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Interpersonal Communication Issues in the Marriage Research Paper

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Updated: May 25th, 2020

Dear Jen and Peter,

I write you this letter after receiving news that your relationship is not going as expected. In this letter, I will discuss with you the factors that I consider relevant to sustain any relationship. I will try and show you how different factors affect your interpersonal relationships. You might already be aware of some of these factors, while others might not be obvious. These factors might also affect your relationship in a positive or a negative way. I will pay close attention to interpersonal communication, which is the type of communication you use in your relationship. By the end of my letter, I expect to have explained to you how barriers of interpersonal communication affect your relationship, how to develop self concept and its benefits, how non verbal cues affect your relationship, the importance of self disclosure in your relationship, and how attitudes affect your relationship.

Barriers to interpersonal communication may lead to feelings of neglect

The fact that the two of you are having difficulties in your relationship might not necessarily mean that you are the problem. As you might already know, a critical aspect in any form of relationship is communication. Indeed, there are several barriers to interpersonal communication that might be the problem with your relationship. These barriers might make your partner feel neglected and unwanted, even if this is not the intention. You might or might not be aware of the existence of these barriers in your relationship. Some of the barriers that might be pulling your relationship backward include, but are not limited to, lack of attention, cultural differences, stereotypes, and emotional barriers. These barriers might make one partner feel neglected and unloved, thus they might be the root cause of the problems in your relationship.

Lack of attention might add up to poor listening skills. Listening is as important as talking in any communication process (Collins, 2009). It is, therefore, very important that whenever one partner is speaking, the other listens attentively. The importance of good listening skills in interpersonal communication cannot be underestimated. It is important to listen in order to know how to respond (Collins, 2009).

Cultural differences should also be highly considered when you are thinking about interpersonal communication barriers that are hindering your relationship. Cultural differences in this sense do not necessarily refer to the places or social class where you come from, but on how you were raised. My advice to you would be to understand each other’s cultures in order to have a successful relationship in a multi-cultural world. This entails knowing the other person’s boundaries and respecting them, among other things. Gestures and other non verbal cues should also be considered in the process of learning of each other’s cultures.

For example, you might find that your partner considers putting your legs on top of the table as rude, and it annoys her/him more every time you do it. You end up disagreeing over such a trivial matter. It is, therefore, very important that you learn each other’s boundaries with regard to culture and respect the boundaries. According to Mayer (2007), in the book “Effective Interpersonal Communications in a Multi-cultural Work Environment”, he argues that identifying the cultural differences of any form of interpersonal communication will show the potential threats that are looming and avoid them with tact.

Developing self concept is important in understanding your partner

Self concept is your view of yourself. Self concept is a very important factor in any form of relationship. The way you perceive yourself will not only tell you more about yourself, but it will also tell you more about your partner. If you have never thought about how you view yourself as a person, then that is the first step in mending your relationship. The issue of self concept also affects how you communicate with each other.

For example, you will be too proud to say sorry or admit when you are wrong if you are overly confident. If you are too shy, on the other hand, you will have the tendency to draw back and not stand up for yourself. It is also true that how we communicate with one another expounds on our self concept (West & Lyn, 2011). There are two things that you will have to consider when trying to figure out how self concept is shaped in both you and your partner. These two factors are experience and feedback.

Experience entails having detailed knowledge of your partner’s past. This shapes self concept due to the interactions that they had with other people in the past. I, for example, have a friend who is very shy and cannot, therefore, stand up for herself since she was bullied constantly in high school. This affects her interpersonal relationships as she appears very vulnerable. Resultantly, her partner has taken all forms of control over her. Even though her partner does not do this out of malice, it does not help her in any way.

Feedback, on the other hand, is how your partner responds to you. You probably know the strengths and weaknesses in one another after being together for a while. You should, therefore, be in a position to tell what your partner will find disturbing and what they will find exciting. Your feedback in all matters should never demean your partner’s self esteem since you already have a close relationship. Such feedback will lead to misunderstanding. It will also lead to the shaping of the specific partner’s self concept.

Your words can affect his/her attitude, behavior and perception

There are very many times when we say things that we do not mean. This causes chaos and miscommunication. Words are very powerful tools, thus you should use words carefully. It is very common to find that the words we use can, in any setting of communication, change mood, behavior, attitude, and perception.

Words can affect our attitudes in various ways. For example, my attitude would change regardless of how I was feeling before if someone were to tell me that I was beautiful in the morning and then another person says the same thing to me mid-morning. I would know that I look good and get the reassurance that everything would be okay that day. In the same way, the words that you use toward each other and toward other people in your relationship affect your interpersonal communication. Your words can make your partner happy or sad.

The words that we use also affect how we see things. This is our perception. For example, my perception of a person would be that he is a gentleman if I were to see him opening the door of a building for a lady. In the same way, my perception of him would be that he is a gentleman if he were to bump into someone and apologize. However, my perception of the person would change if he bumped into someone and got mad and quickly walked away. In your relationship, the words that you use toward each other shape your partner’s perception about you. You might have been perfect to each other in the beginning; however, certain characteristics that you learnt later on might have changed your view of each other. It is important to know these characteristics and discuss how to solve them.

