Our marital communication is getting worse. The silence is deafening. I feel like I am just living with a roommate, not my spouse, and I am beginning to not like my roommate.
Human cannot not communicate.
If you are an English teacher, you may not like this
double negative sentence.
But it is true that we interact with each other through verbal and nonverbal ways.
In my field, Marriage and Family Therapy, interactions between people are the basis of all interventions.
Marriage and Family therapists do not just focus on a specific individual, but focus more on the interactions between people. We observe what is going on between the people.
Here is an typical example of marital communication.
Wife nags her husband, and her husband withdraws from her. Wife feels abandoned and frustrated so that she nags more, and her husband withdraws more.
Here is another example.
A child throws a tantrum, a parent gives in. A child throws a tantrum again, the parent gives in again.
Can we make a difference in the interaction patterns. How about if the wife approaches to him in a more gentle way, instead of starting the angry rants.
Would he change the way he interacts with his wife?
Maybe because this is not the way she usually interacts with him.
How about if the parent sets limits, and sticks with what s/he said. It means "No means no."
Would the child change the way s/he responds to the parent?
Maybe. This is a new pattern for the child, and soon s/he learns that the parent would not give him/her what they want even if they throw a huge tantrum.
Interaction patterns changed, rules changed, and human behavior changed.
Many people unconsciously do this.
But many other people unconsciously continue to have a bad cycle of interaction patterns, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
As we know, once it becomes our habit and part of our life, it is hard to change.
Think about any relationships you are in, such as with co-workers, with neighbors, and with family members and relatives.
Do you notice that you have specific communication patterns with specific persons? Do you know what kind of communication patterns you have with your partner?
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