Below we outline what constitutes as good communication in a marriage. If you can ensure that every correspondence between you and your spouse meets these criteria, then you are on the way to eternal bliss.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Sarcasm, ridicule, judgmental statements and accusations, and put downs are the quick road to marriage hell. Good communication avoids all such disrespect and is qualitative. you should not have condescension or sarcastic responses to honest statements and questions.One partner cannot make fun of the others mispronunciations or poor grammar or be berating or criticizing the others choices or decisions. Finally, especially for Muslims, the husband should not try to intimidate the wife into submission. If you uphold respect, you will gain respect and will be on the fast-track to happiness.
Quantitative: Most couples engage in meaningful conversation less than 15 minutes per week. This problem is not insurmountable, however, as long as we take advantage of multi-tasking. Good conversation can occur while participating in other activities. Talk while taking a walk, when working around the house together, while enduring a television commercial, when conducting family meetings, and while driving together to the masjid, the grocery store, or a movie.
Two-way street: While effective, respectful talking is essential in good communication, respectful listening is also vital. Bad communication begins with one spouse dominating the conversation, but the listener can also ensure bad communication. A lack of eye contact, negative facial gestures, or disengaged body language also stymies good communication.
Insightful: No matter how well conceived and how well stated, most listeners fail to grasp the full meaning of the speaker, especially the subtle nuances. The only way to overcome the unnecessary miscues in conversation is to ask questions. To maintain good communication, however, the questions must be asked respectfully and courteously. Responses like, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard; don’t you mean to say . . . ?” have no place in the bedroom. On the other hand, an introductory statement to a question like “Please forgive my inability to keep up with you, but I need to ask a question about what you just said” is both probing and respectful. This will help you avoid any misunderstandings that could lead to deeper issues.
Honesty is the best policy: Any spouse who learns that his spouse lied about something wonders from then on if the truth is on the table when any issue arises. Tragically, lying brings long-term consequences that most spouses fail to consider before twisting the truth. Honesty, however, is not merely avoiding falsehood. Honesty also means that we refuse to avoid sharing information that our spouse has the right to know and would want to know. Why would we avoid sharing such information? Usually, we either fear judgment from our spouse if we admit our failings, or we fear hurting our spouse’s feelings. Please do not use the Hadith of being allowed to lie to your wife as a weak to shield yourself from telling her the truth.
Good communication in marriage does not hide, distort, or evade the truth from the other. But honest communication doesn’t necessitate cruelty just for the sake of honesty. Respectful honesty is the key phrase, and that is where we can use the hadith to ensure that her feelings are not hurt.
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