Put Communication To Work In Your Marriage –
The word communication sounds so simple, and in essence it is. But, as simple as it is, around 90% of divorce cases grow from a breakdown in communications.
Mathematically speaking that pretty much means that fixing your communication problems will reduce your chances of getting divorced by about 90%. Can this be true? Can it be that simple?
Unfortunately, emotions do not follow mathematical rules.
Remember courting? It’s not unusual for couples who are dating to talk for hours on end. They often talk about everything from the weather to their hopes and dreams to their favorite color and favorite foods. Couples want to share their every thought with each other.
After the wedding, unfortunately, life gets in the way and couples end up caught up in the day-to-day routine of marriage, which often has little or no time for chit chat. Married couples may still want to share their thoughts with each other, but it doesn’t seem possible anymore. The honeymoon is over, and you have to attend to the bills, deal with job stress, live with trauma, grief, traffic, illness, friends, family, children, etc. etc. etc. The rose colored glasses come off and the landscape starts to look a bit dull and lifeless.
As our lives become more and more demanding and complex, we all tend to withdraw into our own reality and often leave our partners a bit out in the cold. Both spouses start to move almost in different circles, like they don’t know how to be married anymore.
The result is two-fold:
1) The spouse who is feeling left out emotionally feels neglected, oftentimes resulting in feelings of anger and disappointment, and he or she starts to withdraw.
2) This withdrawal by the neglected spouse justifies the emotional distance that caused the withdrawal.
See how this becomes a vicious circle! Each spouse needs to feel emotionally connected, yet when life interrupts this natural desire, neglect, withdrawal, and anger gradually starts to pull the couple further and further apart. Very often, neither spouse can put their finger on where the breakdown started. An emotional chasm can be extremely difficult to bridge.
Ironically, in most cases the initial withdrawal simply happens because one party is trying to deal with something in his or her own way, and has trouble communicating with their partner in an appropriate manner.
The withdrawal could be due to principles or upbringing, or even nature. Many men believe they are responsible, the strong ones, the one who can fix anything that goes wrong. When a woman wants to share an emotion, men can often misinterpret that to mean they want something fixed, instead of just heard. This is a generalization, but studies have shown that men and women both revert to instincts of survival when trying to work their way through an argument – men want to fix it and women want to be heard.
At the end of the day, you have to realize that you got married because you wanted to do things together – for better or for worse. As such, you both have to be supportive of each other, whatever comes your way. And, even if one person cannot do anything to help solve a given problem, you can both still communicate with each other and make sure your partner knows that his or her efforts are appreciated and respected.
It doesn’t help anything when one party tries to solve everything themselves and ends up shutting the other out as a result. Marriage is about building a life together, not about each party simply “doing their own thing”, so it’s important to make a conscious effort to converse and spend some time together… to make each other a priority and to include your spouse in your thoughts.
Communication comes from both sides, and it can shut down from either side, too. Both of you have to talk, and both of you have to listen. Maybe you can prove that mathematically speaking, you can improve your chances of a happy marriage with the 90% communication rule!