- Gender and Relationships»
- Happy Marriages
Communication in relationships
Communication is "at the heart of intimate human relationships." It is the way humans create and share meaning; a successful relationship, especially intimate ones, are based on it. Unfortunately, it is not as simple to express one's thoughts and feelings accurately or appropriately. While I would consider my partner and I to be good listeners in a happy relationship, I still feel as though almost all of the issues we encounter are the results of miscommunication. Therefore, information about communication in relationships has been especially helpful to me.
Readings put a name to many of the elements of communication I used but could not identify or explain; for instance, I often find myself metacommunicating in an effort to clarify my intentions, but I had never known the term for the act. It was also helpful reading the different types of listening and communication so I could understand the ways I communicate and listen, and then recognize the parts I could improve on.
- Persuasive - trying to lead the conversation
- Directive - trying to understand the conversation
- Attentive - trying to learn from the conversation
- Passive - Avoiding opinions, feelings or needs
- Aggressive - Stating opinions, feelings or needs, without respect for others
- Assertive - Stating opinions, feelings or needs with respect for others
Certain statistics presented in texts have struck me in particular, such as the fact that 82% of couples, happy or not, wish their partner was more willing to share feelings... that's a lot of dissatisfaction! Also, more than 70% of couples had difficulty asking their partner for "what I want," which is something I feel I have trouble with as well. These facts illustrated how common communication issues are in marriages, even happy ones.
What I found most relevant was the section on gender differences in communication. The facts made so much sense when I related them to my relationships and experiences. The analysis of the differences between masculine and feminine communicative styles - competition versus connection, and affiliation versus action - showed me why and how men and women encounter problems. I understand more now about why men think women "nag," and why women are often the "talkers" and men are more silent, which is important because these are two sorts of stereotypes that many people hold.
Immediately after reading this during a break at work, I looked up from my book and told my co-workers what I had learned. It seemed like such a valuable piece of information that could help in any relationship! I found myself talking to my partner about the information I read, and he agreed that the facts made a lot of sense in light of our conversations, and that our styles of communication between us clearly fell along gender lines.
Not only did the things I read make for interesting conversation points to share with friends and family, but they can also prove helpful in improving the quality of communication between those I maintain any kind of relationship with. I now pay more attention to the way I listen and communicate with others, no matter what situation I'm in. Because the information is so relevant, I know I can take it and use it to the benefit of myself and those around me.
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