Talks To Have Before Getting Married: Communication Styles

If you are reading this, there is probably a Congratulations in order?? Well congrats! Or you may be a parent or friend, reading this to pass along the information. Your child or friend will thank you later! So far we have learned of the importance of talking about expectations, roles and rules, and styles of love. Today we will talk about communication. To me, this is the most important one! If you can't communicate any of these things to your partner, what good will they do to know them?  So listen up- this is REALLY important!

What are your communication styles? Can you say what you mean and understand what you hear from the other person? Some of the most destructive patterns in relationships are based on communication issues, and can determine the success of the marriage. These patterns are as follows:

Shutting down & giving silent treatment. Where communication halts and one or both people use various tactics to derail the communication. Most commonly, it refers to one person remaing silent and refusing to answer a question or respond to the other during a conversation or dialog. 

Hurtful & blaming criticism. A person is overly critical in a shaming manner to the other, constantly looking at and pointing out the negative in a shaming way. It can also show itself in the form of extreme rigidity that shuts the other person down where they quit sharing. This kind of communication uses words like “You always...”, “You never...” and “You are so (insert judging and hurtful adjective here)”...

Defensiveness and Reactivity: This is where, after feeling criticized and attacked, the receiver goes into defensive mode and becomes reactive. At this point, the communication is truly going nowhere, because the primary issue isn’t being heard. More than likely, because of the way it was presented. This is common— and destructive— especially in couples with communication that is already unhealthy.

Treating your partner like you don’t even like who they are. Sometimes this is a “look”, or an attitude.  Whether words or an attitude, it’s communicating a lack of respect, accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike. Again,  it can take form as a behavior, attitude, or a feeling. 

These are only a few of the communication issues that we see. They can have a drastic impact on the outcome of a marriage. Work on the communiation issues before getting married, as marriage won't fix them. You can only do that as a couple!

Written by Natalie Chandler

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville