Document Sample
COMMUNICATION IN MARRIAGE _Repaired_ Powered By Docstoc


                 By Showunmi Dotun

Conflicts occur in most human organizations, and marriage that the rate
at which marriages hit the rock is alarming. The effect of this
phenomenon on homes and the society at large is devastating. Conflicts
could emanate from various factors, but it has been observed that
communication breakdown or entire lack of it is a major cause of most
conflicts. Against this background, there is a need to be aware of the
role that communication could play in enhancing marital harmony.
Communication in marriage is emotional, spiritual and physical in
nature. Effective communication is one of the tools for enhancing
marital harmony.
Communication is at the heart of any relationship be it familial,
business, romantic or friendly. Communication is the activity of
conveying meaningful information; it requires a sender, a message, and
an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or
aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of
communication; thus communication can occur across vast distance in
time and space. Communication requires that the parties share an area
of communicative commonality. Conflicts occur in most organizations,
and the home is not an exception. It is observed that the rate at which
conflicts occur is alarming. Generally speaking, conflicts could emanate
from various factors, but it has been observed that communication
breakdown or entire lack of it is a major cause of most conflicts.
Communication determines our relationship in life. Counselors and
other social workers should not be left out in acquiring necessary
communication skills. I believe that it is the information provided that
the counselor uses in bringing solution to the client. Hence, pragmatism
should be embraced in developing communication skills

                      What is Communication?

Communication is the process of exchanging information, ideas,
thought, feelings and emotions, through speech, signals, writing or
behavior. In other words, it is a means by which people and things are
linked together in any situation to achieve a purpose. In communication
process, a sender (encoder) encodes a message and then using a
medium (channel) sends it to the receiver (decoder) who decodes the
message and then using a send back appropriate feedback (reply) using
a medium.

                   Types of Communication:

Most animals communicate with each other in some way. Dogs bark at
those they perceive as a threat in order to communicate their hostility
and in some cases the threat that they will attack if provoked; bees have
a pouch in which they carry the scent of their hive so as to identify
themselves as members of the community. However, it is only in human
that communication is broken down into: Verbal and non-Verbal, and
formal and informal. People communicate with each other in a number
of ways that depend upon the message, its context in which it is being
sent. Choice of communication channel and style of communication of
information, messages, opinions, speech and thoughts can be done via
different forms of modern communication media such as telephone, e-
mail, and mobile devices. Some of the basic ways of communication are
by speaking, singing, sign language, body language, touch and eye
contact. These basic ways of communication are used to transfer
information from one entity to other. There are four basic types of
communication and each of them shall be discussed.

1   Verbal Communication:

Verbal communication refers to the form of communication in which
message is transmitted verbally; communication is done by word of
mouth and a piece of writing. Objective of every communication is to
have people understand what we are trying to convey. In verbal
communication, the message must be kept short and simple. The
communicator must not assume that the other person understands
what he is passing across. He must put himself on the other side of the
table and think from the receiver’s point of view. Would he understand
the message? How it would sound on the other side of the table? As
earlier said verbal communication includes sounds, words, language and
speaking. Language is said to have originated from sounds and gestures
(Benjamin, 1987). There are many languages spoken in the world. The
bases of information are- genders, class, profession, geographical area,
age group and other social elements. Speaking is an effective way of
communication (Bailey, 2009). Verbal communication is further divided
into oral and written communication.

(a) Oral Communication: This is the ability to explain and present your
   ideas in clear languages to diverse audiences. This includes the ability
   to tailor your delivery to a given audience, using appropriate styles
   and approaches, and an understanding of the importance of non-
   verbal cues in oral communication. Oral communication requires the
   background skills of presenting audience awareness, critical listening
   and body language. In oral communication, communication is
   influenced by pitch, volume, speed and charity of speaking. The oral
   communication has the following as advantages, namely, it brings
   quick feedback. In a face to face conversation, by reading facial
    expression and body language one can guess whether he/she should
    trust what’s being said or not.

(b) Written Communication: Written communication is writing the
    words which you want to communicate. A written message may be
    printed or hand written. In written, communication message can be
    transmitted via e-mail, letter, report, memo etc.

Message in written communication is influenced by the vocabulary and
grammar used, writing style, precision and clarity of the language used.
The written communication can be edited and amended many times
before it is communicated to the second party to whom the
communication is intended. Good written is essential for business
purpose. It is considered core among business skill. Written
communication provides record for every message sent and can be
saved for later study. A written message enables receivers to fully
understand it and send appropriate feedback.

2      Non-verbal Communication: Non-verbal communication is the
sending or receiving of wordless message. It involves physical ways of
communication, like, tone of the voice, touch, smell, and body motion.
Creative and aesthetic non-verbal communication includes singing,
music, dancing and sculpturing. Symbols and sign language are also
included in non-verbal communication. Body language is a non-verbal
communication. Body posture and physical contact convey a lot of
communicating verbally to someone. Folded arms and crossed legs are
some of the signals conveyed by a body posture. Physical contacts like
shaking hands, pushing, patting, and touching express the feeling of
intimacy. Facial expressions, gestures and eye contact are all different
ways of communication. Reading facial expressions can help in knowing
a person better. Non-verbal communication requires background skills
such as audience awareness, personal presentation and body language.
Most communication is non-verbal, our body language, expression on
our face, and tones of voice give others more information that what is
said. Borg (2008) attests that human communication consists of 93%
body language while only 7% of communications consists of words

3 Formal Communication: In formal communication, certain rules,
   conventions, and principles are followed while communicating
   message. Formal communication occurs in formal and official style.
   Usually professional setting, corporate settings, conferences
   undergoes in and foul language is avoided and correct pronunciation
   is required. Authority lines are needed to be followed in formal

4 Informal Communication: Informal communication is done using
   channels that are in contrast with formal communication channels.
   It’s just a casual talk. It is established for societal affiliations of
   members in an organization and face-to-face discussions. It happens
   among friends and family. In informal communication, the use of
   slang words, foul language is not restricted. Usually, it is done orally
    and using gestures. It doesn’t follow authority line. In an
    organisation, it helps in finding out staff grievances as people express
    more when talking informally. It helps in building relationships (Egan,
    1990; Okoli, 2007).

Communication process:

Communication is the only avenue through which both the counselor
and the client (s) as in guidance and counseling convey or share
thoughts, ideas, feelings and opinion before any change in behavior can
be affected. Communication is the only successful way of enlightening
clients in diaspora about all the various services available in time of
educational, vocational and personal -socio each time we interact, there
is a communication process taken place.

These include the following:

1    There is a speaker/sender of the message: The speaker or the
     client, it depends on who is talking at the time the message is being
     encoded and the decoder need a lot of effort to carry themselves
     along so as to achieve the set goals.

2    The message: This is the issue to be discussed. The speaker must
     keep the message simple and sensible. The message in addition to
     the earlier mentioned qualities must be clear, timely, meaningful
     and applicable to the situation. Message can be lead to
    communication breakdown and a waste of time. For effective
    communication, all barriers must be removed.

3   The channel: The commonest channel is the face-to-face
    interpersonal interaction (Adedipe, 1991). All other channels like E-
    mails, report, memo, telephone etc. in addition to face-to-face
    verbal interactions have their advantages or disadvantages
    (Osarenren, 2007). The channel must be devoid of distractions and
    be accessible.

4   The receiver: This is the target of the communication skill without
    when any communication takes place. Without a listener, or
    receiver to all the verbal expressions of the speaker, the process of
    communication is hindered.

5   Feedback: Feedback presupposes that the client will of necessary
    respond to the counselor’s questions or information. Feedback is
    enhanced by the level of understanding of the message put across
    by the sender. For a credible feedback, the message should be
    delivered in carefully worded formats so that complication can be
       Source         Sends                       Areas of
                                                  common                   Interpret

Communication styles:

There are three main communication styles as we try to send or receive
our messages.

