Communication is probably one of the most misunderstood (and poorly communicated!) concepts in human relationships. We all know that “great communication” is essential to a good marriage – and we all know when we don’t have it – but what really is ‘communication’? And not only that, but how do you make your communication more effective? One of the most powerful features of a great marriage is great communication – the husband and wife can “get through” to each other in an easy, clear and intensely loving way. They instantly – and usually instinctively know how to speak each other’s language and their relationship benefits greatly as a result.
So let’s start by asking, “What is communication?”. Well quite simply, communication is the process whereby your intention (or intentions) are understood by another person. One person clearly understands – on an emotional as well as logical level – the message or meaning another person is trying to convey. And of course we are looking here within the context of a marriage, so those two people are the husband and the wife.
There have been many books written on communication, but in fact the whole process is really quite simple. To create great communication in a marriage (or in any interaction between two people, in fact) you simply need two things to be present:
- a willingness by both people to want to communicate and to hear what the other person has to say, and
- the ability to communicate in the ‘communication language’ of the other person.
The first point is fairly obvious. People in difficult marriages often simply don’t want to communicate with their spouse. And frankly, you can have the best communication techniques and skills in the world, but if the person you want to communicate with doesn’t want to hear you or interact with you, it’s not going to be a lot of help. Looking at it from this perspective, you can see that great communication is the result of building a great relationship (using the ideas I’ve talked about in previous podcasts) and not the other way around. You want to have great communication in your marriage? Create a marriage where your spouse wants to communicate with you! It’s as simple as that!
So that’s the first component of great communication in marriage.
The second point, though – the ability to communicate in the ‘communication language’ of the other person – is by contrast neither obvious nor well understood or even known about by most people. However the truth is that each of us has an individual ‘communication language.’ The way we literally ‘take in’ information varies from person to person. Funnily enough, although most of us can hear with our ears, it’s not the only or even the main way we ‘hear’ things. We have other ways of “hearing” (which is simply understanding information) and they include what we see and even how and what we touch and feel.In other words, all of our senses are used in our communication, but each with varying degrees of importance.
The languages of two people can be very different. Imagine a marriage where the husband spoke French and the wife spoke Norwegian, and neither spoke the other’s language. They’re not going to get very far in their communication – even if they both wanted to. One (or both) is going to have to learn the other’s language. Our individual “communication language” can be just as ‘foreign’ to our spouse!
People in great marriages have learnt, consciously or otherwise, how to ‘get through’ to their spouse by understanding the main ways their spouse takes in information, the ‘language’ of their communication.
Understanding your husband or wife’s communication language – and your own as well – is something I go into great detail about in my 30 day program, Save Your Marriage Relationship Transformation (link). It’s something you might want to consider because once you understand your partner’s ‘communication language’, most of your misunderstandings will fall away, and with it a lot of your problems and insecurities. You will both also be able to make each other feel more loved, as you communicate your love and feelings on more profound levels.
In fact knowing your spouse’s communication language has the power to transform your marriage literally almost overnight!
We all know how important communication is in a marriage. I’m not telling you anything new there. But in closing, I just want to imagine what your marriage could be like if there was a strong and unconditional desire from both you and your spouse to share your thoughts and feelings, and if you both really understood each other’s “communication language.” Imagine a marriage with fewer arguments and misunderstanding, without feeling resentful because your spouse didn’t “get it” or in which you don’t have to compromise your thoughts and feelings. It’s really possible – and it’s an integral part of the only sort of marriage worth having – a great one!