The biggest challenge for couples is the art of communicating effectively with each other.

We live in a world that is very sophisticated, fast moving, challenging and demanding. It is within this world that committed intimate relationships such as a marriage, become a major source for people to find deep meaning, purpose and happiness.

A committed and loving relationship remains something that nearly everyone longs for, yet frequently people have so much trouble being able to maintain the love and deep connection with another.

Intimate relationships of all kinds enrich our lives while at the same time create the environment for each person to be confronted with many aspects of their innermost self.

Problems within a relationship typically begin when people resist stepping back and taking a long look at themselves and the role they play.

If a person does not learn how to step back and reflect on themselves, relationship problems always tend to escalate and communication between the couple will continuously falter.

Too busy to stop

The most commonly named problem that couples in distress consistently identify is to do with their communication breakdown. Couples often invest enormous personal energy into repeating destructive ways of relating. These couples become shackled to past evens, which begin to define and shape their relationship.

A foundation stone of all great relationships is the way in which couples express themselves and the listening experience they give to the other.

Confronting our own issues is a difficult and challenging task and not one that is easily embarked on. It is the primary reason why so many relationships spend a great deal of time stumbling around in a way that risks leading to marriage failure.

A major mistake that people frequently make when talking with their partner is to expect the words that flow from their mouths to actually do the work by themselves. However, words alone are insufficient.

The delivery is equally important as the message.

Consider a marketing campaign for example, the sale of any product in a supermarket. If, for example, the cereal you buy is wrapped in packaging that is colourless and without suggestion of health and flavour, you most likely would not purchase the product. The words you speak are similar; you have to package and present your words and ideas in a way that captures the attention of the person you are speaking to.

The biggest mistake made by the person listening is to assume that their role is one of being passive. What leads to a successful interaction is for the listener to be active in the listening process. It is the listeners’ job to ensure the speaker feels that what they are saying is indeed listened to and considered.

Pink headphones on a pastel background

It is important that couples allow the time to talk and listen with each other about the challenges they each face in life, as well as the joys and concerns about their life together.

Should one person refuse to discuss matters of concern for the other, the risk is one or both people eventually reaching the point where the relationship may not be sufficiently satisfying and nourishing for them.

A marriage is not a static relationship

In the situation where neither person is talking, there is no way to address the problems or preventing the situation from worsening.

A marriage and committed intimate relationship is not static. Relationships are frequently messy and challenging, and to succeed, a couple will always require the fundamental relationship building skill of communication.