These include:

1. Passive Communication: This is a communication style in which one
   puts the rights of others before his/her own personal rights,
   minimizing one’s worth at all costs. In this style, there is less talk but
   action is noted.

2. Assertive Communication: This is a communication style in which
   one stands up for his rights. While still respecting the rights of
    others. Here the communication tries to create mutually satisfying
    solutions. Here we communicate our needs clearly and forthrightly.

3. Aggressive Communication: This is the communication style in
    which you stand up for your rights but you violate the right of
    others. Aggressive communication always involves manipulation.
    We may attempt to make people do what we want by inducing guilt
    or by using Intimidation and control tactics (Holmes and Sachs,

             Techniques for effective communication:

Communication does not just happen. Effective communication requires
effective strategies and techniques. To be effective, strategy must take
the following factors into account simultaneously, namely, our goals and
objective, operational constraints and imperatives i.e. things we must do
and things we cannot do and finally, we must put into account the
pertinent environmental conditions consists of the ideas that your
publics have about you and your objectives. Our public’s perception is
our reality. This section of the paper is going to articulate some of the
techniques for effective communication. If these techniques are
followed, surely success is not far away.
1. Listening: Listening is not the same as hearing. It involves paying
   attention to what is being said and trying to understand the message.
   Most people think they are good listener; but in fact, most people
   are better talkers than listener. Listening is rated as the second most
   effective way to communicate and gain your set objective (Holmes,
   2004). It takes real discipline to be a natural listener. A good listener
   is attentive. He stays focused on what is being said (verbal and non-
   verbal) and listens to the whole message; avoid making assumptions
   or drawing early conclusions. In addition, a good listener is non-
   judgmental. He puts aside personal perceptions or prejudice towards
   the subject matter or the speaker. At interval, a listener asks
   questions to clarify what is being using open and impartial questions.
   He validates what is being said by acknowledging the speaker (s)
   feeling and thoughts, and accept not necessarily agreeing with their
   opinions. He restates and paraphrases to check for understanding
   and demonstrate that he his listening. We must not commit the
   mistake of thinking that communication is only a one way street.
   Apart from speaking your mind out, communication is also about
   listening and that too very carefully. Focus on what they are saying
   and reflect on that conversation later. This will send out a message to
   them that you are grasping their point and they should do the same
   when you are speaking.

   (a) Passive Listening: This is listening with one ear tuned to
      television set or something else and one ear tuned to the
   conversation at hand. Conversion wanders back and forth. Many
   fall into this bad habit as they try to do too much in this busy and
   complex world.

(b) Active Listening: This requires silent involvement. The whole
   body is active, supplying direct eye contact, a warm smile, and
   body action that emits energy and expresses support. Complete
   concentration a clear, open-mind is required. Positive active
   listeners are welcome anywhere while negative passive listeners
   are shunned.

(c) Judgmental Listening: This is a way of listening which the person
   concerned filter in action. These filters in the form of
   prejudgments act as barricades. You can never be exactly sure
   where    the   listener’s   decision-making   process   stands.   A
   judgmental listener is always balancing current facts on the table
   with the experiences in his or her memory bank.

(d) Non Judgmental Listening: This is the ability to listen carefully,
   analyse the presenter’s message, and put it into the best possible
   light before comparing the value objectively with the listeners
   position, is a real art. The objective required in non-judgmental
   listening builds trust between parties.
     Listening is the hardest of the communication skills to master.
     Once mastered, you will be welcome anywhere and accomplish
     more in life than you dreamed possible. Listening gives you
     valuable information about your family and business enterprises.
     The information your loves ones share should not be ignored,
     even when you don’t like it or understand it. Communication
     keeps us connected to family, community and the world at large.
     This helps reduce stress and crises.

2. Expression: Honesty is very important here. Wherever you are
  expressing yourself, talking truthfully and honesty will send out a
  signal that you trust your audience. Speak clearly and properly. The
  speaker needs to be precise about the subject that he is speaking on.
  He should not beat around the bush. The audience should not be
  confused in order not to defeat the purpose of the communication.
  The speaker should express himself very well.

3. Understand the audience: We need to understand our audience, as
  they are ones for whom we are speaking. A speaker should send out
  his message until he is sure that the audience will grasp what he
  saying. Failure to understand the audience sometimes turns a
  healthy conversion into an argument. Arguing does nothing, but
  waste one’s precious time. A speaker should try to avoid getting into
  such situations.
4. Feedback: Its one of the common occurrence at work place that a
   colleague does exactly opposite to what you want him to do. You
   keep wondering why he has done so. What we need is to take
   feedback. Without taking proper feedback, you wouldn’t know the
   perceptive of the person in front of you. Only through feedback you
   will know why he or she did not do, what they were asked to do.

5. Questioning: Questioning is a useful skill designed to elicit
   information and self disclosure from the client. Two types of
   questions are often asked during counseling, namely, open-ended
   and close ended. Open questions according to Drab (2006) are
   questions designed to assist the client in clarifying or exploring
   thoughts and feelings. Close ended questions on other hand limit the
   nature of the response to only yes or no brief answers. The best
   approach is to follow a response to an open-ended question with a
   paraphrase which encourages the client to share more and avoid


A study of human communication can be both a complex task and at the
same time a very simple one. This is so because anything a man does in
the presence of others communicates something to them, whether we
intend it or not. Man is distinct from animal by unique sophistication of
his ability to communicate with other; to receive meaning from the
words and actions of others and to transfer meaning via words and
actions. Communication in marriage is a constant exchange of
information and messages between a couple by spoken words, written
words, symbols, body gestures and facial expressions.

        Communication is the life wire and the pillar of marriage, without
which there will be constant quarrels. Communication cannot be
overemphasized; it is the determining factor in achieving functional
adjustment. The relevance of effective communication in marriage
engenders good living, peace and tranquility. In addition, effective
communication encourages adjustment, understanding, unity and
harmony. Communication is crucial to effective and productive marriage
and when it fades away marriage may becomes shaky. When there is
crisis, the ability to communicate with one another makes such
problems manageable.

        The damaging role that poor communication can play was clearly
demonstrated in a study by Fower and Hospsin (1999). They identified
areas of marital functioning that differentiated between sexually
compatible and incompatible couples based on sexual satisfaction of
three    most    important    areas    of   functioning,   two   involved
communication. These were spouses that find themselves comfortable
in sharing information with each other and their willingness to recognize
and resolved conflicts between them. Omojola (1996) discovered that
poor communication was the leading problem among distressed
couples. The ability to communicate effectively is necessary for a
successful marriage. The partners should be able endeavor to discuss
openly and freely whenever they have problem because differences and
difficulties are inevitable in marriage. As long as two people can keep
the lines of communication open and freely express their feeling,
difference can be resolved. Adeniran (1998) in his study on the impact of
negative communication our marriage stability agree that the root cause
of a total breakdown of communication between couples is due to
immaturity and incompatibility. He concluded that the best way to avoid
this kind of destructive erosion of relationship is to keep the lines of
communication open through high level of maturity which will enable
adjustment for a stable marriage. Olayinka (2005) asserted that both
husband and wife not grudge against each other if they wish to maintain
a stable marriage. Both of them should agree in principle that the
channel of communication for amicable settlement of difficulties and
disagreements are kept open and the guilty partner should be ready to
accept his or her fault and apologized.

      There are principles that can help couples to communicate
effectively. These include:

1. Choice Of Time
   Human beings operate in moods, joy, happiness, tiredness, sadness,
   fear, pressures, frustration are all part of life and they manifest in
   every human being at one time or the other. Our reactions to issues
  will to a large extent depend on what we are going through at a given
  time. Effective communication calls for couples to watch each other’s
  mood before bringing up issues especially sensitive ones, if we are
  interested in result-oriented discussions.

