December 9, 2009
Dear Whitney and Eric:
First of all, let me say congratulations on your recent engagement! This is such an exciting time in a couple’s life and I know you must have so many emotions running through your head, sheer happiness, fear, stress, uncertainty and hope come to mind. Please just realize that all of these emotions are completely normal. When I think back to my engagement I know I had all of those thoughts running through my head. You get to plan the biggest day of your lives up to this point and the excitement and anticipation is palpable. Best of luck to you on the wedding planning. I’m so happy for you both. You had both expressed some interest in hearing about the interpersonal communications class that I am taking, and I wanted to give you some insight into some of the great things I have learned throughout the class. I will break the information into five categories for ease of understanding. The biggest thing I want you to gain from this experience is the knowledge that communication can make or break your marriage, and to have a long, successful marriage, you must keep the lines of communication between each other open. I hope my insight below can give you guidance as you embark on this amazing journey to a happy life together. Self Concept: How it is Developed and Maintained:
“Self concept is a complex mix of how we see ourselves, what others have told us about ourselves, and what society says we should be” (Sole, K. 2011, 2.1). This can include how you see yourself physically: hair color, eye color, height weight, etc, or it could include how you see yourself in terms of your social personality: whether you are introverted or extroverted, how you interact or meet new people. Your self concept is learned through your communication with other people and how you see yourself, but the good news is, you have the ability to change it if you do not like the self concept you have. Throughout your life, you will continue to have numerous situations in which you will interact or communicate with others. Those people’s reaction to your communication or behavior can continue to shape and alter how you see yourself. In a marriage, it is particularly important to pay attention to how you see yourself and how you see each other. You need to be constantly aware of how your actions or behaviors and your words can impact how your spouse perceives themselves. You have the ability to build them up or tear them down, and the most important thing you can do is make sure that you are always trying to impact the other’s self concept in a positive manner and reinforce the good in each other. Recognize How Words Have the Power to Create & Affect Attitudes, Behavior and Perception
From a young age I was taught to choose my words wisely. As I have gotten older, this has become even more critical. Words can mean different things to different people and it is very important when entering into your marriage that you understand that what you mean when you say one thing, may be perceived by your spouse in a completely different manner. This is because words have connotations, which is what the word suggests or implies and what gives the word an emotional impact (Sole, K. 2011. 4.1). I believe this is why you must carefully chose the words you speak to one another. Your words can reflect your attitude and it can have a positive or negative impact on the person with whom you are communicating.
I would highly suggest making a conscious effort to expand your vocabulary at every possible opportunity. It gives you the ability to choose your words carefully and allows you to, hopefully, avoid unnecessary conflicts over miscommunication because of a particular word you chose. I am going to give you an example that I hope helps make my point even more clear. One night, my wife and I were finishing dinner. I had made the whole...