May 7, 2002

Communication roadblocks

Communication is the life blood of marriage.  Communication is often considered the number one problem in a marriage.  Generally, at the beginning of a marriage or relationship, couples are excited to get to know one another.  They take time to listen to their spouse and try hard to meet their needs.  However, as time moves forward, couples develop certain communication roadblocks that keep them from strengthening their marriage.  Here are a few roadblocks to watch out for.

The Distraction Age

Technology has developed immensely in the last fifteen years.  People are now able to call, text, or even video chat with their friends and family though cell phones and the internet.  At the same time, people are also able to watch television and movies almost anywhere they are through a portable media player, a car video system, or in their own homes.  These distractions have caused couples to forget to communicate properly.  Instead of coming home and sitting around the table together, plates are brought to the couch, and couples watch television while eating.  This is just one of the many ways technology has become a roadblock to marital communication.

It can be very difficult to carry on a serious conversation with a sporting event playing on the television.  Also, it is nearly impossible to carry on any sort of conversation while playing video games or surfing the internet.  The solution to this problem is simple, but it requires an immense amount of discipline.  Turn of whatever media device is running in the house, and sit down to have a serious conversation.  This may seem weird at first, especially with all of the silence in the house.  Try talking about what each person did that day, or what the favorite part of each person’s day was.  This will seem awkward and strange at first, but after a few days the doors of communication will start to open.

Taking Communication for Granted

Another roadblock to successful marital communication has to do with each individual.  As time goes by in a marriage, the number of responsibilities each person must take on increase.  As the amount of responsibility increases, the amount of stress increases and the amount of free time decreases.  This means that couples will have less time to spend with each other.  As free time becomes scarce it is easy for each individual to take their spouse for granted.  This is generally because each person feels like they are contributing more than their share.  These types of views can be fatal to a marriage as each person will harbor feelings of resentment for not being appreciated.

The best thing to do in these situations is to look for opportunities to do little things to show appreciation to the other person.  Notes can be a great way to let a spouse know that they are appreciated and loved.  Another way to show appreciation is to take a second to verbally thank the other person for all that they do.  This will require selflessness.  Each person should try and forget about what they think they deserve, and concentrate on what the other person truly does deserve.  This will keep communication lines open for when free time is finally available.  Then couples will be able to truly communicate.

Laziness in Marriage

After a few years or even a few months of marriage, it can be easy for each person in a marriage to fall back into their comfort zones.  In a marriage, each person brings a unique background to a relationship and will naturally fall back into bad habits that can seem disrespectful to the other person.  The natural tendency in this situation is to not communicate, but this could bring disastrous results.  It is important for couples to help each other recognize these bad habits and to openly communicate about how they make them feel.  The offending party must keep an open mind and truly try and understand where the other is coming from, while the non-offending party must use tact and respect when talking about the sensitive issue.

Communication is essential to a successful marriage.  Make sure to work hard to recognize roadblocks in a marriage, and seek advice on how to remedy them.

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