2. Choice Of Words
  Our choice of words is crucial if couples want to maintain a healthy
  communication system in the home. Using harsh and unpleasant
  words will only fuel discord in the family. Our choice of words
  becomes problematic most of the time when we attack the
  personality of our partners instead of addressing the issue at hand.
  Couples should use positive words that are capable of building love,
  affection and self-esteem.

3. Choice of Tone
  It is not good to raise voice when speaking with one’s marriage
  partner especially when dealing with sensitive issues. Loud and angry
  voice will force other partner to retaliate and this will breed
  unimagined arises. It is better for couple to speak to one another
  with soft tone that will show more of love, gentleness, calmness
  rather than anger. It will also reduce the tension that fuels self-
  defence and aggression. Getting angry at each other will not help a
  couple sort out their difference, it will only increase the
  “temperature” of the house.
4. Closeness
   Close to the choice of time, words and tone is the idea of closeness.
   A couple that does things together like sleeping, eating, praying,
   talking together etc will have more opportunities for effective
   communication. The closer they are to one another the better for
   their marriage.

5. Use of Pluralistic Language
   One of the ways of reducing marital instability is the use of pluralistic
   language. When raising issues we ought to use words like, “we”, “us”
   or “our”. These words create and build solid relationship in marriage.
   It will also create a strong a sense of identity, unity and belonging.
   The usage of pluralistic language will keep the line of communication
   open with greater opportunity to influence our partner for good.

6. Concentrate On Issue And Not Personalities
   It happens that a couple will start a simple discussion and it will
   degenerate into an attack-verbal and physical. For example, when a
   spouse said thus,
      “Only irresponsible men do such a thing”
      “Even a house help can prepare better food”

These and many others are negative statements made consciously or
unconsciously by couples concerning their partners. Since they
concentrate on personalities and not on issues they lead either to
fighting or withdrawal, and as such effective communication becomes
For couples to concentrate on issue and not on personalities there must

  I.     Mutual respect for each other. If one respects his wife, he will not
         want to insult her and vice-versa.
 II.     Every couple must discipline himself/herself to hold his/her anger
         when faced with an unpleasant situation.
III.     Couple must look inward. At times a recurring unpleasant action
         in marriage has been found to be a reaction to corresponding
         unpleasant behaviours. Ability to look inward will help each
         couple to make necessary adjustment and change his/her life.

7. Appreciation
      The importance of appreciation in marriage via communication
      cannot be over emphasized. Many homes have been destroyed
      because of the partners has refused to play his/her role effectively
      because the other does not see anything good in what he/she does.
      For example, man who brings home a basket of tomatoes for his wife
      does it not because of selfishness, but to express his love and care for
      his family and it has a lot to do with self-esteem. When such a man is
      appreciated verbally and genuinely, he will be spurring to do more.

         “Thanks for this food”
         “I love you”
         “Thanks for the text, the message is excellent”
         “This house is clean, God bless you”
The more you emphasis the positive and appreciate it, the more
negative will be taken care of.
Fundamentals of good communication:
There is no single right or wrong way to communicate. Each
individual has the opportunity to develop their own approach and
achieve success their way. There are three things to note in good
communication. They are:

 Be a positive person: Being a positive person requires building a
   positive mental attitude. Develop a plan and live it. One has to be
   positive about it. This positive approach adds a zest to one’s life
   and will do same to the one hearing us. The best part is that the
   speaker will achieve more in the future than today.
 Develop and project a genuine interest in others: A speaker
   (Counselor as the case may be) should develop and project a
   genuine interest in others in his daily practice. This will help in
   getting results in others. Once a genuine interest is developed in
   other, all doors will open wider.
 Move forward with confidence and set your goals high; most
   people make the mistake of setting their goal in life too low. It is
   not the lack of talent that holds them back. It is the lack of vision.
   We must set lofty goals and move forward with the confidence
   that you can reach any goal you set for yourself.

The barrier considered above can prevent the sender from conveying
his message to receiver, but thus cannot happen. They are to
overcome the barriers and achieve effective communication. Some
of the useful ways to do so are:
 Seek to Clarity Your Ideas Before Communication
   Prime reason for ineffective communication is the result of the
   initiator not having a clear concept of what he intends
   communicate in the first place. Thus efforts should be made to
   systematically analyse the problem or ideas to be communicated
   and consider the capacity of those who will receive the message.

 Examine The Trade Purpose of Each Communication
   Before you communicate, ask yourself what really you want to
   accomplish, obtain information, initiate action, identify your goal
   and adapt language, tone and approach to some of the specific
   objective. The sharper the focus of your message, the better its
   chances of success.

 Use Receptive, Simple Language
   Simple message often get the best results. The simpler the
   message, the more likely it will be understood and acted on

 Be Mindful While You Communicate
  Your tone of voice, your expression, other forms of non-verbal
  communication all have tremendous impact on your audience.
  These often affect a listener’s reaction even more than the basis
  content or a message.

 Be Empathetic
  This means putting yourself figuratively, in another person’s
  place. Consideration of other person’s interest needs the habit of
  trying to look at thing from his point of view will frequently point
  up. Opportunities to convey something of immediate benefit to
  the people will be more responsive t an empathetic manager.
 Follow-up Your Communication
  Otherwise your best efforts may be wasted. This can be done by
  asking questions, by encouraging the receiver to express his
  reaction, by subsequent review of performance. In short, ensure
  that every important communication has a feedback to that
  complete understanding and appropriate action result.
 Be a Good Listener
  Often, when we start talking we cease to listen, and more
  seriously we are all guilty at times, of inattentiveness when others
  are attempting to communicate with us. Listening is one of the
  most vital, most neglected skills in communication. It demands
  that we concentrate not on the explicit meaning another person is
  expressing, but on its implicit meanings, spoken words, and
  underscores that may be far more significant. By being a good
      listener, the messages ensure a close-loop in the communication


The five levels of communication are listed down the centre of a
diagram of a valley. This is a valley of closeness, intimacy, security and
trust. The left side of the valley is where a young man and a young
woman start in a friendship. They feel uncomfortable talking to each
other because they don’t know each other and are not sure of the
strength of the relationship. As they get to know each other better they
grow in confidence and open up more and more in their
communication. As they enter courtship and marriage the level of trust
and the desire to understand each other can develop into most
intimate, honest and rewarding level of communication possible
between two individuals.

A couple with a healthy marriage will easily move through all five levels
of communication as appropriate for the situation. At times very little
talking will be necessary since they have learned to understand each
other so well. At other times their talking and listening will explore the
depths of feelings and emotions, hopes and failures of both the husband
and the wife. Misunderstandings and conflict will enter a marriage
relationship and if they are not resolved, hurt, anger and mistrust can
cause the partners to begin to close up and withdraw from each other. If
the problems are not dealt with resolved the couple will stop
communicating at the deepest levels. They may eventually reach the
place where attempts at real communication have become so painful, so
frustrating or so ineffective that they stop trying. Once again the two are
at level one, talking very little. This time it is not because they are
uncomfortable due to unfamiliarity but because of so many unsuccessful
attempts to talk and be listened to. They have stopped caring about
trying to communicate. Even couples with healthy marriages don’t share
at level five all the time. In fact this would not be healthy since level five
communications        is   very     intense,     emotionally     demanding
communication. A good balance of all five levels is healthy

Level 1: Talking very little

For the young man and young woman who have just met this is the way
a relationship starts. At times the healthy married couple may also talk
very little. Just being together they communicate through body
language and not a lot needs to be said. The quiet times a couple spends
together can provide a healthy balance to good talking at other times.

However, for the couple under the stress of unresolved conflict talking
very little is a sign of a dangerous breakdown in communication.

Level 2: Talking about facts and others
In a growing relationship this level provides fuel for talking without
involving a lot of risk of being hurt or misunderstood. This can be a step
toward greater trust and confidence in a relationship. Talking about
others need not to be gossip but rather be a part of learning more about
each other’s world.

