Communication In Marriage

Choosing An Appropriate Channel:
The importance of choosing an appropriate channel for sending a message is as vital as it is for conceiving and encoding the message. The choice of a medium depends largely on a number of factors; for instance, the nearness and willingness of a colleague in an office or neighbourhood might suggest a quick and fast means of sending a message, geographical location might require that the message be transmitted through an email, a text or a call, etc. Moreover, the need for a quick exchange of attitudes and opinions may suggest a meeting as the best medium. The likely effect of a message upon its receiver will also influence the choice of medium, for example, bad news is much better broken in private and one on one than more impersonally in a letter or telephone. Some factors that could influence the choice of a channel for sending a message are:
a) The effectiveness of the channel;
b) Need for skill;
c) Simultaneous reception of information by recipients;
d) Need for a written record;
e) Confidentiality;
f) Need for instant feedback;
g) Complexity of message;
h) Time;
i) Cost.
Most of the above mediums are likely to be used when a spouse has to communicate with his or her partner. When they are living together, more often than not, they will have to communicate through exchange of words interpersonally. Text messaging or other means of communication might rarely be used unless in situation where a partner travelled out of their location. Whatever the situation, every couple needs to be as discreet and as meticulous as any other in choosing their channels of communicating to one another at any given time. Abnormally, however, it is a known fact that when some couples have misunderstanding they resort to communicating each other through writing that they transmit through any of their children because at such times they do not want to speak to one another or even see each other’s face. No matter the extent of misunderstanding between couples they should never resort to writing each other when they are living under the same roof. Talking directly with each other still remains the best form of expressing one another’s feelings with carefully chosen words to avoid deepening the wounds already sustained in the process. Some people prefer using a third party each time they have misunderstanding. This may be necessary sometimes but from personal experience and experience gained through marriage teaching and counselling; I have discovered that, more often than not, it does not yield the expected results as inexperienced third parties have worsened rather than solve the problems which could have been wisely resolved by the couples themselves.
Decoding The Message:
For any communication to be effective the understanding of the recipient must be paramount in the mind of the sender. Many messages are ineffective because the sender failed to realize that the language he had chosen was beyond the ability of the receiver to comprehend. Technical jargons and other specialized terms were often being used without considering the understanding of the recipient. Some of the following reasons are usually responsible for the inability of a receiver to comprehend a message.
•The receiver does not share the sender’s language e.g. he cannot read a graph.
•The sender’s vocabulary ie words or phrases are unknown to the receiver.
•The sender’s sentence structure and use of English are too difficult for the receiver to understand.
•The sender is a specialist and the receiver is a layman i.e. a medical doctor to his patient.
•Education, cultural pursuits and outlooks create a language block between sender and receiver.
•The sender uses over simplified language and thus condescends to the receiver causing resentment to create a block.
The above may appear not to apply to married couples, but, suffice to say that in many marital squabbles the use of unfamiliar words, phrases, parables or professional jargons have caused irreparable damages. Therefore, whether as colleagues or friends, or married couples the use of the right words and communicating in the appropriate manner cannot be overemphasized. In every relationship good communication under any circumstance is a display of a good character. The word of God says that the eyes of the wise are on his head but that of fools are on his legs. This idiom simply declares that the use of appropriate words at the right time to a recipient is a product of a thoughtful and discreet person. That person in this context should be a wife speaking and addressing her husband with the appropriate words irrespective of the situation and vice versa.
Interpreting The Message:
The understanding of the message by the receiver can be easily ascertained by his interpretation. If the message was clearly understood the feedback would be as expected by the sender. More often than not the underlying purpose of a message may be different from what the words used – spoken or written are conveying. Meaning that it had conveyed an entirely different impression from what the sender intends to. For example, a student left his hostel apartment in order to ask another student if he was the one who messed up the toilet but when he got there rather than ask as he had intended he accused the other student by saying ‘why did you mess up the toilet? That was a clear illustration between ‘intent and action’ that has created endless frictions among couples and in other relationships. Obviously, when intent and actions are in conflict the result is misunderstanding. Unless such a situation is wisely and maturely managed its resultant effect turns out to be very disastrous. In other words, but for the wise and matured reaction of the recipient of that message it would have resulted in a fracas. Problem of interpretation also arises when there is bad blood between the sender and receiver which may cause the sender to use ambiguous language. As a matter of fact, many messages are capable of more than one interpretation – the apparent meaning and the underlying one. A lot of people speak with bitterness with disregard to the feelings and ability of the recipient. When we speak in like manner, we reveal what is in our hearts unknowingly. Also, the manner in which a message is sent affects the way in which it may be interpreted. E.g. a sender may compose his message in a provocative way thereby eliciting a deliberate insult, negligence in carrying out a task as a passive retaliation. To avoid misinterpretation either as a result of misunderstanding between the sender and the receiver or as a result of the use of unfamiliar language; the sender should do everything possible to ensure tact, simplicity of language and the consideration of the mood, education and other possibilities regarding the recipient before sending his message. If a sender has in mind his expected feedback, he will take the pain to choose the correct language before sending his message. Receiving an appropriate feedback which ascertains the understanding of the message is more important to sending the message. As an end result of the message, it enables the sender to move on to the next level or accomplish an intended task.
Feedback: During my several years of marriage teaching and counselling, I have been able to observe that owing to the obnoxious manners couples communicate to each other wrong feedbacks have resulted in endless frictions. Because of pride and unwillingness to accept corrections minor issues were terribly amplified to the extent that relationships were completely broken. When the sender communicates his message to his recipient, and have followed the above stipulated steps he expects his feedback earnestly. Whether he envisaged the feedback or no, feedback provides a means of reassuring him that:-
* The message has been received
* It has been understood or not
* It has been correctly interpreted or not
* The receiver is ready for the next part.
A positive feedback could come in one of the following ways:
a)May be signal by a nod, a smile, a written acceptance of an invitation or by words of an agreement at the other end of a telephone line.
To be continued