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Two to Tango: Effective communication between couples key to bonding better

Effective communication is not when partners talk one another to highlight their complaints and issues but when they discuss with intent to resolve the issues between them.

Written by Amrita Sharma | New Delhi |
October 12, 2015 1:56:27 pm
married-couple-main Counsellors say that the sad part is that most couples are not even aware that there is no communication going on with each other. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Most couples know that the key to a successful relationship is to have an open and effective communication with your partner. And yet, it is very common for couples to fall into the trap of not communicating effectively enough with each other as they get embroiled in the daily routine of marital life.

Many surveys conducted over the years have found that most divorces occur due to the breakdown of communication between partners.

Counsellors say that the sad part is that most couples are not even aware that there is no communication going on with each other.

Interestingly, most men thought they were communicating with their partners as long as they were taking in what their partner was saying. Women, on the other hand, felt that nagging and complaining was also part of communication with their partners. For both men and women, the fact that they are exchanging conversation was communicating enough.

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But experts say that effective communication is not when partners talk one another to highlight their complaints and issues but when they discuss with intent to resolve the issues between them.

Take the case of Roma and Mayank. Most of the time when they talked, they fought. And they fought about everything – personal and professional issues. It was only when Mayank asked for a divorce, citing irreconcilable differences that Roma realised there was no communication between them.

“I would discuss everything with him and he would either not pay attention or keep telling me what to do about it. The last thing I needed was a lecture from him and we always ended up fighting,” said Roma.

For Mayank, it was nothing less than a torture when Roma came to “just talk” to him.

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“I knew we would end up arguing and spoiling our moods and that is what happened invariably. I was tired of dealing with her complexities,” he said.

Marriage counselors say that it is very important for couples to realise if what they perceive as communication is not being taken by the other as criticism, blame-game or one-upmanship.

What makes communication effective is when the couples make the other person understand what you need from them and help them get to that level where the relationship is strengthened not eroded.

Take the case of Shalabh and Arti. Even after many years of being married, they felt they could not really communicate properly.

“I always felt frustrated while talking with Arti. I would make one point and she would understand something else. I just didn’t know what to do. I saw no chance of saving our marriage because of how defensive we would get while talking to one another,” said Shalabh.

Arti, on the other hand, felt that Shalabh always interpreted what she said in ways it was not intended.

Their marriage was on the verge of collapsing when they went to see a counselor.

“That’s when we realised that we were not really communicating; we were debating, arguing and blaming one another, instead of making an effort to make the other partner see our point of view,” said Arti.

Experts say that just as we need communication skills in our professional life, we need similar skill sets for our relationships as well. These include the ability to listen to the other, try and understand, not get defensive, not criticise and pass judgment and most of all, be willing to make changes in your own approach if the need be, in the process of communicating.

With these skill sets, communication can improve in ways that can not only bring couples closer but also enhance the quality of their relationships.

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