Developing human potential and fostering interpersonal relationships
Why Do Marriages Fail (Part 7)
For effective communication to take place between partners some old
dysfunctional habits have to be broken. Though these habits are ingrained they nonetheless
can be weeded out by devoting a few minutes a day of consistent exercises in having productive
dialogues. For such dialogues to be effective they should have the following features:
- Both partners should agree on a topic and schedule a specific time and place to speak.
- If the topic is a problem solving exercise then ideally problems should be prioritised to remove points of contention.
- If the topic is of a more mundane nature then it should be designed to identify common interests.
- The dialogue should be balanced with no monopolisation of time by either partner.
- Both partners should take turns listening and speaking with any questions asked to clarify issues.
- Kept the dialogue short to avoid fatigue which for most couples is between 5 to 10 minutes.
Though the dialogue is kept short, it is this brevity by its very nature that will maintain
maximum interest. Moreover, if such dialogues are consistent applied then a few minutes a day starts adding
up into significant amounts of time. It is the incremental application of this time that has the most power
to replace negative habits with more productive one for effective communication.
Though it is vital for couples to agree on a topic, it is also very helpful to list some features
that should characterise the topic at hand. This will not only identify what should be discussed but also help
ensure that it would be discussed productively. So here are some tips:.
- Convey positive feelings towards each other or at least express a positive outlook in general. This is particularly
vital for problem solving exercises which, without positive feelings, can lead to accusations and ultimately insults.
- Clarify your position by keeping things clear and concise. Often communication is undermined by ambiguities and implicit statements,
which assume that the listener has the same mindset as the speaker.
- If a topic is particularly sensitive then it is vital that couple develop jargon and sign language that not only respects the
sensitivities at hand but is something which both parties mutually understand .
- Be realistic. It is important to convey what your spouse is doing that may bother you but do not expect for him or her to
change personalities. Aim for changes which, though small, may still be significant. However, these changes can still take time.
- Present your perspective. This is critical or your partner simply will not understand you. However, your perspective should not be presented
as invalidating your partnerís position or you will meet with resistance. Rather you should concentrate on conveying the validity of your
position rather than undermining someone else's.
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