Letter of Advice to Mr. Green and Ms. Fields
Dear Jerry and Darice,
I hope this letter finds you and your fiancé blessed. I would like to congratulate the both on your recent engagement. The bible says in Proverbs 18:22 “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” My prayer is that your marriage will be filled with love, happiness and favor. I am honored that I was selected to offer advice on how to have effective communication in your relationship based on the class that I am taking. I have selected five areas that I believe will assist in enhancing your interpersonal communication skills to avoid miscommunication throughout your marriage. One of the first ways to enhance your interpersonal communication skills is to identify the barriers to effective interpersonal communication. The foundation of developing relationships can sometimes be easy but problems can arise along the way. There are three common communication problems in relationships that can stem from one or both parties. Those areas are silence or refusing to communicate, placating, and playing games (Sole, 2011). These problems can damage a relationship if they are not identified and dealt with accordingly. There is an old saying that “Silence is golden.” In relationships silence is not golden. One marriage therapist reports that people most commonly resort to silence when they are angry and/or hurt, when they are unable to communicate their feelings, or when they want to punish their partner (Slupesky, 2010). When you decide to take the “silent pill” as I call it, you create tension, your spouse begins to make assumptions, and issue will takes longer to resolve. This behavior can also destroy your spouse’s confidence in discussing further problems in fear of the pattern repeating.
Refusing to talk with someone is frequently a means of controlling the other person or exerting power in a relationship. If it is prolonged, it can even be a form of psychological abuse (Chang, 1996). If this happens, discovering a method to dissolve the silence will be imperative to a healthy marriage. In order to have effective communication you must confront one another in a calm and respectful way, to find out who did what that hurt the other person. This creates gradual growth and mutual learning. An example of how you can approach silence would be, "Jerry you seem to be bothered, can we talk about it?" In a pleasant voice. If Jerry is still upset then Darice you can say something like,” I would like to discuss what happened earlier today when you are ready.” This puts the ball in his court to break the silence. Once the silence is broken you should discuss how to handle future disagreements to prevent the either of you from taking another silent pill. Placating is a barrier to effective communication because the act of giving in, when you do not agree with the other person, is the direct opposite of communicating with self confidence. Placating tends to appease rather than serve to provide open and honest communication between two people. Placating language might include telling the other person that they are right, and apologizing for disagreeing, even if you do disagree. This is not something that you want to practice because this is a form of dishonesty that could destroy your marriage over time. Honesty is the best policy and should be practiced at all times. A game is a dysfunctional way of communicating. It is a negative pattern of interacting that can develop between people. In most cases, the participants of the game are unaware that they are "playing"; they have simply developed a pattern of interacting that is not constructive or useful in growing the relationship (Sole, 2011). To better explain this, let me give you an example: Darice, you and Jerry are going out for the evening. You are curling your hair and Jerry keeps disturbing you with questions and statements because he wants you to hurry up....
References: K. Sole (2011) Making Connections: Understanding Interpersonal Communication
Harrison (1993) Love Languages of Love
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