Effective communication in marriage can be challenging particularly when somebody feels they’re not being heard.
Recently, a bride and groom came to meet with me to see if I will be the right fit for them to officiate their Jewish marriage ceremony. As part of getting to know each other, we had a great discussion around communication and marriage. You see, when I meet with couples it’s not just about the Jewish wedding ceremony that I will officiate for them, we have a holistic talk about marriage and what goes into making a successful marriage. Because I want to set up my brides and grooms for success.
There’s no such thing as a marriage without arguments. Whether it’s over small things like whose turn it is to do the dishes, or big topics like whether to have kids, conflicts arise.
It’s how we communicate about these conflicts that defines a marriage. But even if your communication skills aren’t perfect, you can always improve them.
Do you ever feel like you’re having the same argument with your spouse over and over? Like, no matter how many times you bicker about it, you know you’ll have to revisit it in the future.
“Communication issues are extremely common in relationships,” says Marina Krugolets, a licensed mental health counselor in Lake Grove, New York. “Couples often have difficulty communicating about finances, chores, trust and jealousy, parenting, intimacy, spending time together, and tidiness.”
If these issues are not fully resolved, there’s a good chance it will keep coming back up until both partners feel it’s been fairly put to rest.
But, what happens if — as many arguments often do — it does not get resolved and drags on for weeks or months at a time?
Criticism and contempt can lead to a shutdown of communication and an unwillingness to find a path forward.
The Jewish bride and groom who met with me really wanted to dive in and really understand what is effective communication in a marriage. The key to effectively communicating in a marriage is listening.
Factors of active listening can include:
* your tone
* avoiding misinterpretations of tone with written communication (through text, for instance) * body language
“I find it’s so important for couples to learn how to do reflective listening, which helps to clarify their partner’s feelings, needs, and expectations,” says Battistin. “Once they start utilizing the skill, they feel understood, heard, and valued.”
My Jewish bride and groom left my office feeling very confident that not only was I the right person to officiate their Jewish wedding ceremony, but that they knew how to effectively communicate and set their marriage up for success. They realize that the wedding day itself is just one day and of course it’s meant to be beautiful and memorable. But they have the rest of their lives to grow and build their relationship. And as a Cantor who officiates Jewish weddings, I feel it’s my responsibility to use not only the learnings from my marriage, but having been in the cantorial profession for over 20 years and seen marriages that work and do not work, I do my best to set up Jewish brides and grooms for success.