Letter of Advice

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Letter of Advice

Sabrina Whitmer

COM 200 Interpersonal Communication

Doctor Lisa Rollins

May 21, 2013

Letter of Advice

Dear James and Alison,
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. I am happy and honored that you have asked me for my advice on how to communicate well within a marriage. In this letter of advisement I will focus on what I believe to be the top five issues. The issues are as follows; self-disclosure in relationships, barriers to effective interpersonal interactions, strategies for active, critical, and empathic listening, , emotional intelligence and strategies for managing interpersonal conflicts. First and foremost to have a happy marriage there has to be a good foundation. You will need love, friendship and trust. As long as you have these you can improve upon and learn all the rest from yours and other’s experiences.

Self-disclosure is the first step after you meet, and is how you determine whether or not you want the relationship to go any further and if so where. Self-disclosure is a process which each person has control over and the power for it to go slow or fast. Sometimes it can be scary to reveal your “self” to another person. Self-disclosure or how much of your inner person you decide to share with another is a risky, yet necessary, part of building and maintaining healthy a marriage. We always wonder how much of us to disclose and when the time is right to share our deeper selves with others. Maintaining a balanced approach to relationships can be the most effective way to assure a healthy and happy marriage (Timchak, n.d.). Only by trial and error do we find the balance between how much of ourselves and how little of ourselves to disclose (Timchak, n.d). Married couples have expectations as individuals and as couples, and these are learned through self-disclosure. This is where couples find the balance they look for. Self-disclosure in marriage is a wonderful journey for both of you to always be learning exciting things about each other. Identifying Barriers

Identifying the barriers to effective interpersonal interactions is a necessary skill to learn in the beginning of a marriage, and can alleviate many miscommunications later down the road. It is not good for you and your partner to make assumptions about each other. Sometimes we can be insensitive or lack empathy when it comes to our partners feelings. Couples should avoid labeling and judging one another. Silence is not golden in a marriage, or in other words the silent treatment. Last but not least do not placate or play games (ulterior motives) with each other as this can be very negative when it comes to communicating. In order to cope with fears we often make assumptions about what is going on with our spouse. Even if sometimes our assumptions are correct, communication can break down further when they are not. It is important to test the accuracy of our assumptions, so there should be proof or an admission. Insensitivity, or lack of empathy, is the failure to accurately perceive the feelings of others. Insensitivity is often caused by being preoccupied, Lack of awareness, poor listening skills, and the need to draw attention to one’s self (Firstein, 2010). According to Firstein (2010) "Labeling and judging are methods for creating mental order and gaining control over emotions. Labeling can be disabling, as is the case when communication is marked by putdowns and name calling." (para. 6) Refusing to talk with your partner is frequently a means of controlling them or gaining power in a relationship. Placating your partner refers to a variety of strategies to calm them or to keep from "rocking the boat." Playing games is a dysfunctional way of communicating, and is a negative example of interacting that can develop between couples. Most of the time, the couple is unaware that they are...
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