We’ve all heard it so much that it seems cliché; however, communication is truly a vital component in any healthy relationship. In fact, at the start of most relationships, couples can’t seem to get enough of talking to each other, wanting to learn more about each other, and sharing opinions, desires, stories, goals, hopes, fears, etc.
So, what happens that alters of the lines of communication, sometimes slowing them to a deafening, screeching halt?
What Causes Lack of Communication?
After the initial influx of new information, a couple may inevitably experience a slight downturn in communication. However, communication issues have a way of snowballing and extended periods of silence could be the precursor of destruction.
- Ego – The key to communication is the multi-sided give and take where each person has a chance to share their thoughts. If a spouse is merely concerned with expressing him/herself and reciting the day’s events without offering an opportunity for their spouse to interject, relate, or provide feedback, in essence that person is speaking at you rather than communicating and engaging is discussion with you. This behavior, which is sometimes caused by being purely oblivious, builds up a wall which promotes silence and ultimately disinterest.
- Disinterest – Mutual interest is crucial to all lines of communication and is the seed which bears the fruit of conversation. This can occur because you are interested in the topic/subject of conversation or because you care about the person and therefore have a vested interest in what they have to say. If a spouse demonstrates a lack of interest in a subject or one’s opinion, this presents a major obstacle. This behavior suggests that they put their personal value well above yours, which will ultimately lead to you seeking out an individual that is interested in what you have to say.
- Jealous – Relationships should be based on trust, exhibiting the ability to “let go” at times without becoming overbearing on your spouse. With this foundation of trust, communication shouldn’t turn into a hostile interrogation-like state in which a spouse is fearful of open expression because of potential negative backlash and/or anger. When jealousy lingers in a relationship, though, this is exactly what happens.
- Secrets – Secrets have a way of eating at an individual, in large part due to the associated consequences stemming from revealing the truth/reality. Rather than expressing their inner turmoil and being open, a person may avoid the subject all together and subsequently begin to slowly shut down extended communication as a fear/self-defense mechanism.
- Being a Male – Unlike women, most men do not vent and express issues, problems, fear with their friends. As a result, this can allow small problems to grow because they aren’t expressed, and a man’s quiet nature could cause their female counterpart to also turn inward rather than discussing/resolving issues and concerns. It’s important for males to break out of their shell as it pertains to communication with their spouse, or else human nature could get the best of them.
How to Work on Communication with Your Partner
A good way to work on communication with your spouse is to take a step back and look at how you are acting. When you talk, do you run off a monologue or do you provide space for interaction? Conversely when your spouse initiates conversation, do you make an effort to express willing interest, in both your body language and also by expressing opinion and support? Turn communication back into a two-way street, by creating a positive and open environment where dialogue can thrive and secrets are scarce.
The lines of communication can be rebuilt and reinforced as long as both individuals are willing to find the cause of damage and work to fix the issues. However, if only one side is a willing participant and the other remains silent and/or secretive, hiring a private investigator may be the best tool in revealing the truth that communication cannot uncover.