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Why Do Marriages Fail (Part 1)

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It is an often an overlooked fact that communication is not only an expression of reality but reality is in turn shaped by communication. Even in the most distressing of situations positive communication is the key to motivating one for positive change. The corollary also holds whereby one word has the power to derail an otherwise mutually beneficial relationship.

Effective communication is vital to a successful marriage. Perhaps more than any other relationship, two parties are constantly living with each and without effective communication any intimacy, trust and bonding will be impossible.

Marriages often fail because of a lack of effective communication. Any potential compatibility between couples is destroyed because of confrontational, one sided, anger prone communication based on a black and white, polarised views. For communication to be successful both parties must feel truly

heard and understood in a positive manner which motivates themselves to take constructive action to solve problems rather than exacerbate them. This rests on the assumption that reality is often ambiguous where both parties can be right. So here are four basic rules for effective communication in a marriage:

Express negative feelings in a constructive way
It is inevitable that one spouse is a hurt by another and the natural response is to express oneís disapproval as a means to "correct" the other partner. However, before talking one should consider the following:

If these conditions are met then one should express negative feelings but in a constructive way by:

Acknowledge responsibility
Listen to negative feelings without retaliating and take responsibility for your actions. On the surface this seems very hard to do as it may invite more verbal attacks. However, acknowledging your spouseís feelings can also be a potent way to deflate their anger as they feel that they are being listened to and their feelings vindicated. Acknowledging responsibility, however, has to be used with caution but if correctly applied can open the way for effective problem solving communication.

Look at the personís merits
In a marriage it is vital to get into the habit of expressing positive emotions towards oneís spouse. Society tends to emphasise fault picking, criticism, complaints and rebuke. These negative aspects of marital communication have a highly corrosive effect, particularly if done incrementally every day. People remember pain and erect barriers to prevent repetitions of it. The result is that the more one complains then they less one is heard. Replace criticism with compliments and look for every opportunity to do this until it becomes habitual. Compliments, even if done awkwardly at first can act as a powerful lubricant for interaction that will turn increasingly positive. Reserve complaints for more significant things and with the greater likelihood of being heard.

Accept compliments
This is mirror image of looking at your spouses merits. However, accepting compliments is vital to developing a reciprocal relationship between spouses whereby both express positive feelings about each other. Accepting compliments may be uncomfortable for some individuals, particularly if they have grown up incessantly criticised and therefore are suspicious of peopleís motives when given praise. However, being recognised for oneís merits and having your spouse identify positive attributes in you which you didnít know even existed is a powerful bonding tool. It not only makes one feel appreciated but also creates a positive atmosphere. This has the potential remove past hurts and short-circuit seemingly endless cycles of arguments. The resulting trust and mutual respect will provide the foundation for more permanent bonding.

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