COM 200 Interpersonal Communication
Letter of Advice
Dear Chris and Jennifer,
Thank you very much for asking for my advice on your personal relationship as you enter the realm of matrimony. It is a great complement that you want me to share what I have learned through study and through my own life experiences with you. My advice to you for a successful relationship is to always maintain effective interpersonal communication. One of the most important elements of any relationship is the quality of communications, which requires a commitment to actual listening, a willingness to participate in self-disclosure which promotes intimacy and not just talking to be talking. Effective interpersonal communications requires a knowledge of the principles and misconceptions in communication, understanding the barriers to communications, recognizing how words create and affect our own and others attitudes, behaviors and perceptions, recognizing how perceptions, emotions and nonverbal cues affect relationships and realizing that gender and culture impact interpersonal communications.
In any relationship, it is very important to understand the basic principles and misconceptions that take place in communications. This is essential to be sure that we are communicating and not just talking. In an online book "Making Connections: Understanding Relationships", Kathy Sole explains the role of many terms related to effective communication. In communication there is always a sender, a receiver and the message itself. She further emphasizes that listening is a very important part of communicating (2011). In fact, listening is the largest part of any communication. Listening can be verbal and/or reading. Listening and providing feedback are the ways we can determine that we understand what is actually being sent. While it is very easy to just talk, it is not as easy to actually communicate in a way in which we can discover things about the person with whom we are in a relationship. Communication is a two way street in which each person needs to participate in open and honest self-disclosure. When you first started this relationship with each other, I am sure you were cautious of what you shared. You used every effort to present only positive information about yourselves. In my studies, I have often noted that researchers believe that one reason new relationships are so pleasant and friendly is that new couples place more emphasis on their similarities and tend to ignore their differences. I am sure that you did the same thing. First your interpersonal relationship was the two of you talking, maybe, on the phone or through e-mail, as friends, obtaining knowledge and a basic perception of each other; then you started dating to further that knowledge. Now you have progressed into a couple, a lovely couple I might add, with marriage on your mind. If you have not already, you will go through some ups and downs and many disappointments. Marriage is a social union but also a legal contract between two people that creates kinship. Just remember you are in this relationship together and it takes both parties to make it be the wonderfully emotional and intimate relationship that it can be. Hopefully, you are marrying your best friend.
In an article from the Houston Chronicle, Nara Schoenberg discusses the research of Terri Orbuch, a research scientist at the Institute of Social Research at the University of Michigan. Ms. Orbuch describes self-disclosure as "sharing your private feelings, fears, doubts and perceptions with your partner." (2011). Ms. Orbuch further stated that it takes as little as ten minutes everyday to participate in actual self-disclosure in which you ask each other about things like a favorite book, a best friend or a dream vacation. Her research found that partners who used her 10-minute rule either by phone, e-mail or in person were happier in their relationships. She feels "every single day is a good...