"There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage." ~Martin Luther

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Understanding Each Other- Part III of the Communication Series

source: google images
Finally we address the last component of the communication process- Understanding. SH says "if every husband and wife spent as much time trying to understand their partner as they do in seeking to be understood, there would be fewer hassles and problems in marriage." When we aim to be understood and we are not, we end up feeling bitter, miserable and resentful but when we aim to understand our partner, our partner feels less defensive, opens up which in turns helps them to understand us. Understanding is putting yourself in the other person's shoes

Sometimes our partners behave in a way which causes us to be impatient or irritated with them. Our aim is first of all to try and understand why they behaved that way. According to psychologists "all behaviour is caused".  Something causes us to behave the way we do in any given situation.

Sometimes our behaviour is triggered by our upbringing or something someone said, or something that occurred. Some times you find out you are upset but can't remember what triggered it. With some digging you can almost pinpoint what caused you to feel that way.

Sometimes people bring situations from past relationships into their marriage- something SH terms as transference. "This is when a person projects a problem of the past- a bad relationship, a traumatic event onto a person or a situation in the present." It could be feelings towards an abusive father or ex boyfriend now projected on a husband, or the betrayal of an ex girlfriend which causes you to get defensive in your marriage. When couples communication at  level 4& 5 discussed in this post, issues like these are brought to the fore front and each person can understand where the other person is coming from.

We all have an inner child which influences and interferes with our adult lives and relationships. Learning to spot the inner child- both in yourself and your partner will help you to understand yourself and your partner better.

Our upbringing has a great impact on our lives. For example- when a wife nag her husband, he is reminded of his mother's constant correcting as a child and his inner child reacts in defence. It is paramount that we observe our partners, what they like or dislike, what triggers positive and negative reactions in them. By doing this we can aim to eradicate what triggers the negative and enhance the happy triggers. We then open up the lines of communication.

So next time your husband or wife behave in a strange manner, do some digging to try and understand why. Pray that the Lord will grant you the grace to understand them rather than to be understood. By practising the other two components- speaking and listening with understanding you are on your way to establishing effective communication which will transform your marriage.

Future reading- A post on Understanding by Favoured Girl.

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