Good Communication + Problem Solving = Good Marriages
The importance of good communication cannot be overstated. However, acting upon the information you communicate is vital to solving problems in your marriage. For instance, suppose you and your spouse have a small sexual problem in your marriage. Perhaps your spouse needs sex approximately three times per week – while you only need sex two times per week. You and your spouse communicate your needs/feelings to one another. Problem solved, right?
Wrong! This is how it usually works. Suppose the husband needs sex three times per week and the wife only needs sex two times per week. After an excellent time of communication, the husband now feels the wife understands his needs for sex – it should be better next week – he believes. The wife has explained to the husband how she only needs sex two times per week. Additionally, she’s illustrated how sex three times per week is quite challenging – given her responsibilities with the house and children. The wife now believes the husband understands the situation, surely he’ll only ask for sex two times per week now.
Although both husband and wife are truly communicating their feelings, needs and desires – no problem solving has taken place. It’s quite likely the husband will continue attempting to get sex three times per week and the wife will most likely resist – feeling he should understand that twice per week as enough. Conflict will continue to arise in this relationship – only now – the relationship has more problems.
The wife feels the husband is inconsiderate and only thinking of himself and his penis. The husband is feeling pretty much the same way – after all - how can she resist his sexual needs when she now understands he needs sex three times per week? Even worse, both husband and wife have less faith in “communication” as it’s only made the problem worse. What’s missing in the communication is basic “problem solving”.
Problem solving is recognizing how, when and where the conflict arises – then finding and agreeing on steps to resolve those conflicts. For example, suppose the husband and wife had continued their discussion – discovering that each could get what they need if the husband would agree to help with the kids and the house – freeing time for one extra night of sex each week?
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, unfortunately this is the step that’s often left out of communication and the marriage suffers as a result. Both husband and wife should make a commitment to be “problem solvers”. Your marriage will blossom.