Communication Breakdown!

We know what a communication breakdown is, but why does it happen? There are many reasons. Here are some common ones:

  • Poor listening skills. Talking is only part of communication. We must learn to listen well.
  • Filtering.  When we only hear what we want to hear, or we alter what someone says, we’re filtering.
  • Messages can be perceived differently by different people. Culture, age, religion, gender, education, temperament, etc., can all impact how we perceive things.
  • Language barriers.  Just because two people speak English does not mean their words necessarily mean the same thing. Of course, two entirely different languages cause problems, too.
  • Emotions. Communication can become difficult when emotions are in the driver’s seat. Self-soothing is an essential part of good communication.  (Angry or upset people generally don’t communicate well).
  • Environment.  It’s harder to converse in a noisy place, or, if people are too far apart.
  • Timing. Communication in a hurry, or during distractions can fall apart.  Good communication requires the proper time and focus.

In future posts, I’ll go into more detail about addressing some of these communication issues.

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Online, Video Sessions

I am excited to announce that I am now making online, video sessions available to my clients!  If you are too busy to drive to my office, have trouble finding childcare or live in an isolated area, it is now easier than ever to meet with me.  All you need is a good internet connection and a computer with a webcam.  To sign up for this service, find me here and create an account.

This type of therapy has been shown to be as effective as face-to-face therapy.  Don’t let your busy life prevent you from getting the help you need!

Marriage and the Virtuous Friendship

Aristotle pointed out that the strongest type of friendship is a “virtuous” friendship.  In a virtuous friendship, two people love each other, but they also love something that transcends both of them.  In essence, the friendship becomes built upon more than a mutual caring for each other.  It is this type of friendship that undergirds the strongest marriages.

If two spouses only fall in love with each other, the marriage can quickly devolve into a utilitarian type of relationship. The focus becomes, “What’s in this for me, and how can my spouse deliver it?” In a virtuous relationship, the focus is, “How can we both work together to achieve the higher good we both believe in?” In such a marriage, both partners become accountable to that higher good, not only to each other.

It is the virtuous friendship that becomes the foundation of a strong, lasting marriage. The utilitarian relationship may only last as long as both partners feel they are getting their respective needs met by one another.  When a couple shares a higher purpose, however, they are more likely to tolerate annoyances and disappointments in the relationship for the sake of their mutual cause.  There is also a better chance that their accountability to the higher purpose will prompt them to strive for unity and collaboration in the relationship. Consequently, levels of trust and intimacy tend to increase.

The marital friendship is ultimately what holds the relationship together. Therefore, when considering a marriage partner, it is helpful to seek out a person that shares a common passion or cause. The resulting friendship is more likely to have the virtuous quality that produces a strong and lasting marriage.

Honesty

Trust is essential to a healthy relationship. Dishonesty and deception at any level undermines that fragile trust. The expression, “Honesty is the best policy” speaks volumes. Children must learn the value of honesty at home through modeling in order to have healthy relationships as adults. Few things destroy a marriage more than deception and betrayal.

Sometimes, the truth hurts. It is hard to share. Yet, the fallout created by secrets and lies is harder still. Speak the truth in love. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with others in the small things as well as in the big things. Be courageous. Your relationships will thank you in the long run.

Winners and Losers

Most couples have disagreements. It’s not unusual to get into an argument. The key is knowing how to “fight fair.” Is your goal to win the argument, or to strengthen your relationship?

If you win, what exactly have you accomplished? You have made your loved one a loser. Is being a loser the gift you wish to give your loved one? Friends lift each other up and desire the best for each other.