Level 3: Talking about ideas and opinions

Talking about ideas and opinions involves risk because the individual is
sharing things that he or she considers important and has invested
thought and effort in developing. Having ideas and opinions accepted
builds a person’s sense of worth, strengthens trust and deepen intimacy.
Having ideas and opinions treated as unimportant or rejected without
being considered causes pain and undermines self-esteem and trust.
Repeated rejection of ideas and opinions by one’s partner will usually
cause the person to stop sharing at this level. Anger and frustration may
be expressed or kept in the heart.

Level 4: Talking about feelings and emotions

Talking about feelings and emotions grows out of a relationship of trust.
Now the heart, not just the head, is talking. A sensitive, thoughtful
response will deepen trust and intimacy and strengthen the
relationship. A careless or critical response will hurt deeply and may
cause the one hurt to feel unloved and not understood. In order not to
be hurt further he or she will likely stop sharing at this level and retreat
to a safer level.

Level 5: Talking about hopes and failures

This is the deepest and most personal level of communication and one
that God intends every married couple to enjoy. This is part of the
“naked and unashamed” relationship described in Genesis 2:5. This level
of communication will only thrive where complete trust and confidence
have been nurtured and tested in the relationship. Here the husband
and wife expose the needs of their hearts and share their dreams. Level
five communications requires skilful listening with a sincere desire to
understand the other person’s heart. As the relationship grows and trust
increases the depth of communication should also increase.


The need to ensure effective communication in a marriage is inevitable
considering the issues discussed in the preceding chapters. In a home
where there is effective communication, rancor, deceit, suspicion,
insincerity and unfaithfulness will not exist or at worst be at its lowest
ebb. Conflict is not uncommon to all human organizations. Effective
communication will help a great deal in conflict management and
resolution in marriage. Genuine love, understanding and mutual respect
for one another are the bedrocks of effective communication in a
marriage. It is essentials for spouses to work at ensuring effective
communication in their marriage for the following reasons:

 Rearing or training of the children
 Peace of mind, emotional stability and long life.
 Old age period.
 Societal peace.
 For the sake of evangelism.

Rearing or Training of the Children:

Marriage creates the best environment for raising children. The home
environment within which a child grows determines what a child
becomes at adulthood. An atmosphere laden with love, understanding
and mutual respect for one another would help to breed children that
are emotionally stable, friendly and warm.

      Marriage was instituted so that it could provide a platform for
raising Godly offspring. This was clearly established in the scripture thus:

Children of today are leaders of tomorrow. There is no alternative to
providing a conducive atmosphere at home for the sake of the children’s

      Studies have shown the majority of school drop-outs, armed
robbers, touts and deviants in the society are products of broken
homes. Also cases abound that after the death of the parents, the
children (because they have not been well brought up) drew battle lines,
killed and destroyed each other because of inheritance.

      In most cases such landed properties being struggled for could
end up not being inhabited after they (they children) must have killed
each other one after the other. The property in question could attract
litigations in the court of law and eventually none of them benefiting
from it. In the light of this, parent should make every necessary sacrifice
for the future of their children by staying together to avoid
communication breakdown.

Peace of Mind, Emotional Stability and Long Life:

Peace of mind cannot be valued in terms of money. In marriage, the
amount of peace experienced is determined by a lot of factors; but
principal among them is the resolution or commitment of the spouses to
give peace a chance and make the relationship work.

      Lack of peace in a marriage could easily lead to a lot of emotional
and health problems. Some of these are: high blood pressure,
hypertension and in extreme cases stroke and untimely death. Spouses
should be mindful of the fact that if peace eludes their home, it could
have serious consequences on them.

      Generally speaking, life is very short and one should strive to
enjoy it to the fullest. Lack of peace in a marriage cuts short the bliss and
pleasures of the home. For peace to reign in a marriage, spouses should
realize that the institution of marriage is a permanent one.
      That no man is allowed to separate spouses joined together by
God according to that scripture confirms the permanence of the
institution. Unless spouses realize this and consciously work at staying
together, effective communication cannot be accomplished.

Old Age Period:

It is in the absolute interest of spouses to maintain effective
communication and understanding at all times. When the spouses are
still young, they are agile, they can jump from one end to the other, and
they can associate and interact with people freely and actively. As they
grow older, all these will not be possible again. A school of though
opined that spouses need each other more at old age than when they
were young. This is premised on the fact that after the children had
matured and got married, they will leave the parents to establish their
own homes. Sequel to this, their visit to the parents will just be
occasional. This fact coupled with some other factors could make the old
age period lonely and boring. At this period, spouses need each other
greatly; especially for companionship.

Spouses should envision their old age and cultivate the habit of give and
take when they are still young so as to enjoy their future. The fact that
the idea of carrying the aged to the Old People’s Home is unAfrican
corroborates this viewpoint. Therefore, the need for special mutual care
by spouses at old age is enough reason to prevent communication
breakdown in marriage right through their youthful years.

Societal Peace
The totality or aggregate of families in a community forms the society.
Hence whatever happens in any family is bound to have a direct impact
on the society. As a result of communication breakdown between
spouses, separation or divorce could result. The offspring form such
homes could grow to be deviants in the society. Being products of
broken homes deprived them of experiencing love and as such cannot
show same. They can hardly do well in school, and so are likely to drop

       Children with little or no parental care and control are likely to
join bad gangs such as thieves, dupes, assassins, political thugs, cheats,
rapists and prostitutes. These people sure have bad influence on the
society. Projecting the cycle further, since parents are role models to
their children; these social misfits are likely to raise their own kind. In
facts, such children would be more dreadful

To a very large extent, this is one of the causes of insecurity of lives and
properties. To live long and enjoy one’s old age, spouses should raise
children that will be useful to themselves and contribute meaningful to
the growth of the nation and societal peace. There is no alternative to
having a good home where love is shared. This can only be achieved
when effective communication is maintained in a marriage.


One reason why communication breakdown is common in marriages is
its nature. It does not happen in a day. It is a process that takes days,
months or even years to develop. It happens gradually in such a way
that most couples are not aware of its presence in their relationships.
They will be drifting apart gradually until they find it difficult to
communicate effectively. They are no more reaching each other or
sharing their minds. Below are some common causes of communication
breakdown in marriage:

1. Divergent background of spouse
   It is important to know and accept the individual of one’s partner.
   Inability to do this may lead to communication breakdown. The
   concept of individual difference must ne put into consideration. Each
   partner was born and raised by different parents under different
   environment. There is need to understand the background of your
   spouse. This will help a lot in communication. Failure to do this leads
   to communication breakdown.

2. Differences in education
   Every couple needs to know the difference in the area of education.
   Education of spouse helps to shape his thinking, behaviour and
   general exposure in life. For instance, a graduate husband is more
   exposed in life than illiterate wife vice-versa. It takes time to re-
   orientate themselves and adjust. If such a woman or man as the case
   may be is not willing to cooperate with the partner, this may lead to
   breakdown in communication which will have adverse effect on their

3. Lack of skill on the part of communication partners.
   This is a common feature in marital communication especially when
   dealing with sensitive issues. While explanation is still going on, the
   other draws his/her conclusion half way through. This can be very
   irritating, frustrating and annoying. The act of listening while others
   are speaking is absent in so many homes today. This barbaric act has
   caused damages to homes and many promising marriages

4. Differences in language skills
   The intelligent and practiced ways of sending and receiving messages
   are absent here. The language used cannot be understood. No clear
   pronunciation, no suitable vocabulary, lack of fluency and expressive
   delivery of the message. A partner who could not develop good
   language skills either to move up to the level at which his/her spouse
   will understand or comes down to his/her level is not
   communication. This is a problem that must be resolved.

