Marriage and Communication

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           Marriage is a tradition that many cultures and religions practice.  Marriage symbolizes the unity of two individuals and is usually acknowledged by a ritual, such as a wedding.  Some individuals believe marriage is a life-long commitment and have followed the tradition of taking their vows before God. Family is an important aspect of a marriage and the dynamics of a family can vary, such as a blended family.  According to Henslin, "the United States has 60,000,000 married couples, and only about 1 million of them obtain divorces in a year (2009, p. 350)." 

            According to the 2009 edition of the World Almanac, there were an "estimated 2,205,000 marriages performed in 2007, compared to 2,193,000 in 2006."   Being married for several years now it is very clear that communication, friendship, and support help maintain a successful marriage.  According to Susan Boon, a social psychologist, research has proven that "little things matter," such as saying "I love you" or giving one another compliments.  The small gestures will help to keep a marriage alive. 

            Today, life can be very busy and it can be easy to get caught up in life's demands, so it is important to express how someone is appreciated and loved.  According to Susan Boon's research, "A long-lasting, happy marriage is about knowing your partner, being supportive, and being nice (Davis, 2006, p. 1)."  Furthermore, Boon's research suggests that keeping things positive (attitude, thoughts, words, etc.) helps to keep a marriage functioning well (Davis, 2006, p. 1).  Boon explains, it is difficult to remain positive and nice "when the heat is on," "when you're really angry," or when something has happened repeatedly (Davis, 2006, p. 1).  Humor is a good way to help diffuse a heated situation or disagreement (Davis, 2006, p. 2). 

            According to Dr. Kosch, "most marital conflicts don't ever get resolved (Davis, 2006, p. 2)," and "couples that have good marriages retain their mutual respect and understanding of each other- even during discussions of their differences- will stay together much longer (Davis, 2006, p. 2)."    WebMD offers the following advice to help resolve conflict: pick a good time for both to talk, talk in a nonthreatening voice (be nice), remain calm, take a break, and consider the others point of view (Davis, 2006, p. 3).

            I have been with my husband since November 2004 and we were married on July 7, 2007.  It has been difficult to learn how to communicate to each other when we disagree, but we have had great role models around us to help guide us.  I believe the number one reason our marriage is successful is due to our faith in God and our commitment to our vows, but the human side is balanced by communication, support, laughter, compromising, agree to disagree, and commitment to get through the good and the bad times.  In my opinion, all relationships need to have good communication and mutual respect of one another in order to continue to grow. 

 

References:

Davis, J. (2006). Want a happy marriage? be nice, don't nitpick. (pp. 1-3). United States: WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/happy-marriage-no-nitpicking

 

Henslin, J. (2009). Essentials of sociology: a down-to-earth approach. (8 ed.).               Boston,Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.

 

"Marriage." Encyclopedia. World News Digest. Facts On File News Services, n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2012. <http://www.2facts.com/article/xma051800a>.

"Vital Statistics: Recent Trends in Vital Statistics, 2009 Edition." The World Almanac and Book of Facts. World News Digest. Facts On File News Services, 2009. Web. 8      Mar. 2012. <http://www.2facts.com/article/wvit90102_09>.

 

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5 Comments

Hello Emily,

First and foremost I would like to commend you on your blog post. I found it very enlightening due to the fact I myself am in an a mature and serious relationship. I couldn't agree more that communication and the so called "little things matter" are important in marriage. In the model of communication, it is imperative that the encoded message be decoded by the receiver in a channel where both share mutual respect for one another. A place where noise will not interfere with your channel. "Communication is, of course, not a one-way process" (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012). That even playing field is crucial in building a trust worth and life long relationship. After all, we are social animals right?

I'm sure you are familiar with the proximity effect, but it is the tendency for physical and psychological nearness to increase interpersonal liking (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012). Love and relationships can be very difficult to manage especially when you are busy with work or other obligations. While proximity can't always be there, technology in this day and age has made relationships virtual. Small things can be achieved with text messages like compliments or using Skype.

