November 17, 2012
November 17, 2012
Dear Rob and Jessica,
Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! I understand you would like some advice regarding communication skills. I would be happy to share with you what I learned in my communication class. It is a very good sign that you realize the importance of communication. Poor communication is hazardous to a relationship. On the other hand, good communication will make for a long, happy, successful marriage. “The most pivotal [skill] in marriage is communication. For whatever else marriage is, it is certainly a long conversation,” (Fischer, K., Hart, T. 1995). Marriage is sharing our lives with someone else. You will share a home, children, family, and many other facets of your life. In order to do that you must be able to talk about your feelings and your thoughts about what you expect out of each other and out of life. I hope to provide you with the skills you will need to communicate effectively with each other. Effective communication involves more that most people realize. We will examine the nature of communication, the purpose of communication, communication style, self-concept and its effect on communication, the elements of communication, and the power of listening. Also, I will provide you with some guidelines for communicating, advice regarding conflict, and suggestions for handling anger. I hope that by the end of this letter you will have learned something new about communication and how it is the absolute cornerstone of a successful marriage. I hope to provide you with the information you need to begin your journey to a long, successful marriage.
Let’s begin with the nature of communication. Communication comes natural to us when we are born. Our first cry is our first communication. As we grow we learn more ways to communicate besides crying. Learning words, how to use the words, facial expressions, and gestures is a natural ability. (Sole, K. 2011). Children who are just learning to talk often get frustrated when they are not being understood. They become angry and will cry and throw tantrums all because they are not being heard. This is an issue that will follow us throughout our life. We learn the words and how to use them but we must also learn how to get our thoughts and feelings heard. There will be times as adults when somebody will not understand what we are trying to convey to them. Just as the child who is throwing a tantrum, we, as adults, feel that same frustration, we just express it differently. In addition to meeting our personal needs, we also use language to imagine the things we want and to reflect and remember past events, and to reflect upon who we are. (Sole, K. 2011).
We must also consider, what is the purpose of communicating? The answer is fairly simple: we communicate in order to meet our personal needs. (Sole, K. 2011). Psychologist, Abraham Maslow, created a hierarchy of needs. This includes a list of five separate needs that all people seek to attain. The first are physiological needs, this is the need for food, water, shelter, and sleep. (Sole, K. 2011). Secondly, we have a need for safety. We all need security, to be free from the threat of physical and emotional harm, and protection from violence. (Sole, K. 2011). Next are our social needs. Affection, friendship, appreciation, a sense of belonging, and giving and receiving love are needs we seek to meet on a daily basis. (Sole, K. 2011). Along with our social needs comes number four on the list, esteem needs. We have a need for self-respect and to have the respect of others. (Sole, K. 2011). Finally, if we are lucky, we will reach the final step of self-actualization. Self-actualization occurs when we feel we have reached our full potential in all aspects of our life. It is a general sense of well being and...