Respectful communication


Respectful communication


Sunday, September 20, 2020

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MEN and women communicate differently, each having unique needs. They generally see things through differing lens, with males tending to be less expressive than females.

However, both need to listen and compromise if they plan to work for a successful marriage.

The thing is, few things harbour as many ill feelings as when a mate feels as if the other does not show due respect when communicating. When this happens, this becomes a catalyst for bitter emotions to exasperate two people joined together in marriage. How can you improve the art of respectful communication, which so happens to be the lifeblood of a marriage?

Valuing and understanding each other

One who is respectful values others and tries to relate to another's feelings. Admittedly, this can be difficult, since, as children, we are generally taught to show respect primarily to authority figures or those whom we perceive as having more experience than we do.

In marriages, however, the challenge lies in showing respect to a partner — someone equal to you.

Mates tend to be jealous when another mate demonstrates patience and understanding to others, but yet no such demonstration is shown to them. So, why not conscientiously try to apply that patience shown to friends and strangers to partners?

Listen and be patient

People tend to talk more than they listen, to the point where we may foolishly reply to something before having heard it entirely. So, listen before you speak. Advice is not needed at all times. Rather, some mates, especially wives, may just want a reassuring and listening ear, someone there to validate the issues being raised.

Some men may take a longer time to share feelings than their partners. Here, again, patience is required.

Speak when calm

If a potentially difficult problem needs to be aired, speaking about it when calm and in a relaxed setting is far better than when persons are drained from a heavy day. At a point, one party may be reluctant to speak.

Instead of forcing one to talk about a matter, why not calmly and respectfully ask questions?

Listen with ears and heart

When we speak in a calm manner, we tend to get the best out of the other person. Listen also not only with ears but with our hearts. Doing the latter pushes us to understand the person's feelings.

Above all, individuals can pick up the level of respect or disrespect, not only in our tone, but the way in which we listen to them.

Again a partner that verbalises concerns in a respectful way is more seeking a listening and understanding ear than a solution, especially as some problems are without solutions. Talking about a matter can be therapeutic to the speaker, primarily when spoken to receptive ears.

So the next time your partner starts talking to you, try not to respond immediately. Look the person in the eyes, give them your full attention. Try to understand and, where appropriate, express it. Also, approach the troubled mate at another time and ask if he or she got a listening ear from you.

Disrespect, which may come through an inattentive ear, creates tension in the home and leads to bitter conflict. A home should be a safe environment that mates can run to and feel at ease, not somewhere that spikes blood pressure and gives little peace of mind.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 23 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica, where he is also director of the Language Teaching and Research Centre.

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