Marriage is a universal institution that brings together two persons, their souls and their families closer and encompasses a wide gamut of meanings and varied other aspects. It is a kind of contract between two individuals where they get united legally, economically and emotionally. According to Black Law Dictionary, “Marriage is the civil status of one man and one woman united under law for life, for the discharge of each other and the community, of the duties legally incumbent on those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex”. It brings legal and normative obligations for the two individuals. It is a private institution of great public concern.
While carrying on with this nuptial relationship, each partner wants to be emotionally nourished and satisfied to fullest extent. The condition of marital satisfaction thus becomes a subjective reality, closely related to marital adjustment, marital happiness and effecting marital stability. Absence of marital satisfaction can lead to shattered dreams, tethered understanding, tattered relations and withered lives.
The basic ingredient needed for experiencing marital satisfaction is the level of communication between the two individuals i.e. how well the spouses are able to express their feelings, desires and expectations to each other. Whether it may be an expression of affection, sexual satisfaction, reaching of consensus on a matter, management of conflicts, role distribution…all depends on the way one communicates. Either in verbal or in a non verbal way one should become adept in expressing oneself.
Lack of communication can prove disastrous. We can see an example here. Many people often like to focus on how they would like to be loved by their spouses. They tend to express their love in exactly the way they want to receive it, completely ignoring the thought how their spouse would like to be loved! Suppose the wife, in order to feel loved, would like her husband sings love songs for her or bring flowers for her whereas the husband wants her to encourage and admire him giving him positive reinforcement at appropriate times. Totally unaware of her husband’s needs and way he would like to be emotionally stimulated, the wife keeps on singing love songs for him. All this can prove extremely irritating for the husband, playing havoc in their relationship. Even the sexual needs and desires have to be communicated well. In the absence of it both of them could become dissatisfied dissolving the relationship and that too unrealizingly! Self disclosure thus becomes a key element in an effective communication which leads to mutual trust and respect. Communication thus can increase positive sense of satisfaction between the two partners increasing positive moments in their lives, taking the relationship to a higher pedestal.
There generally five levels of communication:
Sharing of general information
Sharing of facts
Sharing of opinions and beliefs
Sharing of feelings and emotions
Sharing of needs, intimate concerns, hopes and even fears
When the spouses are on level one it is like talking to a new acquaintance. At level two they are sharing only facts. At the third level they can learn more about each other through deeper discussions but remaining on this stage and getting stagnated here can become confrontational. Reaching level can assist them in understanding each other by bringing their feelings and emotions to the surface level. But the most desirable level to experience marital satisfaction and a for a stable relation is to reach the level where they get into the position of sharing their intimate concerns, fantasies, dreams and fears. It can keep the marriage pumping forward.
But styles of the communication can off course vary! One needs to recognize that everyone has a unique way of expressing and communicating. Gender differences do exist while doing so. Women tend to be more expressive than men on self disclosure of personal matters like love and intimacy while men can express their physical needs more vocally than the women. Marriage communication has four basic styles namely supportive, emotive, directive and reflective. An emotive person for example wants be the center of attraction and indulges in talking most of the time. But a reflective person on the other hand is quieter and spends time in thoughts rather than conversing. These two persons can be annoying to each other sometimes but if understanding develops they can wonderfully be complementary to each other!
All what matters is the proper understanding of what is said, how it is said and why it is said. This can avoid criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stone walling. Talks, discussions and negotiations can help in building of an unbreakable bond between two persons uniting them together in a love relationship for the rest of their lives!!