One of the most important skills for couples to have in a relationship is the ability to communicate in an effective manner. Communication is necessary in order to disclose with a partner and build intimacy. It is also necessary in order to resolve conflict that occurs in the course of the relationship. David Knox and Caroline Schacht, authors of the textbook Choices in Relationships, identify fifteen strategies that are important to the development of effective communication in relationship. These communication principles can be modified and applied to many types of interpersonal relationships, but all fifteen are vital for communication in a healthy relationship with a romantic or life partner.
The first principle that Knox and Schacht point out is that communication needs to be a priority (97). Making sure that there is time to talk uninterrupted and giving each other undivided attention are important keys to this. The book notes that "obsessive passion of involvement of the Internet" and excessive video gaming negatively impacts couples ' communications (98). I have experienced this first hand: for many years of our marriage, my husband played video games for hours at a time and often stayed up all night. Our communication basically shut down because he was overly involved in the games, and I was angry because I felt ignored. Over the years, especially after we had children, as the gaming lessened our communication improved greatly as we put a higher priority on talking and sharing.
The second and third principles discussed by the authors are avoiding negative or hurtful statements and saying positive things to each other (99). Even when one partner does something hur...
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...ugh Communication and Conflict Management Training: A 4- and 5- Year Follow-Up, the authors studied participants who attended a five session program which was designed to teach effective communication and manage conflict, and a control group who did not attend the program (70). The authors found that the couples that attended the program had higher positive communication, lower negative communication, and lower levels of domestic violence as well than those in the control group who did not participate in the program (70). This shows that effective communication skill can be taught and these skills do impact the stability and well-being of partners in relationships. I think that good communication skills, as a vital part of any relationship, should be strived for and that counselling and other communication skills programs are a good source of obtaining those skills.
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