Communicating Effectively for New Couples Essay

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Congratulations on your engagement. It marks a huge milestone in life and on this happy occasion, I wish to enlighten you about effective interpersonal communication via information I learned in a course I took as well as my personal experiences. Familiarity with a partner's communication approach and application of both non-verbal and verbal communication has extreme significance in relationships. It will contribute a great deal in decreasing instances of miscommunication. A key point to note is: conflict is inevitable in all human relationships and no marriage is without conflict; however, successful relationships arise out of effective conflict resolution or management. I am aware of the deep affection you both hold for one another, which will undoubtedly aid you in weathering any storms in your relationship. I intend for this letter to guide you on obstacles to effective communication, ways to surmount them, use of communication for self-improvement and improvement of your significant other, interpersonal conflict resolution via communication, and influence of cultures and genders on communication.

Principles of and Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Communications

Communication represents an inescapable aspect of human life. One can't just "not communicate" -- this phrase has been typically employed for illustrating the fact of constant inevitable human communication. Even when you aren't verbally expressing your views, feelings, etc., your body language, clothes, and facial expressions are visible to you partner, who will derive meanings from them (Braithwaite & Schrodt, 2014). Further, communication is an irreversible process, which means you cannot retract any offensive or hurtful words you said at a later time. All you can do is feel remorse and say sorry, but this can leave a slightly bitter permanent mark. Communication is a complex process. Dr. Julia Wood's (2015) definition of communication is: communication denotes a systemic phenomenon of personal interaction using symbols for creating and interpreting meanings. Finally, communication is a contextual process, occurring within contextual frameworks, including psychological, cultural, relational, and situational contexts.

There are three commonly identified obstacles to spousal communication: First, residual negative emotions from past relationships which, if bottled up, will haunt a person and surface when one least anticipates them to. These are activated by similar circumstances in life, which crop up unconsciously. So long as one fails to recognize and give vent to them, they can adversely impact your communication with your partner as he/she will be unaware of the real source of your overreaction (Stewart, 2002). For getting over negative emotions, you must be honest with your betrothed, sharing all emotions and problems you experience. After all, it has been rightly said that sharing a problem half solves it.

Secondly, poor self-esteem has enormous ill-effects on a person's interpersonal communication. Be bold enough to convey your thoughts (they are definitely worthy) as the inability to do so sends the wrong, misleading message to your partner, and he/she will end up believing whatever they wish (which may differ from what your message intended) (Stewart, 2002).

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For surmounting poor self-esteem, believe the fact that you both are equally important partners in your engagement; both are necessary for this engagement to hold. Further, take accountability of your actions and communication, and wherever necessary, communicate with your betrothed.

Finally, relationships lacking commitment suffer communication obstacles. Non-commitment generally arises from not knowing one's expectations or lacking the pluck to do the right things. Non-commitment contributes significantly to interpersonal communication, as it can be easily detected and we all dislike it. Effective communication with an indifferent partner begins basically by drawing his/her attention to it (Stewart, Let your partner know that you wish for their attention, or that they must change their indifferent attitude when communicating as it bothers you.

The Role of Communication in Developing and Maintaining One's Self-Concept, Self-Image, and Self-Esteem

Just like all other skills, building one's self-image requires the devotion of effort and time. Development of superior self-esteem entails harboring positive, reasonable thoughts of oneself and the surrounding world, recognizing one's value and portraying responsible behavior towards other people. Self-esteem deals with self-respect rather than self-absorption. It develops by working inside out (change your outlook prior to altering external circumstances). Such positive thinking should aim at developing a positive self-concept: You need to have an honest view of yourself and accept yourself, eliminating every internal obstacle preventing you from being at your best. The present world is highly complicated and complex and to effectively tackle the challenges currently encountered, developing a sound personal foundation is imperative (Knapp & Hall, 2010). This foundation must encompass self-knowledge, self-confidence and self-love. A healthy or positive self-concept necessitates: knowing yourself, loving yourself, and being honest with yourself. Sound communication aids in developing self-image, self-esteem, and self-concept, because of the ensuing feedback; moreover, sustained positive feedback aids in maintaining these aspects. Self-concept is maintained by one's interpersonal relationships. Remember that both your partner's and your self-concept has undergone continual transformation over time and shaped your current selves. Your many relationships (with family, friends, etc.) aid you in defining yourself.

Levels of Self-Disclosure and Emotional Intelligence in Various Relationships

Self-disclosure forms an integral tool to establish rapport in relationships. Different relationships entail one's communication of different facts regarding self. At first, you may hesitate to let your partner know of all your intimate secrets. Effective communication skills encompass knowing proper self-disclosure levels. The social penetration theory put forward in the year 1973 likened disclosure to peeling layers of an onion (Bevan & Sole, 2014). With the strengthening of your relationship, you will automatically start opening up and letting your partner know more about yourself. Bear in mind that open communication forms the answer to a successful marriage. This entails sharing all things with one another and leaving no secret untold.

After understanding and knowing yourself, you….....

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Bevan, J. L., & Sole, K. (2014). Making connections: Understanding interpersonal communication (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Bevan, J. L., Hefner, V., & Love, A. (2014). An exploration of topics, conflict styles, and rumination in romantic nonserial and serial arguments. Southern Communication Journal, 79(4), 347-360.

Braithwaite, D. O., & Schrodt, P. (Eds.). (2014). Engaging theories in interpersonal communication: Multiple perspectives. Sage Publications.

Knapp, M. L & Hall, J. A. (2010). Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction (7th Edition). Wadsworth.

Malouff, J. M., Schutte, N. S. & Thorsteinsson, E. B. (2014). Trait Emotional Intelligence and Romantic Relationship Satisfaction: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Family Therapy, 42(1), 53-66.

Rosenblatt, P. C. & Rieks, S. J. (2009). No Compromise: Couples Dealing with Issues for Which They Do Not See a Compromise. American Journal of Family Therapy, 37(3), 196-208.

Stewart. J. (ed.) (2002). Bridges not walls: A book About interpersonal communication. New York: Mcgraw Hill.

Wood, J. (2011). Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture. Wadsworth.

Wood, J. T. (2015). Interpersonal communication: Everyday encounters. Nelson Education.

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