Part of the reason is that partners often speak to each other using different terminology, have personal agendas, and self-identity needs that frequently negatively impact the communication in their marriage. Unfortunately, communicating just isn't as simple as exchanging information using the words we speak or write.
Not Untypical Communication In Marriage
Take a look at this social media post I wrote to see a funny example of how marriage communication can break down. Even though the story describes a girlfriend and boyfriend, we all know the same problem occurs in marriages too.
Problem #1 - Communicating Feelings vs. Thoughts
In the example portrayed in this graphic she's communicating how she feels and he's talking about his thoughts. One partner communicating their feelings while the other shares their thoughts, roles typically played by women and men respectfully, but not always, is a common communication problem in marriage. This breakdown is caused by communicating about a subject while looking at it from different perspectives and then using different terminology to describe it.
Problem #2 - Listen vs. Fix-it
Another common marriage communication problem that this example illustrates is listening versus trying to fix-it. This is another one that often falls along typical male-female differences, but again not always. More often than not though, female partners want to be listened to and feel heard, and men are typically looking for solutions and trying to fix whatever is wrong. Part of this disparity is due to the different ways we all communicate and deal with things. While it's stereotypically believed that women process the experience and men want to alleviate the problem this is not always the case, and the roles can be reversed. Sometimes we all just want to be listened to, and other times we can be looking for solutions. But some problems cannot always be solved, at least not right away, and in those instances the best thing we can do is to listen and be supportive.
Problem #3 - Who's Right
Even though the battle over who's right isn't illustrated in this graphic, it's extremely common within communication in marriages. Partners often have their communication driven by the frequently unspoken and unconscious need to be right. When it's win or lose relationship communication can take on the dynamics of a fight-to-the-death cage match. Almost anything can trigger this as the need of our self-identities to feel confident and reassured by our being right overrides the true purpose of communication of exchanging information.
Communication in marriage can be hard at times, especially when we're not aware of the common ways we undermine it and the underlying reasons this happens. Yet we all can work at getting better at how we communicate with our partner, so pick one of these 3 common problems and work on improving it in your relationship.
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