5. Lack of mutual respect
   Husband and wife should respect one another. Where there is
   mutual respect, it will be easier to communicate. They should respect
   the opinion of others. When there is mutual respect, couples are able
   to ignore gossips from friends and neighbours. Communication
   breaks down when there is quarrelling, lambasting, subjugating and
   abusing on the part of either partner.
6. Gate keeping
   This is another source of barrier in communication. This occurs when
   either of the spouses occupies a position that gives him access to all
   information needed to move the family forward. And in the process
   of vetting, he impounds, suppresses information to which he is
   hostile to. This leads to problem with his spouse (wife or husband).
7. Difference in intelligent level
   It is a natural phenomenon that human beings to aspire high actually
   higher. Men are generally more aggressive than women when it
   comes to ambition and exploring new grounds. If care is not taking.
   The intelligence level between the couple be so wide that both find it
   difficult to relate easily. This affects their effectiveness in
   communication because they would not have much in common and
   secondary because their reasoning faculties have developed along
   different lines. In situation whereby they are not together
   intelligently, then crisis has set in and instability is inevitable.
8. Inability to forgive
   Marital crisis is very complex and at times, it is almost impossible to
   trace the root. The root cause a times is that the couples are not
   willing to forgive each other. For instance, wife who has been beaten
   several times by the husband. She too has gone all over town
   destroying her husband’s character. As a result they have deep-
   seated hatred for each other. The only way to enjoy marital
   happiness is to forgive each other.
9. Rumour which creates actual and imagined events by adding to or
      subtracting from what actually obtains can cause problem in the
      family if it is not properly handled. For example, if there is a rumour
      in the neighborhood concerning any of the marriage partners. The
      gossip will either add to or subtract from in order from in order to
      make his information acceptable to his recipient.

10.      Semantic barrier
      This is a barrier which results from the disparity in the level of
      language usage which can be source of misunderstanding in any

11.      Inability to Listen Intensely:

One of the key communication skills is ability to listen intensely. Many
people lack this salient skill and so they fail to listen through during
conversations. This deficiency could be largely due to impatience. Often
times, such people make assumptions and jump into conclusions even
before one finishes talking to them.

The assumptions they make are usually based on their mindset or bias.
Subsequently, they misconstrue the information so passed. Negative
meanings or misconception being given in this regard usually have
adverse effects on relationship, which could eventually lead to
12.   Bad Attitude:

Bad attitudes of spouses like arrogance, disobedience, indolence and
selfishness could cause communication breakdown in marriage. Just as
good traits could be inherited, experience has shown that bad traits too
are being passed on the offspring. Also from observation, it has been
noted that female children behave most likely like their mothers; while
male children behave like their fathers. Besides, parents are role models
to their children. If spouses fail to work on their inherited or acquired
bad traits, they could be sources of misunderstanding between the
spouses. When this arises, a breakdown in communication is inevitable.

13.   When Spouses are not Compatible:

Basically, spouses have individual differences. Couples are said to be
incompatible if they find it difficult to tolerate their differences. These
differences could be in the areas of their beliefs, attitudes, interests,
disposition, etc. A school of thought described a couple as two hearts
breathing as one; a fusion of two individuals into one. These are two
individuals that are resolved to live together or rather share the rest
part of their lives together. For proper integration, the issue of
compatibility comes in. the couple’s interests should be fairly similar. If
not, there could be a problem in their co-habitation.

      Compatibility is about letting go of one’s bad behaviour and be
willing to tolerate another person. The issue of agreement between the
two parties is very essential. It is very difficult if not impossible to get
two absolutely identical individuals. Therefore, tolerance becomes a key
factor. The extent to which spouses can tolerate each other determines
their compatibility level and whether the marriage will endure or not.
Cases of disparity between spouses could be so pronounced that they
find it difficult to cope. This arises if they perceive, analyze and react to
issues in a remarkably different manner. The tendency is that one
intolerable act or situation could lead to an uncomplimentary response,
and in a chain of similar communication process, a breakdown results.

14.   Short Courtship Period Laden with Pretences:

Short courtship period could be another source of communication
breakdown in a marriage; especially when it is full of pretences.
Instances abound where spouses have been infatuated, and while still in
their dream world, decided to get married. Although nobody can claim
that he/she knows his/her spouse totally or completely; the shortness of
a courtship could prevent couples from knowing each other sufficiently

      After the nuptial has been tied, each of the spouses begins to
show his or her true colours. This could lead to frictions and eventually a
breakdown in communication.

15.   Background of the Partners:

Too much disparity in the background of the spouses could cause
communication breakdown in a marriage. Psychological studies have
shown that heredity and experience are the principal factors that
determine the character of an individual. If either the husband or wife is
a product of a broken home; he/she may not have the opportunity of
experiencing love as a child. This is likely to have adverse effect on him
or her when he/she grows up to become a husband or wife. Having not
experienced love, he may not be able to share same. He is more likely to
nag and he emotionally unstable and intolerant.

16.   Barrenness

Barrenness and some other problems could cause communication
breakdown in a marriage. Other challenges like joblessness, sickness and
changing fortune could becloud some spouses and prevent them from
appreciating other blessings from God. These problems could lead to
stress;   they   could   also   make     the    future   appear   uncertain.
Communication        pattern      that         could     arise    in    this
situation are: nagging, impatience and intolerance. These could lead to
communication breakdown and eventual separation or divorce.

17.   Loss of Confidence:

Loss of confidence usually leads to suspicion in a marriage. Once the first
love in a marriage disappears, suspicion takes over. In a marriage laden
with suspicion, even when any of the spouses does something with good
intentions; the tendency is for the partner to misconstrue it.           An
atmosphere of loss of confidence does not give room for couples to plan
their future and those of their            children together. Cooperation
between spouses will vanish. The wife would prefer to spend her
income as she likes; giving preference only to satisfying her own
interest. For instance, she would not want to join resources with the
husband to build a house or embark on a meaningful investment.

18.   Unfair Assumptions:

Communication breakdown could also result in a situation where one of
the parties involved in communication assumes that the other person
should talk or behaves differently; he takes offence and reacts
provocatively. Possibly angered by this, an equally offensive response is
likely to be offered. Resultantly, a breakdown in communication ensues.

19.   Ego Problem:

Communication can break down when one of the people relating
together in communication has ego problem. This is a situation where
an individual thinks too highly of himself. This type of attitude takes its
source from pride. But usually signal destruction.

      He hardly considers the feelings and opinions of others. He
believes he is always right and that no one can fault his stand on issues.
His driving force is ‘self’ and he usually dominates discussions; even if his
view are challenged by a more superior argument.

      He is usually obstinate because of his self pride, and instead of
accepting his mistakes, he gets irritated. When this happens. He either
withdraws and desists from talking to the person or talks to him
arrogantly with the intention of injuring his feelings. Thus, a breakdown
in communication results.
20.   Negative Influence of a Third Party:

People that are fond of discussing their spouses with a third part stand
the risk of being negatively influenced. This could be most disastrous if
the advice given by such friends is false and misleading. Out of envy and
a deliberate intention to create problem for another family; some
fellows could give ill-conceived advice.

      A scenario was narrated of a woman who collects a certain
amount of money from her husband for upkeep. Due to steady rise in
prices, she shared her ordeal with a friend of hers. The friend
incidentally collects only half of what her embittered friend collect for
upkeep in a month; out of jealousy pointedly affirmed that she could
never take such meager amount from any man. This prompted the
woman that was in a dilemma to pick quarrel with her husband. Cases
like this do occur and if care is not taken, it could lead to communication
breakdown between spouses.


Communication breakdown is an ill-wind that blows anyone no good. It
can lead to      bad    tendencies    like   malice, anger, impatience,
unforgiveness, selfishness, hatred and a host of others. These vices are
capable of driving one to an inglorious end; spouses could separate or
be divorced.
       Communication breakdown can lead to loss of love. When this
arises, some of the following can happen: being unkind to one another,
showing no care and affection, not being ready to make sacrifice for one
another, or serve each other and deliberately hurting each other. Other
are: impatience, rudeness, jealousy, selfishness and boastfulness. Cases
abound where spouses never had any verbal exchange for months;
despite their living under the same roof. They would so much avoid each
other that they would not make the mistake of staying close to each
other. If they must interact, it would only be through information
scribbled on pieces of paper and placed at conspicuous places for the
partner to see.

