When you were dating, communicating with your loved one was so easy. What happened now that you are married? You find you don’t feel so close anymore. Hurt feelings get in the way. Maybe the other just doesn’t seem interested anymore. This is probably due to some of the seven communication barriers below.
After marriage, couples become busy with their jobs, getting the home nice, perhaps kids come along and they don’t have as much free time to spend with each other. Communication becomes more about catching up with things but not about supporting each other and dreaming about plans together. Lack of time is a definite communication barrier.
When communication seems superficial, it is because the topics are not very emotionally involved such as weather, how was your day, about your past, present or future experiences, movies, and about surface things nothing personal. Satisfying communication that promotes a deep feeling of closeness is Level 2 or 3. Level 1 occurs about 80-90% of the time. Level 2 increases risk as it is about personal things like your ideas, opinions, feelings values and thoughts and averages about 10-20% of conversations. Level 3 which is the most rewarding is unfortunately only 1-2% of communication. Level 3 is validation. Always positive – expressing love, appreciation, respect and gratitude. This is the level that makes us really feel close and loved. To overcome communication barriers of depth, spend more time opening up and appreciating your spouse.
Most communication is nonverbal (60%) which leads to people making assumptions as to meaning of these nonverbal clues. The communication barriers of assuming a meaning can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and hurt feelings. Things as simple as how the door was closed, whether a smile was given when arriving, how clean the house is, or a swear word not directed towards anyone can mean a multitude of things. Based on the couple’s history together and even history with prior partners and family growing up, the spouse will interpret a meaning that could be wrong. Then their actions that follow could escalate a situation that didn’t need to if the correct assumption was made.
We filter our communication through our beliefs. Barriers to communication are hard to predict based on these prior beliefs. Some are based on gender. If we believe that husbands just act louder, we may find when our husband is louder than usual, we don’t acknowledge that something is wrong but decide they are just acting normal instead of angry. Men may ignore their wives’ crying because they believe that women just cry over everything instead of responding to something being wrong. These prejudices can be over religion, economic status, culture, education and even past history. If we had a prior boyfriend who always behaved a certain way when he felt something, we might assume that our husband will also. When we make a wrong interpretation, we don’t fulfill our spouse’s needs with our actions.
Personal foibles can add to barriers for communication. One spouse might talk fast and like lots of detail while the other spouse is more slow and just covers the basics. One might talk more about future plans while the other likes to reminisce about the past. One might like to think out loud while the other plans carefully before speaking. The awareness of these differences would be solving skills to have.
The communication barriers include certain gender differences between men and women. Men and women talk differently. Men prefer to be actively doing something when they are talking. Men are usually more direct and pointed. Women will tell part of a story and expect men to ask questions or understand. Women are better at looking for meaning by reading between what has been said. They also hint more.
LACK OF UNDERSTANDING
How to overcome communication barriers of misunderstanding is hard because many times the listener doesn’t know they have misunderstood the message. The sender may be feeling hurt, frustrated and feeling like the listener doesn’t care about them so they become more distant and stop talking more. If this continues, couples often find someone else who understands them and leave the marriage to find the love and closeness they desire. THIS DOES NOT NEED TO HAPPEN! Communication skills can be learned and everyone needs to do this.