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Communication Problems in Marriage

Lots of folks seem convinced the biggest cause of unhappy marriages is poor communication.

They may be right, except that they try to solve the problem by saying more or demanding their mate answer their accusations.

Say you start off with the wrong assumption. For example, you mistake grumpiness for criticism because, like so many of us, you're expecting someone who promised to love you for the rest of your life to constantly check you for imperfections. Even before you utter a word, your face or the way you set your shoulders conveys your hurt or your anger.

Talk now, and you dig your hole deeper. Instead, assume love. Don't pretend love, ignore your pain, and paste a phony smile on your face. Really try out the assumption that your spouse still adores you, and ask what circumstances could lead to this sort of grumpiness toward the person he or she adores. Nine times out of ten, you will remember or spot the cause as soon as you look: a cold, a worry about work, an unwanted and urgent chore, a lack of sleep, a dog puddle three steps ahead. You didn't see it before because that's the way the human brain works; when you're upset, it looks only for more threats to you. But you can change this just by switching assumptions.

Now, if you care to communicate, you might want to use your husband's or wife's main love language. Communicate with an arm around the shoulder, with an offer of assistance, or with a reminder of how much you admire and love this person you married.

If this is that one time out of ten when you cannot spot an obvious reason for the distressing behavior, the softening of your eyes and lowering of your shoulders will communicate a lot before you gently ask what's up. And even if you were right about the criticism, you may find it's gone in a flash of compassion and love. And you two can talk about something more interesting.

Comments

Hi, Patty.
Good point!
Did you see this by the other Patty, PattyK? While it doesn't focus on assuming love, it is all about finding ways to meet one's own needs rather than expecting your spouse to meet your needs, then blaming him/her when it doesn't work out.

http://www.pattyk.com/getting-lost-examining-dependency-and-finding-my-way-home/

Excellent post! Go read this, folks. Patty K is brilliant.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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