jump to whatever conclusions his or her free-rein vivid mind permits. As a listener we owe it to the speaker to ask questions or clear out any doubts. This simple problem has brought marriages to the ground.
People are complicated already. Why strive to tangle things even further? Try listening, not imagining things. Be part of the communication in your relationship not just a spectator at a useless monologue.