Have you ever felt that you are treading on egg shells in your married life? That is, when you feel that you never know when your husband or wife can yell or express disappointment at your behavior, or when you can never understand what reaction to expect. It can be very, very difficult. I know of one couple who always have a misunderstanding or an argument at the end of every sentence. It might seem like an exaggeration but it’s true. In fact, this is quite common and can happen to the best of couples.
What is the solution for this problem? It all boils down to good communication skills. Communication skills are most important for maintaining good relations with your spouse. For ex., how do you respond to your partner when you disagree with what he/she has told you? What if your spouse does something that you don’t like? Do you yell? Give them the silent treatment? Or find ways to punish your spouse?
The response we offer when we disagree or when we are frustrated can have a big impact on the relationship. Recognizing our typical patterns is the first step in deciding how we are impacting the relationship. Think of the last few disagreements and look at how you responded. Examine what you were hoping would happen as result of your behaviors. For example, did you give the silent treatment for a day in hopes that your spouse “would learn their lesson?” If so, did it work?
Keeping the communication channels open always is most important in a marriage. Mostly, out of frustration people tend to complain, criticize or compare with others which lead to further problems. So instead of complaining or criticizing one should express one’s need in a positive and direct way. For example, a wife who wants more help around the house says, “I always have to do everything around here and no one else lifts a finger.” This is not likely to motivate her husband to spring into action and help her clean. However, she could make a direct request such as, “could you please do the dishes tonight?”
Communication that involves attacking your partner will not yield positive results. Instead, it is likely to create more problems for the relationship. Attacking your partner verbally may include obvious forms such as name calling, or it may include more subtle forms in an attempt to manipulate your partner.
Name calling is never productive. Avoid the “you” messages that blame the other person. Statements such as “you never do what I want to do,” are not likely to be helpful. Instead, “I” statements such as “I feel hurt that we don’t ever get to visit my mother together” are more likely to lead to an open and honest discussion. “I” statements do not place blame but instead describe a feeling and can lead to a discussion that helps solve a problem.
So in this way, we see that marriage need not be a battle of words, but a comfortable relationship in which two individuals can express themselves with respect for each others views and desires.
Radhanath Swami says, “a couple may have a beautiful house, nice car, so many servants, so much jewelry and furniture and fame and power within society but if the person’s affectionate relationship with his or her spouse is not proper then that person will be miserable no matter what. Everyone does have arguments and misunderstanding; even children do. But these big children are more foolish than little children. Little children fight and make up when offered some sweet, but when elders fight, they may never be able to trust each other for the rest of their lives!!!”