By Jonah Nyoni
LAST week we started on the marriage series for this column. Marriage is a big and yet multifaceted institution that has suffered dearly because of miscommunication and misunderstanding of each other. Women communicate differently from men and so are men. As we walk into a marriage we bring past experiences, different viewpoints, and above that different personality types. That takes someone who is mature, aware of themselves and their spouse.
Some marriages suffer to the point of divorce because the two people involved have not mastered the art of communication. Some people are in perennial fights, to the point where one is injured or dies in the process. So, communication becomes that one ingredient that must be consciously leant and practised.
This is the most obvious level of communication. This is the use of a spoken, verbalised, or vocalised word. We need to be very thoughtful and conscious with the use of words. Words can leave a positive or negative effect on the one that receives that word.
Words might be coming out of the lips, but their source is the heart and the mind. Your heart will determine the emotion or feeling that is carried by the spoken word. The mind will determine the reasoning or wisdom or lack thereof carried by words.
Word clearly and creatively chosen will strengthen, encourage, inform, and empower your spouse.
Words recklessly picked will prickle, and anger your partner. So, listening to understand becomes very important. Don’t listen so as to answer. Some people have won in their arguments but lost their relations in the process. Yes, at times you might win the debate and feel good about it, but do you consider how your partner feels thereafter?
Words either grow love and intimacy or repeal that love and intimacy. Learn and master your words. Remember, there is intellectual talk and emotional talk and both must be well managed. Don’t raise your voice, rather raise the level of your thinking
Differences between genders
There are differences between women and men. These are two different beings that analyse and synthesise things differently. John Gray (1992:10), in his book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus wrote: “Without the awareness that we are supposed to be different, men and women are at odds with each other. We usually become angry and frustrated with the opposite sex because we have forgotten this important truth. We expect the opposite sex to be more like ourselves. We desire them to ‘want what we want’ and ‘feel the way we feel’”.
This leads to friction, frustration, and conflict in a relationship. So, when we become aware of our differences we start to appreciate disparity and communicate in a different way. Women are wired differently from men (and vise versa). So that makes men and women to cope differently with stress.
That makes them differ in their values, sex drive, in the way they express love/ affection, and the way they communicate. If we learn that, we will stop competing and blaming each other in relationships and start complimenting each other.
Respect and being supportive
Respect is important in a relationship. The way you respect your spouse will determine how you speak to them, speak with them and speak about them. When you are respected, it’s easy to give and show more love to your spouse. When your spouse, has an attitude, the best way to fight that is to raise the standard of your humility.
Parting point: There is more to talk about in marital communication. Healthy communication will lead to a healthy marriage. David Oswald said: “Communication must stay hot. That’s honest, open and two- way”