“The essence of language has never been to serve the function of communication” – Jacques Lacan
One of the most common complaints between couples that are heard by friends, family and therapists alike is that their respective partner doesn’t communicate with them enough or effectively. This is an all too common complaint between all people at various points in life. However, within the context of a marriage or a serious relationships, these communication problems in relationships can cause unnecessary suffering and, if it continues over time, can create so much tension and conflict that many relationships dissolve.
This short article will look at only four ways in which communication may be challenging in a relationship. Although each of the points covered could easily be greatly elaborated on, we will just spend a short time looking at some of the important communication barriers that can cause a disruption within a relationship and ones that might not have been considered to be the cause of a communication problem in a relationship.
What gets in the way of effective communication between couples?
- Hearing only what we expect to hear
In communicating with your partner, there can be times when you think you are understanding what they are saying because you have either ‘heard it all before’, in the sense of not wanting to hear what is being said, or thinking you understand what is being said because the same combination of words are being expressed or the tone of the speech has its similarities to other discussions in the past.
This can cause communication problems because, in this sense, you have already decided the meaning of what is trying to be conveyed by filling in the gaps with your meaning of what been said, not what they might be trying to communicate.
This method of listening and communicating can create a lot of frustration between the sender and receiver of the message. That is because the sender is not being heard because the receiver has already decided what the message is and the receiver does not understand why the sender is getting frustrated because they think they already understand what has been said.
- Fantasy fills in the silence
When there is silence between a couple in the middle of a discussion of some importance, silence often can play quite a big part in these communications. In the void of silence, fearful, enjoyable or anticipatory thoughts about what their partner may or may not say can appear quite easily during these times. This anticipation can get in the road not only what’s going to be heard next but also how you will respond to what’s about to be said, as your response has already been charged with the emotion of what has been happening in your mind.
- Self-centered listening and understanding
Although this is a common way of how most communication is handled in everyday life, this self-centered way of listening and understanding can be one of the primary ways of misunderstanding what is trying to be communicated and can create a lot of disharmony within a partnership. If your only listening to what being said through the lens of your own self-image, and that means you relate everything that is being said to yourself, comparing yourself to them, assessing whether you have had better or worse experiences than them and evaluating how what’s being said is reflecting upon you, effective communication will become problematic.
- Past traumas or past relationships getting in the way
As human being, we are in constant relationship and communication with other human beings and even before birth, the sounds of speech has its effects on us. However, particular traumatic events or past relationships can leave a distinctive mark on the way messages are sent and received and these can cause a disruption in how intimate you feel in communicating with your partner and also how you anticipate what you hear or how its interpreted.
How Marriage Counselling can help
Within and through the process of relationship counselling, it can be confronting but ultimately relieving experience to be able to identify, understand and work-through some of these communication blockages that can create a widening distance between two people and bring them back to a point where communication between two people can be enjoyable and effortless once more.
I offer relationship, marriage and couples counselling in Melbourne in private practice in Carlton. If you or your partner identify within one or any of this points raised in this short article and feel that marriage counselling maybe be a helpful process, please contact me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0420496599.
Marriage Counselling Melbourne
Paul Reid – Counselling & Psychotherapy
96 Elgin Street, Carlton