Open communication is essential to the life of a marriage relationship.
If you don’t communicate, your marriage will die.
Good, open communication is the top need in marriage. Nothing is as easy as talking; nothing is as difficult as communicating. Using words correctly and skillfully is an important part of communication, but even more important is that both husband and wife have a willingness to communicate in ways that result in deeper honesty and openness.
The great cover-up
Communicating effectively begins with discovering transparency. Being real, open to each other, and unafraid of rejection.
Many people spend tremendous time and energy building facades to hide their insecurities. They are afraid that if someone finds out who they really are, they will be rejected. For many men in particular, deep and honest communication can be very threatening. Too many wives and husbands are afraid to be honest with each other.
Many couples would improve their relationships if both partners would use words that are gentle and full of encouragement and praise. In marriage, partners need to affirm each other often.
Learning to be more open
Deep communication takes most of us a long time to achieve. You or your spouse may have come from a family where open communication was discouraged or even punished. It may take years to reach a deep, satisfying level of transparency, but every couple needs to be headed in the right direction.
Just as you do when you learn and sharpen most skills, with communication you start at easier levels and work your way toward proficiency.
The lowest, level of communication is cliché conversation, where you share nothing of substance with the other person: “Hello, how are you doing? Hot, isn’t it? Have a nice day.”
Moving up the scale a notch, level-four conversation involves reporting the facts. You share what you know but little more than that. You expose nothing of yourself and are content to report what so-and-so said or what so-and-so did.
At level three, you share your opinions—your ideas and judgments about things. You finally start to come out of your shell and reveal a little bit of who you are. You watch the other person carefully, and when you sense even the slightest question or rejection, you retreat.
Emotional sharing—what you feel—starts at level two. Here you must be careful to avoid hurting your spouse. But many marriages are in such need of sharing feelings that the risk must be taken. If you can’t share feelings with your spouse, your marriage is on superficial ground. You won’t grow, and neither will your partner.
The top level of communication is transparency—being completely open with the other person. Transparency means sharing the real you, from the heart. Level-one communication requires a deep degree of trust, commitment, and friendship.
You reserve the transparency level for your spouse and perhaps a few others who are very close to you. Becoming transparent with many people can be dangerous. For example, sharing too much of who you are with someone of the opposite sex can lead to an affair.
When spouses reach the transparency level, they operate with oneness. One can kindly say to the other, “I think you’re angry. Is there something bothering you?”
And the other can answer, “I think you're right. Maybe what is making me so mad is what my boss said to me in that meeting yesterday”
Reaching this level of meaningful communication is not easy, but the rewards far outweigh the cost. We all long deeply to be heard and understood. The most natural place for this to occur is within the safe harbor of a healthy marriage. That “safe” harbor can be created and maintained only by a couple committed to each other. At its root, love is a commitment. In marriage, it’s a covenant that embodies the commitment that brings freedom: “Perfect love casts out fear.”
You can contact Kimile Pendleton at www.HealTheFamilyNow.com