Chapter 7: Communication
Chapter 7 Summary: Communication
Communication is the life blood in the creating, maintaining and growth of couple relationships. In this chapter Martin expounds on the nature and need for communication in couple relationships and suggests that this can often best be learned in couples counselling.
Communication is that circulation within the couple relationship that brings necessary oxygen, nutrients, healing medication, and love to the development of a couple, and communication is that flow that eliminates poisons, wastes, and hurt so that a couple can live healthily. Without communication, a couple would fall into silence, wither away and die. More importantly, conversation fulfills one of our most important emotional needs, the need to know and be known. Emotionally focused couples therapy is great to help partners learn to communicate. Communication is also the mediation of differences.
Communication is, at the same time, a learned behaviour, a basic life skill, and an art form. We learned communication within our family of origin, be that for better or worse. Each one of us has the ability to change. We have to move from the old family rules, beliefs, stances of communication, ways of resolving differences, and conflicts, to a restructuring of our communication patterns. Counselling and psychotherapy can help me learn better ways to communicate, or cognitive therapy can teach me better communication tools. Martin presents three simple rules that make up the core theory of good communication in couple relationships so that love can grow and partners can thrive. These rules are: 1) talk nice; 2) listen well; and 3) don’t be scared. Communication in relationships is about knowing my partner better. This requires talking and listening. Martin introduces his Dialogue Wheel as one means to improved communication between partners and within families. “I am listening” is one of the better definitions of love. Couple communication needs to strive for and accept nothing less than a win-win outcome so that both partners feel part of and significant in the dialogue. The feeling of winning-winning is that feeling that enhances and strengthens couple relationship and love. Often couples can benefit from marriage counselling or couples therapy to learn and practice good communication.