Lastly, in this regard, your words affect each other’s behavior toward yourself and other people (Manusov & Harvey, 2001). In your relationship, for example, soft words might make your partner calm down during an argument. However, you will both be hostile if both of you are mad and use abusive words toward each other. It is also very true that how you talk to each other can make your partner love you or despise you more.

For example, Jen would most probably not feel sorry if Jen were to do something that annoyed Peter and Peter shouted at her and insulted her. She can actually do something worse just to annoy Peter more so that he can apologize for calling her names. In the same breath, Jen would have felt bad and apologized if Peter were to tell Jen that he did not like what she did. An argument would have been avoided, and this would have appeased both of you. You need to know that apologizing is not a sign of weakness.

Perceptions, emotions and non verbal cues affect our interpersonal relationships

Now that I have explained how our perceptions of ourselves affect our relationships, it is mandatory to explain that how others perceive us also affects our interpersonal relationships. There are very many couples just like you who have bad perceptions of each other, and they end up separating. You must acknowledge each other’s weaknesses in order to avoid this. You can also shape each other’s perception through your behavior and your language. Your partner will assume that you are very violent if you talk harshly. However, they will assume that you are caring if you talk softly.

Emotions also play a huge role in interpersonal relationships. The fact that you are a couple shows that you have deep emotional ties. You will have to use emotions to connect with one another for interpersonal relationships that are very close. Your partner will think that you do not care and change the perception that he or she has about you if you do not do this. Too many emotions toward the wrong person might also cause problems in such a close relationship. For example, talking and becoming close friends with someone that your partner does not like can cause such problems.

Non verbal cues, on the other hand, are very important in any communication process. Non verbal cues like public display of affection can strengthen or weaken your interpersonal relationship. These cues are also very important in decoding messages (Knapp & Daly, 2002). Non verbal cues that you use when you are together and with others can positively or negatively affect your interpersonal relationship. For example, Peter will know that Jen is proud to be associated with him if Jen holds your (Peter’s) hand when you are in the supermarket. However, if you (Jen) keep pushing his hand away every time you are in public, it will show that you do not want other people to see you together or realize that you are in a relationship.

The level of self disclosure you are in affects your interpersonal relationship

Self disclosure can be defined as the revealing or telling about oneself to others. Most people fear telling each other about their deepest self due to fear of rejection or fear of getting hurt. Self disclosure comes with vulnerability that most people do not like. However, you will have to go through several stages of self disclosure for close interpersonal relationships like yours to work. These stages are cliché communication, facts and biographical information, attitudes and personal ideas, personal feelings, and the final stage is peak communication. Self disclosure is very important in interpersonal communication because it brings out our individual differences. Learning to trust your partner by telling them everything about yourself, yet knowing that some of the things you value are not a priority to him/her is important (West & Turner, 2010)

One reveals only the general things to the other person at the cliché communication stage. The second stage is the biographical information stage. Here, people talk about their hometown, their background, and to some extent, their families, but they do not go into detail. The third stage involves attitudes and personal ideas. Here, the involved persons talk about their likes and dislikes and some differences are noted. After this stage, the involved individuals move to the personal feelings stage. In this stage, the involved individuals tell each other their secrets, beliefs, perceptions, and the communication process gets deeper. The last stage is the peak communication stage. This is where the involved persons discuss intimate things and experiences.

You might be wondering why I have decided to tell you about the levels of self disclosure. This decision was based on the fact that one partner might be in one level of self disclosure, while the other is in another level. This will cause a lot of problems in your relationship. It is, therefore, advisable to understand the different levels of self disclosure in order to know where both of you are.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would like to affirm the fact that barriers in interpersonal communication, self concept, non verbal cues, self disclosure and attitudes, and perceptions affect your relationship. I recommend that you should start by identifying all the barriers to interpersonal communication that are present in your relationship in order to save your relationship. This will help you improve your listening skills. I would also like to recommend that you pay close attention to your cultural differences since many people ignore cultural differences and end up unhappy. Learning to compromise with each other will also help you better your relationship. It is very important that you also help each other build self concept and self esteem. This will not only bring you closer, but it will also ensure that you know your partner better. With nothing else to add, I wish you all the best in your relationship and congratulations on your engagement.

References

Collins, S. D. (2009). Module 5: Interpersonal communication listening and responding: Listening. Mason, OH: Western Cengage Learning.

Knapp, M. L., & Daly, J. A. (2002). Handbook of interpersonal communication. Sage, CA: Sage Publications.

Manusov, V., & Harvey, J. H. (2001). Attribution, communication behavior, and close relationship. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Mayer, F. (2007). Effective interpersonal communications in a multi-cultural work environment. Germany: Grin Verlag.

West, R. & Turner, L. H. (2010). Understanding interpersonal communication: Making choices in changing times. Boston, MA: Lyn Uhl Publishers.

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