More than 90 percent of the managers and professionals in our effective listening workshops were more interested in improving communication at home than at work. Divorce statistics disguise the widespread desire for harmonious, satisfying relationships at home. If effective communication increases productivity and satisfaction on a job that will end in retirement, what might it do for relationships you want to last a lifetime?
In marriage, the ability to negotiate differences is the greatest predictor of success. Effective negotiation requires effective communication. Of the four most frequently stated reasons for divorce, couples cited poor communication as the number one problem. Each of the other three most frequently stated reasons are all related to communication.
Money problems not only spring from lack of funds, but also from the question of “how do we spend what we have?” That is a communication problem. Problems with children have roots in disagreement on how to deal with the children, also a communication problem. Similarly, most sexual problems are due to communication difficulties. A sexual relationship involves communicating on many different levels. Ineffective communication will result in sexual dysfunction.
Seeing yourself through your partner’s eyes could work wonders,” suggests Samuel Schreiner, Jr. in his article, “A Question That Can Save Marriages.” Schreiner asks couples to ask themselves, “What is it like to be married to me?” As you answer this question you get your partner’s mindset and see, hear, and feel as your spouse would. You listen and talk to yourself as you perceive your partner to be listening and talking. Schreiner cites incidents of dramatic change that took place when spouses listened to themselves and realized how they must seem to the other. Herein lies hope. The Marriage Mirror will help you understand how you communicate and how you can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communication.