References
Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2012). Applied Social Psychology (2 ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Hey Emily,
When dealing with the art of Communication it is important to recognize we are all only human and everyone has pressures. This is why it is important to use the two tools, understanding and listening. To hear what other people are really saying, you need to listen to what they are not saying. No matter how hard people may appear on the surface, most everyone is tender inside and has a desperate need to be understood (Covey, 2008).
I see you bring up a good point, when you remarked about the hectic, fast pace life that we all live today (Carter 2013). It seems like the 24 hour day has shrunk to 12 hours. In a marriage, it is important to keep the concept giving and receiving. In order to be understood we need to communicate perhaps feedback once in awhile. This is known as getting in touch with feelings or what's on your mind. I liked that you mention mutual respect bridges communication (Carter 2013). We need that balance of faith in God, and commitment.
Reference:
Covery, Sean. (2008). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. New York, NY: Simon &
Schuster. p.171

I really enjoyed reading your blog, Emily! I have only been married for a year and a half now, but I have already experience all of the things you mentioned. A great point you made was that relationships continue to grow over time when both partners respect each other, and are willing to learn from each other. Since getting married and moving in together, I feel that I have actually grown as a person, and that the relationship between my husband and I has also grown.

Along these same lines, when looking at what things make a relationship work, researchers Acevedo & Aron (2009) found that "feeling your partner is there for you" is a key aspect of strong relationships. They also noted that it important for each partner to be happy and secure as an individual, as this can reduce the amount of conflict in the relationship (Acevedo & Aron, 2009).

Reference:
Acevedo, B. P., & Aron, A. Does a Long-Term Relationship Kill Romantic Love? Stony Brook University; Review of General Psychology, 13,(1).

Emily,

Great post on marriage and advice for creating a long lasting union between a couple. My wife and I recently celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary and that was quite a moment for us. We married in 2004 after only knowing each other for about 2 months. She was 22 and I was 24 so needless to say, we were young and immature. To add fuel to the fire, I had never lived with a girlfriend before, as I was always very guarded when it came to my personal space. For the first 8 months of our marriage, we were separated by more than 100 miles (my wife was in college and I was active duty in the Marine Corps) so we only shared each other’s company on the weekends. Upon my discharge, I moved in with my wife and it was quite an experience. We became familiar with one another as our marriage grew and managed to survive a couple of rough patches. Because we were both young and immature, we had no idea how to communicate with each other. Our lack of communication nearly became the demise of our relationship, but somehow we managed to figure it out and both of us couldn’t be happier. In fact, every once in a while, she will look at me or me at her and say “I’m so glad we worked this out and are still together.” Now my wife is my best friend and we are practically attached at the hip. But had we not learned to communicate effectively, I can’t say for certain that we would still be together. Halford, Markman, Kline, and Stanley (as cited in Pennsylvania State University, 2013) suggest young couples entering marriage should enroll in cognitive behavioral classes with their partners as they state, the success of a marriage is dependent upon how well couples learn how to communicate and handle negative emotions.

References

Pennsylvania State University. (2013). Lesson 14: Part 1: Marriage and marital interventions. [Online lecture]. Retrieved from http://cms.psu.edu.

I have no personal experience with marriage but I have been able to observe it's process as my family member get paired up and in my own home. Communication is most definitely key in a marriage. There's no chapter in our book that specifically goes over marriage but a marriage is like a mini team so I am using the team communication chapter to demonstrate the importance of effective communication in a marriage. The social exchange theory operates under the assumption that each party receives something from the relationship whether it be external or internal, like love. In the theory, both actors are considered to be interdependent, or dependent on one another. And the relationship works well if it is mutual and reciprocal (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012, p.126). As the post mentions, small gestures and positivity are reciprocal elements that help to make a marriage a lasting team. Communication, of rewards, emotions, etc. creates a two lane highway for information to pass from one person to the other.

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A, & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

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