Reach Indians and South East Asians living in Australia



How often have we heard that communication is crucial in a marriage? And yet, married couples the world over struggle with this most basic of necessities. Most arguments and fights in a marriage occur because the participants do not understand each other, and assume that the other person is meaning the worst. Today we bring you a list of four communicative habits that often spell doom in a relationship.
1. Criticism
Especially common among couples who have been married for a while, criticism can often be disguised as jokes or put-downs, but when repeated over a period of time, they can really hurt. The interesting thing about criticism, though, is that most often, the critic wants the recipient to acknowledge the criticism and respond to it in a reasonable manner. But what happens is that the recipient becomes defensive and escalates it to another level of argument or fight. So while criticism is not a bad thing, ensuring that it doesn’t come across as judgemental is crucial.
2. Defensiveness
We all derive emotional support from our partners, and often when criticism comes at us from someone we love, our first instinct is to defend ourselves and lash back. This is the reason why most ‘honest’ heart-to-heart conversations degenerate into ugly name calling tirades. A good strategy to deal with the instinct of defensiveness is to accept the criticism first, no matter how unfair it seems. You may really not be selfish or egoistic, but if your partner says that you are, react with curiosity rather than defensiveness, because being genuinely curious will tell you why your partner thought that way. And even though all the cells in your body are screaming to you that he or she is wrong, you don’t have to tell her that straight away.
3. Contempt
Contempt is slightly different from criticism because it happens when one partner assumes superiority over the other. A husband may joke to his friends that his wife has no financial sense. A wife may roll her eyes publicly whenever her husband’s cooking skills or hygiene habits are mentioned. No matter what the mood or the situation, contempt happens as a consequence of long-term criticisms that have not been accepted or discussed. The most important virtue to practice to prevent contempt is acceptance. We must accept that our partners will have faults and flaws, and we must try our best to accept them.
4. Stonewalling
This often happens during a conversation when one party zones out and gives no acknowledgement of the other party’s words or gestures. This can get irritating for the speaking person because he or she gets the impression that they’re not being listened to. Interestingly, the stonewalling person does it in order to reduce confrontation, but it only serves to exacerbate it. A better strategy is to acknowledge the speaker’s words so that at least they know that they’re being listened to.

Divya Singh

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