Reader’s Question: Communication in Marriage

Question: I read MySahana’s article on the cycle of bad communication in a marriage and I just had to write in. It was like you were writing about my husband and me. We get into this pattern of disagreeing, being mean to each other, getting defensive and then one of us (usually him) storms off and we don’t talk for a day or so. How do we get out of this pattern?

Recognizing that you get into this pattern is the best first step any couple can take. The second step would be to identify what sets it off.. For some couples, it is specific communication topics such as money, sex, children or in-laws.

For other couples, it can be anything that they disagree on, from what movie to watch to how to manage finances. If it is a specific topic, spend some time talking about why these topics upset you. Do not try to find a solution, but only try to listen and learn about your partner and how they feel. Once you both have a good understanding of each other, try to talk about the offending topic again, still avoiding a solution, but solely to understand each of your points of view. Once that is understood, you can move on to compromising and finding a solution. Make sure the conversation moves slowly and take a break for at least 20 minutes if you find yourself falling back into the pattern. It is all about retraining yourselves on how to communicate. A marriage therapist can help referee these conversations as you learn a new way of communicating. If this happens with all types of topics, it is advisable to seek the counsel of a marriage counselor as there may be bigger issues that are manifesting themselves as communication problems.

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