Succinctly put, communication breakdown can lead to:

 Loss of love
 Loss of trust
 Development of bad habits and unwholesome tendencies.
 Making wrong assumptions, leading to negative and unfriendly
 Insincerity in handling money and other resources.
 Sexual denial
 Isolation and emotional wreckage.

      Loss of Love:
When love is lacking in a family, there cannot be happiness; and without
this, there cannot be a cordial atmosphere to bring up the children in
the way of God. When communication breaks down between spouses,
the first thing to disappear is love. This ultimately can give room for
unnecessary arguments, misunderstanding, self righteousness and

      Loss of love is likely to bring out the selfish tendencies in spouses.
For instance, the husband thinks first of himself; whatever happens to
the wife and the children is less importance. He can begin to find
‘happiness’ in wine and other women. The wife on her part can also care
less about the husband. She denies him food, affection and sex. The wife
in retaliation may seek companionship in other men or morally bankrupt
and wayward female friends. This development can lead to ineptitude
on the part of the spouses in caring for the children.

      Where there is love, spouses will be slow to anger and forgiveness
of sin becomes easy. Spouses should emulate God in this regard and
strive at all cost to maintain the bound of love in their marriage.

     Loss of Trust:
Loss of trust can either be a cause or consequence of communication
breakdown. Trust is the backbone of any relationship; especially in a
marriage. Once the initial trust between spouses goes, relationship will
be hampered and things can hardly be the same again. This can give to
suspicious, nagging and impatience.

      Trust and faithfulness go hand in hand. Loss of trust precipitates
doubts regarding the sincerity of one’s partner. Every move by either of
the   spouses    can    be   misconstrued.     Negative    meanings     and
interpretations are usually attached to sincere actions and opinions.

     Bad Habits and Unwholesome Tendencies:
Communication breakdown in marriage usually widens the gap between
spouses. In an attempt to retaliate the loss of love and affection,
spouses take to bad habits like drunkenness, night crawling and sexual
promiscuity. Also, bad tendencies like malice, impatience and
unforgiveness are cultivated. All these injurious lifestyles are taken to in
order to derive pleasure that was denied at home.

     Making Wrong Assumptions:
Lack of or communication breakdown breeds wrong assumptions which
usually lead to negative and unfriendly actions. A case was relayed of a
situation where a lady (University undergraduate) had come to see her
sister during a semester break. Instead of going straight to the house,
she chose to go to her brother in-law’s office. She had the intension of
going home with him after the day’s work. On their way back home,
they had a stop over at a colleague’s house. The man dashed in for a
brief assignment leaving the sister-in-law in the car.

      On her way back home, the wife sighted the husband’s car and
perceived the figure of a lady in it. Without taking pains to see who the
lady was, she smashed the windscreen of her husband’s car on the
assumption that the lady was the husband’s girlfriend. By the time the
lady in the car alighted, and she turned out to be her own sister; the
wife regretted her action. Her anguish was too late because it
announced to crying over split milk.

       Losses of this nature are inevitable when wrong assumptions are
made     during   communication.       With   patience,   humility   and
understanding, disasters like the one experienced in the case above
could be prevented.

      Stress, Unhealthy Living and Untimely Death:
Communication breakdown in marriage could lead to stress, unhealthy
living and in extreme cases, untimely death. Ill-feelings and hatred
usually result from communication breakdown. Disgust becomes rife
between the spouses such that they could not share their feelings and
problems. Thinking over issues together and encouraging one another
becomes impossible. The situation is capable of leading to hypertension,
stroke and eventually untimely death.

      Insincerity in Handling Money and other Resources:
For a marriage to succeed, spouses must be passionate committed to it.
One cannot shy away from the fact that separation and divorce is on the
increase these days. A lot of conflicts and disagreements can arise from
communication breakdown in marriage; but prominent among them
related to money and sex. The issue may not necessarily be about
keeping or not keeping a common purse. The snag is the element of
unfaithfulness and selfishness that spouses to demonstrate in handling
money and financial issues. The antidote to this is openness and
transparency. In this regard, either of the spouses will not be able to
assume wrongly about the financial status or level of one another.
Managing the financial resources in a marriage requires understanding
and flexibility. Where spouses fail to do this, the gap between spouses is
likely to widen further.

     Sexual Denial:
Similarity, a lot of sex induced conflicts do occur in a marriage as a result
of communication breakdown. Usually, sex related rancours arise from
denial. Sexual compatibility of the spouses is essential. This could be
brought about by understanding and willingness to concede for one
another. Where the sex life of spouses is not properly managed, the
friction deepens and the marriage disintegrates further.

      Sex is supposed to be enjoyed by couples. So they need to offer
themselves to one another willingly and unconditionally. Spouses should
also live above sex associated taboos and discuss sex related problems
with an open mind and the commitment to find a mutually acceptable
solution. In all situations, spouses should show sufficient understanding
and encourage each other to ensure marital harmony.

      The issue of promiscuity has ruined a lot of homes. Promiscuity is
an act of sexual immorality; spouses should therefore avoid it so as to
prevent unpleasant consequences.

     Isolation and Emotional Wreckage:
Communication breakdown between spouses could lead to isolation
when partners go their separate ways. The bond of love is broken and
there is no more companionship. Depending on the nature of the
individuals concerned, it could lead to a total emotion wreckage,
sickness and irreparable loss when such a situation ended in suicide.


Improving communication in marriage is not an easy task (Omojola,
1996). It requires not only determination and hardwork, but also giving
attention to what can be regarded as little things. Giving attention to
them and working on them can make a great difference in your marital
relationship. The following will help a lot:

