Lastly, one thing often assumed in poor communication is personal intent. This means when your spouse makes a statement or observation, we assume attack and assertion because we are geared to be uptight and stressed during our conversations. We take words personally where they are not intended to be.
Instead, we must retrain our minds to assume that our spouse is innocent of personal intent. That what they’re saying is not meant to be a deeply hurtful criticism, an abandonment of their love for us, a signal that they believe we are failures or an unspoken but fully intended finger-pointing accusation. Try a different angle and listen to their words—probably spoken emotionally due to poor communication in your history—and assume that they’re saying the words out of frustration or hurt, but not with the intent to skewer you emotionally.
Granted, sometimes, the hard truth is we say hurtful things with the intent of hurting the other person. So, assuming innocence isn’t foolproof. But it’s a better and safer way toward good communication to presume innocence until guilt is uncovered.
Remember, poor communication in marriage can range in degrees of intensity. This article is not at all intended to be a fix-all for marriages struggling deeply with abuse, or PTSD from past relationships or childhood, etc. Many serious and severe facets can influence poor communication. So, it will be important to identify if any of these are directly affecting your personal set of circumstances.
But if you have a relatively healthy marriage, healthy home, and stable upbringing, communication can still be poor simply because we’re not good at it! This is when much of what you’ve read here can be more effective.
In the end, you need to be honest with yourself and your spouse as to the degree of severity your communication is suffering. Then, take the proper and appropriate steps to work toward healing that.
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