Thursday, June 28, 2012
Keeping Marriages Together: Communication
When I fell off the radar for an extended period of time I was practicing being silent. Communication is a critical component to a healthy marriage and there are two aspects to it; speaking and listening. In order to listen you have to be silent so you can hear what the other person is saying. In order to hear what another person is saying so that you may truly give it thought, you have to actively listen, i.e. pay attention to what the other person is saying, not just sit there blankly and nod occasionally while formulating your rebuttal.
I have learned that silence is a very good friend, it helps me focus on what is really being said, so I can hear what the person is actually saying, not what I perceive. Taking a few deep breaths and clearing your mind before (and during) a conversation can help you stay focused and silent and it can help further the communication efforts of a couple. Remember silence is not a place for you to go inside yourself and judge your spouse. It is actually a time to meditate on how to respond in a positive way.
Being silent has been a challenge for me, especially since I was dubbed "loquacious" as a sixth-grader and have lived up to that moniker ever since. It does take a good deal of effort to be quiet and to process, but through meditation and prayer I have found I am able to listen for longer periods of time without trying to interject. I am also able to give better responses, because I haven't been so focused on me and what I was going to say, but on what my partner was actually talking about. I'm not moving my agenda along, but rather actually taking into account the other person.
Silence truly is golden, just think of all the money saved just by being quiet and actually listening to your spouse. You don't have to wait until things are challenging to use this tool. Working on positive communication skills in the good times, shore up a marriage and strengthen it in case things do get rocky. At least you'll be able to communicate open and honestly should tides get choppy.
Until Next Time,