1. Possessing communication skills and attitudes:
   Every married couple must possess communication skills and
   attitudes. The skills involve intelligent way of sending and receiving
   messages talking and writing, listening and reading. This involves an
   understanding of how the process works and sensitivity to variable
   factors as well as mastery of techniques. Attitudes on the other hand
   is a necessary tool in improve communication in marriage
   relationship. A person with a negative attitude towards the person
   with whom he/she is communicating will create barriers to
   understanding, whether he is sending or receiving. As a sender, he
   may use the wrong tone, and some other negative languages. As a
   receiver, he may choose to disbelieve or ignore a message because of
   its source, or he may read into straight forward message negative
   attitudes similar to his own, taking offence where none was
        intended. A marriage partner should be kind, calm, sincere and
        gently. It affords the opportunity to give support, encouragement
        and make correction when needed.
   2. Develop interest in things that interest your partner.
        Communication skill develops when people take time to talk together
        in the atmosphere of friendship. A couple that will enjoy good
        communication must of necessity increase their areas of interest.
   3. Use of Non-Verbal Language:
        The non-verbal interactional communication ranges in scope from
        gesture to the use of visual to communicate. This is divided into
        three divisions.
   I.   Writing – This can help a lot in expressing our minds, even between
        couples who live under the same roof. For example, a woman who
        leaves a note of her where about her husband will surely save
        herself the embarrassment of being bombarded with various
        questions on returning home.
 II.    Symbols – The use of symbols is another good one. For instance,
        sending flowers to one’s wife will communicate important messages
        to her. The point we are making here is that some symbolic items can
        be given to our partners to express the state of the minds beyond
        what words can express.
III.    Body Language – A spouse can communicate by gestures, facial
        expression, body positive and movement. The use of eye contact is
        very important here. Through it, we are able to collect information
        from the facial expressions and body gesture of the person who is
       speaking or listening. The information so collected gives insight into
       the person’s thinking and this help to understand him better.
4. Other means of making communication effective:
       There are other tips that will help couples to build an effective
       communication system which will help in stabilizing their marriage.
       This is divided into two areas, and each of the partners to note them
       because he/she can be in any of the position.
(i)       As a sender.
(a) As you send the message, decide carefully what sort of action or
       response you desire from the receiver.
(b) Choose a language or combination of languages spoken or word,
       picture or symbol most suitable for your needs and the situation.
(c) Ensure that your chosen language is fully comprehensible to the
       receiver’s abilities and limitations.
(d) Take care that your message is not capable of being misinterpreted.
       Avoid vagueness, ambiguity, sarcasm, pettiness or innuendo.
(e) Check that you are receiving the desire feedback, answers,
       clarification and indications of attitudes.
(ii)      As a receiver:
 (a) Give an in-coming message all your attention. Avoid being side-
       tracked or distracted. Read, look or listen positively and with
 (b) Check that the sender’s chosen communication medium is meeting
       your needs. Don’t settle for a bad line and interminable wait for a
       letter or insolence in a speaker.
(c) Ensure that you comprehend the message fully. Take the trouble if
   part of message’s language is unfamiliar to check your references,
   word or concept.
(d) Take care to interpret the message correctly. Think carefully about
   what its implication might be before you act upon or divulge its
(e) Avoid the temptation deliberately to misinterpret a message as a
   means of retaliating against its sender. If you are not on good terms,
   endeavor to thrash the matter out with good will.
(f) Provide the sender with insufficient feedback so as to re-assure him
   that you have received the message, understood and interpreted it
   in the way that suits the sender. Communication is the life wire that
   the pillar of marriage, without which there will be constant quarrels.
   The importance of communication cannot be over emphasized; it is
   the determining factor in achieving marital stability.
(g) Love one Another:
   The type of love required of spouses is an agape love. An
   unconditional kind of love; one that sees the imperfection of the
   other but loves all the same. According to Mike Babatunde (2007),
   Agape love sees the defects but loves all the same, and looks for
   ways to help the loved one to overcome the defects. Sometimes, it
   corrects by way of observation and not accusation. Love in the
   family should be sacrificial. Deep love does not lie in verbal
   profession alone. Much as it is in order for spouses to talk love, the
   demonstration of love by being selfless is very essential in marriage.
   Lending credence to this, Nancy Reagan said “Love means giving
   one’s self to another person fully, not just physically.” When two
   people really love each other, this helps them to stay alive and grow.
   One must really be loved to grow.
(h) Show Appreciation Generously:
   Appreciation rekindles love. It is a demonstration of care and
   affection. It makes the heart cheerful while ingratitude dampens the
   spirit. A cheerful heart is like elixir longevity of life. Appreciation
   motivates and encourages. It propels one for improved performance
   and enhanced cordial relationship, Appreciation could be shown
   through words of mouth, facial expression or gifts. It is now
   expensive the gift is, but the appropriateness of it and the spirit
   behind it.
(i) Forgive one Another:
   It is very common to hear people say “to err is human, to forgive is
   divine”. Forgiveness is inevitable in any marriage that will endure.
   No wonder, William A. ward opined that “Friendship flourishes at
   the fountain of forgiveness”. It is impossible for couples not to
   offend other. Therefore, anytime we feel aggrieved; let us find it in
   our heart to forgive. The reality of sharing this planet with others is
   that people will hurt you. Sometimes, it is intentional, other times
   they have no idea they upset you, far less broken your heart. Does
   that mean you should go around pretending nothing is wrong? No,
   the first step is to confront your feelings. This may not be easy, but
   when you do it, something unexpected will happen. Your heart will
soften and you will start seeing them through God’s eye instead of
your raw emotions. If someone hurts you, especially your spouse,
first try to figure out whether that hurt was intentional or not. This is
because not every hurt is an attack.

Learn to Apologize to the Aggrieved Party:
Marriage is supposed to give and take. Spouse should learn to
concede to one another. It is pride and arrogance that would make
one feel too to say “sorry”, even when it is obvious that one has
wronged another person. The phrase “I am sorry” is simple, precise
and short. It has the potency to heal wounds and could serve as a
soothing balm to a heart that is hurt. But unfortunately, if it is not
offered as the appropriate time; one’s silence can cause untold
damage to a relationship.

Pray Together:
Prayer is communication between God and man. Prayer is the key
with which one can unlock the treasures of heaven. A family that
fails to pray together can hardly stay together. This is because by
praying together, spouses would be in one mind. Prayer enhances
oneness of spirit and purpose. By praying, apart from worshipping
God, one is making his supplication known to God. Prayer also
provides the platform through which one can ask, seek and knock
the door of blessings from God. There are a thousand and one things
that a family would like to ask from God. Some of these are victory,
favour and blessings to mention a few. It is only through prayer that
all these can be achieved. Besides, agreement in prayer is very vital.
Be Industrious:
Indolence is a recipe for poverty. Spouses should not be lazy,
because laziness makes one poor. In marriage, economic
consideration is very important. Both husband and wife should be
able to contribute meaningfully towards the up – keep on the

Be selfless:
Selfish and self-centered attitudes must be avoided in marriage if
success is desired. In marriage, the attitude of ‘mine’ must be done
away with. Spouses should perceive their belongings as ‘ours’.
Individuals should think of the partner first before him/her. Only
genuine love and mutual respect for one another can make
selfishness possible.

Maintain Decorum in Communication:
Couples should avoid the use of foul language while interacting with
each other. Harsh words usually lead to anger, while a soft answer
turn away wrath; so spouses should endeavor to do away with harsh
words. This is because a soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh
word stirs up anger. Spouses should not act foolishly by giving full
vent to their anger. Spouses should take a cue from Adeniji (2008)
guideline for maintaining good inter-personal relations among
people. Spouses should make:
 The least important word: “I”
 The one most important word: “We”
 The two most important words: “Thank you”
 The three most important words: “If you please”.
 The four most important words: “What is your opinion”
 The five most important words: “You did a good job”
 The six most important words: “I admit I made a mistake”

These guidelines are a form of elixir for effective communications in

Be Proud of one Another:

There is need for spouses to be proud of each other, identify with
each other and always love to be in each other’s company. This
attitude helps to strengthen love and affection between couples.
Appearing in the same attire for instance depicts (to a large extent),
closeness and it strengthens companionship. It also shows unity and
oneness. Cordiality is improved and friction is reduced. Couples
should also be proud of the family’s achievements by celebrating
special days like birthdays and wedding anniversary.

Be Humble and Submissive to one Another:
Humility is very important in marriage. Without humility on the part
of both husband and wife, marital harmony will elude them.
Wisdom comes with humility, but pride leads to disgrace. In a similar
vein, spouses should have the fear of God so as to have wisdom and
also be humble so as to be honoured.

Have Mutual Respect for Each Other’s Views and Avoid
Unnecessary Argument:

Respect begets respect. There is need for reciprocity in respecting
each other’s views. Gone were the days that women were regarded
as chattels. These days, they not only contribute economically to the
up-keep of the family, they are capable of offering suggestions that
are reasonable. Mutual respect for each other’s view could enhance
better understanding and love.

