Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Have you bought into the commercialism of Father's Day, thinking fancy ties and expensive tools would bring you closer - only to find that you still want better communication with the important man in your life?

According to research findings on the effectiveness of marital therapy, communication was one of the most commonly reported and difficult to manage problems in marriage. It is well known that discrepancies in how men and women talk to each other can lead to further conflict as the partners begin to focus blame on themselves, each other or on the quality of the relationship.

Regardless of differences in attitude and opinion, long term partnerships often credit their relationship success to positive verbal interactions. Here, over the next couple of weeks, we'll share what a random selection of men had to say in a recent poll we took.

• Stuart indicated that it took a lot of attention and conscious thought to improve communication with his partner. “We need to give each other space because when our arguments escalate we have little resolution. Empathy is important, and I’m working hard on developing that. When I don’t think my wife’s criticisms are justified, I get defensive and upset. Often I don’t want to let her down so I try to fix it, whatever the problem is. Eventually the issue is resolved and we both get over it.”

• Paul and his wife have been married for thirty years and they have gradually learned how to deal with one another. “We can sense each other’s moods and we communicate well most of the time. We try to understand, even if we disagree. On occasion we both are stubborn and see things only our own way. We usually don’t change our opinions very much. But while we are fighting the battles, we think about the war. What is this all about? Is it really that important?"

• Tim was sensitive to criticism and sometimes shied away from confrontations. “Usually I can say what I’m thinking and what I want. I feel comfortable communicating without being demeaned or laughed at by my wife. If we have an inconsequential argument, one usually gives in or we compromise. But when we have significant disagreements I withdraw first and then we talk later. In the kinds of situations that can lead to further misunderstanding, sometimes I don’t totally share my feelings.”

Let us know your thoughts and stay tuned for more next week.

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