To deepen our love relationship with our partners and loved ones, it is necessary to know those things which interfere with the effectiveness of our communication. When there is a lack of understanding between the parties involved, it becomes very easy for barriers in communication to sprout.
1. Listening: to really listen to another means giving yourself and being willing to see the other person’s point of view without necessarily having to accept it. Words should be spoken properly and clearly and there should be listening. When you do not constantly check to make sure that you are actually hearing and understanding what the person is saying, what they mean and how they feel, a breakdown in communication may result.
2. The Use of Ambiguous Statements: if a statement sounds ambiguous to you, seek clarification and ask questions. You should realise that whether you talk, remain silent, listen or do not listen at all, you are communicating something.
In a home, ambiguity may arise from a conflict in roles; when roles are not clearly defined, conflicts in decision-making arise. When this happens, communication breaks down creating barriers to effective dialogue and even family discourse.
3. Prevarication: this is deliberately refusing to come out and say exactly what you mean. Direct and specific statements rather than generalised ones will go a long way to putting things right.
4. Conflicts: no relationship is void of conflicts. In reality, conflicts sometimes breed closeness and intimacy – if handled properly and maturely. Through the mature resolution of conflicts, a good communication channel will emerge and this will keep further conflicts from erupting into physical and emotional devastation.
In working through conflict, what this means is that a wife and her husband must be willing to hear each other’s side and patiently accept each other’s feelings no matter how vehement they both are about the differences. They should be able to arrive at particular issues or differences and then do something about them. They should learn to resolve their individual negative feelings, by calmly talking about them, and reach a compromise. Learn to accept wrong and to apologise. It costs nothing to say I am sorry, please forgive me.
5. Courtesy: this is an essential element in any relationship and particularly so in marriage. The lack of it can cause an enormous barrier. There should be mutual respect. Yelling at each other, especially in public is very counter-productive. If one person is the indiscriminate yeller, at a point the non-yeller may just stop talking and retreat in order to avoid being yelled at.
6. Avoid Assumptions and Presumptions: one of the very common problems in a marriage, and in any relationship in fact, is the assumption He knows I love him! Well, yes maybe he should know that basic fact, but what if at any point of the relationship he fails or forgets to believe that as fact? It could be something that was said, done, not said or done that would make him start to doubt the existence of your love. It does not cost anything to you and means a great deal to him to tell him how you feel. Let him know you love him, if you do of course.
7. The inability or unwillingness to discuss those “little things” that bother us. They may actually be little things and really should not matter. But so long as they matter to the other person, they should be important and matter to you as well. Make out time to discuss them. When these seemingly trivial matters are not discussed, they begin to grow and mount up, then become so oppressive that the other person becomes touchy and irritable at the slightest provocation. This does not allow for any meaningful communication.
Actually, many women would rather not discuss those “little things” because they fear their husbands’ reactions.
When one party becomes unable to discuss his/her feelings, that party gradually becomes resentful. Resentment creates a fertile breeding ground for so many other vices, including bitterness and explosive anger. When one or both parties grow resentful, they usually become defensive as well and in this state, the relationship becomes one of silence.
8. Silence: on one hand, this can enhance very good communication. On the other hand though, it could be a breakdown in communication. This depends on how the silence is used. Maybe as a lady, you have learnt to not explode in public or even draw attention to yourself when you are angry; you have learnt to keep your emotions under tight control. So when you get angry, you go silent. The result is that you discover as time goes on that you either can no longer keep quiet or you develop an ulcer, or high blood pressure. We should remind ourselves of God’s injunction in the Bible
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another; forgive each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32)
Thus far, it is easy to see that communication in itself is easy, the problem is the management. If not carefully managed, patiently with love, understanding and maturity, there can be no lasting interpersonal relationship with your husband, wife, children, friends, relations or anybody for that matter. The key to a successful relationship is its system of communication. Success and happiness in a relationship, especially in a marriage, may be measured by the deepening dialogue with each other and with God.This is an excerpt from the book Tears of a Wife by Naomi Famonure Copyright. Reprinted with permission.