The danger inherent in not respecting each other’s views lies in the
fact that rebellious response could emanate from the spouse whose
views are not respected. This could lead to a chain of reaction
culminating in communication breakdown. Partners should desist
from believing that his/her opinion is always right. Even after an
issue has been resolved amicably, spouses should avoid the use of
phrases like ‘didn’t I tell you?’, ‘I knew it would be like that’ or ‘you
know I am always right’.
Offer yourselves to one Another willingly and unconditionally:

Romance in marriage is not canal or unspiritual; it strengthen
cordiality and closeness. Hugging, pecking and kissing are good ways
of expressing love and affection. Romance between spouses helps to
remove tension and makes an atmosphere of love and
understanding to prevail. Complain of tiredness by either spouse be
handled with mutual understanding; for instance, a woman who has
gone to work since morning; who comes back home late in the
evening to prepare food, take care of the children and attend to
other house chores; is likely to be tired. She needs to be
encouraged, motivated and put in the mood of love making when
there is need for it. Children are precious gifts from God and should
not constitute hindrance to a fulfilled sex life in a marriage. When
children are born into a family, they share the woman’s love and
time with the husband. However, this should not be an excuse to
neglect the husband and be insensitive to his sexual demands. The
management of the sexual life of a couple could make or mar their
marriage. Sex should not be used to punish each other or as
conditions should also not be given before offering each other for
love making. Sex is supposed to be shared and enjoyed mutually.
Denial should not be used as an excuse for extra marital affair.
Spouses should dialogue and resolve sex related misunderstandings
amicably. When sexual pleasure and satisfaction are derived in a
marriage, it helps to solve a lot of other problems that are not even
related to romance.
Take Time to Study and Understand Each Other:

Couples should take time to study and understand each other. Every
individual is unique; he/she has his/her own peculiarities. Spouses
are essentially different; they can only influence each other to a
reasonable extent. There are traits that cannot be changed which
one must understand and be prepared to live with. This calls for
understand and to be prepared to live with. This calls for
understanding and adjustment on the part of the partners.
Conscious study of each other should start from courtship because
partners who are strangers to each other during courtship will end
up being enemies in marriage. Spouses should look out for what
each person likes or dislikes. If such things cannot be influenced
positively with words, actions or prayer; for the sake of peace, the
partner should understand and be prepared to tolerate and live with
it. There is no perfect individual. Spouses should therefore bear with
one another, realizing that no matter how perfect one thinks he is,
one partner is also tolerating certain bad habits of one. When
spouses bear with one another, frictions and incidences of
communication breakdown will be reduced.

Be Simple and Precise in Communication:

Spouses    should    avoid    ambiguity    and    contradictions    in
communication. No room should be given for doubt or suspicion
because this could easily cause communication breakdown in
marriage. Simple and precise language is recommended, especially if
the partner comes from a different culture or background.
Ambiguity usually defeats the purpose of communication and is
capable of giving dual meaning or a total misconception of the

Be Clean, Neat and Presentable:

Spouses should be mindful of how they dress. They are enjoined to
be clean, neat and presentable without necessarily being canal or
worldly. It is not unspiritual to wear neat and well tailored dresses.
The way one dressed determines how he will be addressed and also
depicts his address. For instance, lady who dresses like a prostitute
has already indicated how she wants to be addressed; and also that
her address is a brothel. Also, a man who dresses like an Area Boy
has also given a clue as to how he should be addressed; and that his
address is no other than the streets or the motor parks. Moderate,
neat and decent dressing gives positive self-concept and confidence
to an individual. Spouses should avoid attitudes and statements like
‘who has time for all that?’, ‘who is looking at me?’ or ‘who cares?’
Likewise, there is need for environmental neatness. This promotes
love and healthy living. Dirty habits of either of the spouses are
capable of creating friction that could easily lead to communication

Be Honest, Pure and Holy:

Dishonesty can cause loss of trust and affection between spouses.
Purity of heart is also essential in marital relationship.
   Create quality Time for Your Home:

   Spouses should create time for their home. Not creating time for
   one’s home could make one become a stranger in his/her own
   home. The home must be accorded the attention it deserves. Even
   animals cherish their homes in caves and holes. Likewise, birds sing
   praises of their homes. Ideally, there should be no place like home,
   but the truth is, it is only a home where there is love that members
   will long for. For marital harmony to be achieved in a home, no
   effort should be spared by the parties concerned. The home will be
   what the spouses want it to be, so there is need to passionately
   work at it. This is not about just sitting at home alone; the family
   should create time for recreation (like going for picnic) and vacation.


No matter what problems couples encounter, effective communication
will be necessary to successful deal with them. Couples release the
importance of communication; it is amazing at how many couples don’t
practice   good communication skills.       Couples    fail at effective

      Two systems for effective communication – Here are 2 systems
that you can use for enhancing your communication as a couple in a way
that will improve your relationship. These have to be studied, adopted
and used in everyday conversations if conflicts have to be resolved.
Effective communication is a key to happiness. It is one of the most
powerful ways we bond with another human being. But when
communication skills are lacking, we simply don’t feel connected with
others. What are the rules for effective communication in marriage?

1. Eliminate the use of the words never and always. This rule is
   designed to minimize defensive reactions in your communication.
   When anyone hears that “they never” or “they always” they tend to
   get defensive. When they get defensive, they no longer are able to
   listen in an effective manner or responds with thoughts or feelings. It
   is better to use the words “often” instead of “always”, and “seldom”
   instead of never. The latter will reduce the probability of a defensive
   reaction from your partner.
2. Try not to blame or shame- We set up our partner for a defensive
   reaction when we communicate in ways that indicate blame or
   shame to our partner. When a defensive reaction occurs, we don’t
   feel as if we have been understood. In addition to not feeling heard,
   we usually enter into an argument or a verbal attack. We are no
   longer able to discuss our hurt or frustration. We are seldom able to
   move into conflict resolution process that gives us a win-win
   outcome. Most couples end up arguing about some letter issues
   leaving the main issue untouched.
3. Don’t name call, label or belittle – Couples usually digress to the use
   of demeaning words once they have become frustrated, hurt or
  angry. Belittling and labeling words such as stupid, moron, idiot, lazy,
  hard-headed and stubborn are usually said to get back at our partner
  for hurting us. These words will cause the relationship to descend to
  a lower level and will seldom lead to getting back on track with the
  original problem. All these hinder our progress of helping us
  communicate more effectively (Stoop and Stoop, 2002).
4. Don’t withdraw, isolate or avoid – When we withdraw or avoid our
  partner, we create an even greater problem by causing our partner
  to feel ignored, cut off, or abandoned. Our partner will feel as if we
  are trying to punish them. This often escalates and the relationship is
  at greater risk. It is true that a cooling off period can help us again
  perspective and help us get our emotions back under control, but
  needs to be done in a way that the other person doesn’t feel as if it is
  withdrawal or avoidance.
5. Listen completely and take painstaking steps to hear everything –
  The key to successful communication is the ability to listen. Listening
  is so much more than hearing. It is becoming aware of the content
  and feelings the other is experiencing. It is best to repeat back to the
  person that he or she shared being sure that one hears correctly. The
  efforts put in listening will be highly rewarded. This will help to
  control our emotions, it is always better especially when one’s
  emotion is heightened to a point of physical or verbal abuse. This is a
  pattern in your relationship.
6. Don’t demand, rather ask – Demands usually create defensive
  reactions in anyone. During the early days of courtship, we are
   usually very courteous and kind. After the honeymoon, things can
   change quickly, instead of asking, we demand.
7. Don’t use threats – when we are intensely frustrated, we resort to
   using phrases such as “if you don’t stop that, I…” Threats cause our
   partner to become not only defensive but even aggressive. Try very
   hard not to use threats. Take a time-out; bite your tongue, bur stay
   away from using them.
8. Don’t interrupt – Many couples have problems in observing this rule.
   We seldom think to repeat what the person said before we share our
   thoughts and feelings. When we interrupt someone, it causes him or
   her to feel as if we don’t care, aren’t listening or we only want to
   speak our mind (Tirabassi, 2001). If we are prone to interrupting, we
   need to work very diligently always to repeat what our partner said
   before we share. We must know that we will get a chance but must
   wait until the other person has finished sharing his or her thought
   and feelings.
9. Stay affirming – It is always best to begin a conversation by sharing
   some form of positive affirmation with your partner. If we affirm our
   partner, we help prepare them to bear our hurts. We must even
   affirm our partner for being willing to take about our conflicts. E.g.
   “Thank you so much for being willing to share your feelings with me.

Shared By: