Communication always happens within the context of relationship.
Communication needs relationships to exist and relationships need communication to survive.
Every relationship in your life is different. Each contains a different amount of shared history, vulnerability, mutual benefit, and intimacy, which all influence how and what you communicate.
The relationship I have with my mailman contains only of him driving to my house and putting mail in my mailbox. I respectfully keep the area in front of the mailbox clear to help make his job easier and if I happen to be outside and see him deliver the mail, I’ll give him a friendly nod or neighborly wave. The only communication we need to maintain our relationship is when I put the red flag up on the mailbox to alert him of the letter I placed there.
Even advertising is communication in relationship. Hundreds of companies and brands communicate with me every day. We have a relationship. The best brands invest heavily into the relationship with customers by communicating the benefit of the relationship. Customers can become so loyal they view their relationship with the company as a part of their personal identity. For example, the most fanatic customers of Apple are known as Apple evangelists. Apple has built strong relationships with its customers through effective communication.
My son loves to talk to me about Legos. Our conversation is about the details of his “wild style motorcycle” and its multitude of guns, but we are mostly communicating about our relationship. The words are about Legos but more importantly the meaning contained in the words communicate my delight in him and his creativity, which builds our connection. I can talk about Legos with anyone. I’ve even had conversations on Twitter about Legos, but the relationship I have with people on Twitter is much different than the relationship I have with my son.
Marriage is a one of a kind relationship. Marriage contains exclusive benefits financially, sexually, and emotionally. Your communication must reflect the unique status of marriage.
Problems arise in marriage when communication doesn’t take into account the depth of the relationship. You cannot communicate with your spouse like they are the mailman. The lack depth will starve your connection.
You’re going to have problems if you treat your marriage like a business and your spouse like a commodity. Some people try to run their marriage like an exchange but often become control freaks and bankrupt the connection.
Parent child relationships are meaningful and precious but never treat your spouse like a child. Many marriages fall into that pattern of interaction which grossly distorts the relationship and often ends with much resentment.
Marriage is special and your marriage is unique. The level of intimacy in your relationship will reflect the level of intimacy in your communication. You must adjust the level of communication to match the level of intimacy you want in your relationship.
Their communication, and yours, consists of 2 main parts. First, the actual words shared, what I call logistics, and second, the meaning of the words, or the emotion the words evoke.
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