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day-old thai tea sits on my table, and i have to resist the urge to put straw to lips

May 19, 2015

1) so the young marriage is apparently not like others; the question is, what meaning does that make for me?

2) still i ask myself how this can go on for another ten, eleven years. it has to, but how? i see two distant figures so battered, emerging from this season

3) Given these gains, communication is one of the most frequently taught skills for the improvement of the marital relationship. However, communication skills are only as effective as they are employed. There are myriad reasons for neglecting communication skills. For instance, in seasons of conflict, a partner is likely to be rather disinclined to make the effort of active listening, empathising and validating that is so important to good communication. Fowers thus argues for the inclusion of virtues in a discussion of communication skills. Fowers also perceptively observes that the goodness of a marriage is more than the sum of a couple’s communication skills, and that other capacities, such as the ability to articulate the rich narrative of a strong marriage, and the personal character strength of the couple, is perhaps even more fundamental to a deeply satisfying marriage

I’ve been working on an essay on marital communication. I especially like the last few lines – the goodness of a marriage is more than the sum of a couple’s communication skills, and that… the ability to articulate the rich narrative of a strong marriage, and the personal character strength of the couple, is perhaps even more fundamental to a deeply satisfying marriage (than pro communication skills).

For instance, active listening comes with the character quality of self-restraint, or self-control. Practising self-control allows the listener to hold his or her defensive tongue and attend to the partner’s point of contention. Without self-control, active listening is near impossible, especially in heated disagreements. Self-control allows the gift of attention to come through and acknowledges the spouse’s right to be heard. Incumbent with this gift is the value of generosity – one has to be generous, or gracious, to place one’s spouse before oneself, to allow the spouse to be listened to, acknowledged, and engaged with. Fowers points out that acknowledgement of one’s spouse can be costly, especially when the spouse is putting forth unflattering views of oneself. In such circumstances, acknowledging the right and validity of the marital relationship can be very taxing. However, the refusal of oneself to acknowledge the spouse’s concerns or validate them can be extremely damaging to the marital relationship. Validation affirms the right of one’s spouse to claim truth, even if the truth is very unpleasant (Fowers 2001).

Validation affirms the right of one’s spouse to claim truth, even if the truth is very unpleasant”.

So much to go on here. My thoughts so far: not all communication is consciously intentional and reflective; perhaps, sometimes communication needs to float on a sunny sea before the heavier stuff feels safe to emerge – because they read the barometer and know the weather can hold them.

More stuff: Burleson and Denton discovered an interesting difference in cause and effect for men in distressed and nondistressed marriages. In the latter, husbands were better able to identify their spouse’s intentions, and consequently reported greater satisfaction with their spouses and marriages. In distressed marriages, however, husbands were less able to identify their spouse’s intentions, and appeared to care little whether they could or not, preferring to completely drop the ability. Overall, the lesson appears to be that husbands like more of a good thing and make efforts to unearth more of their spouse’s positive intentions, but when upset, retreat within themselves and stop caring.

I am clearly verging on non-academic writing – nearly put the word caveman in there – did you spot where? – and also clearly lapsing into disjointed thoughts and nonsense. Oh, but it is getting late… you should see my first drafted attempt at understanding academic befuddlebunk – I’ll show you

“Gendered – when they are happy they chum better – i happy, i can tell your intentions, and i’m pleased that i can plus means our marriage is good. i not happy, i cannot tell, i don’t care whateverz.”

And just for fun, the actual paragraph-

“We found complex and contingent patterns of association between individuals’ communication skills and their marital satisfaction. A particularly interesting result was obtained for perceptual accuracy, the ability to infer correctly a spouse’s intentions. Perceptual accuracy was positively related to indices of marital satisfaction for those in nondistressed marriages, but was unassociated with marital satisfaction for those in distressed marriages (with the sign of the association being negative). This pattern was most pronounced for men. Further, the magnitudes of the associations observed between perceptual accuracy and marital satisfaction differed significantly for the samples of distressed and nondistressed husbands. This pattern of associations makes a good deal of sense because spouses in distressed marriages had more negative intentions toward their partners than spouses in nondistressed marriages. Individuals, especially husbands, in nondistressed marriages appear to feel more positively about their spouses when they are better able to detect the spouse’s positive intentions. In contrast, individuals in distressed marriages like their spouses better when they are less able to detect the spouse’s negative intentions. Consistent with these results, social perception skills (i.e., levels of cognitive complexity) of nondistressed husbands were positively associated with liking for their wives, but these variables were unrelated among distressed husbands. Overall, these results suggest that perceptual skills may enhance the husband’s marital satisfaction when the marriage is basically a happy one, but further suggest that ignorance is bliss when the news supplied by perceptual skills tends to be unpleasant (Burleson and Denton 1997)”.

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