We all have unique communication styles influenced by our age, personality and culture among other factors. Our communication styles affect the way we receive and share information with others.
Unfortunately, not all styles are beneficial when it comes to communication in marriage. Some styles can be harmful to your relationship with your spouse. Here is a list of five of the most harmful communication styles in marriage.
It is important to remain issue-specific when expressing dissatisfaction or frustration. Generalizing dissatisfaction by using words such as always, never, nothing and everything only adds fuel to the fire. For instance, if your spouse forgets to pick up something from the store, refrain from saying things like “you always forget.” Similarly, when expressing dissatisfaction with your spouse’s behaviour, steer clear from personality trait labels such as “insensitive” or “lazy.” Instead, refer to the specific behaviour and, if possible, the incident that is bothering you.
2. INTERRUPTING AND DOMINATING THE CONVERSATION
Listening is an important part of communication in relationships. Unfortunately, some people are not good listeners. When the other person is speaking, they are busy thinking about what they are going to say next. They often interrupt when their partner is speaking or simply dominate the conversation without giving their spouse a chance to speak. This behaviour is destructive as it communicates that they are not interested in what their spouses have to say.
3. BRINGING UP ANCIENT HISTORY
Some people love using the past to back their arguments. They act like prosecuting attorneys — bringing up past actions and marital problems in an attempt to establish a pattern. They then attempt to predict the future using the past as a baseline. Unfortunately, this only serves to open up old wounds and make the future appear bleaker than it probably is. To succeed in marriage, you must learn how to solve conflicts in the present. Bringing up the past may be a winning strategy, but it is not the best conflict resolution strategy or style of communication in marriage.
4. OVER-INTELLECTUALIZING EMOTIONS
Some people are able to express their feelings and emotions openly while others see emotions as a sign of weakness. Those who see emotion as weakness often try to intellectualize their feelings. For instance, instead of showing concern for their spouse, they may try to intellectualize their concern and instead point out what their spouse did wrong. Intellectualizers are often seen to be cold and insensitive but the truth is that they just don’t know how to express their feelings.
5. EXPECTING SPOUSES TO BE MIND READERS
Too many people operate under the assumption that if their partners love them, they will automatically be attuned to their feelings and needs. They may say “if you loved me, you’d know.” This attitude is destructive since spouses are not mind readers and have no way of discerning unexpressed expectations. Every person must take responsibility for their own happiness and openly express their feelings, needs, and desires.
If you want to improve communication in your marriage, you need to steer clear of the destructive styles of communication in marriage described here.
SOURCE: Mike Tucker
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