There is research (presented at the annual American Psychological Association) to show that for women, communication in their marriage could make the difference between life and death. Women who bottle up their feelings related to marital conflict are four times at risk of dying from various causes when compared to women who talk their heads off.
So if someone tells you that talk is cheap – it is not true in this context – in fact, it could be a matter of life and death. In a marriage, or any relationship, open communication is crucial – regardless of whether the couple is happy or not. Keeping it all inside only eats away years of your life.
So – how can you avoid this self-silencing and improve communication in your marriage/relationship? And lengthen your life?
- EYC – express yourself clearly – express your feelings. Not always easy if you are not used to it – but it is essential to your relationship and health. An emotionally transparent relationship has much better chances of flourishing than one where people are boiling with anger, sadness, longing and fear.
- Be creative together – when you explore new stuff together it can release those happy endorphins in your brains, help you bond together better and make it easier to voice your feelings.
- Begin any conversation on a positive note. Rather than “I know you won’t like this…but” – try “hey how about…” Don’t undermine your confidence or your partner’s by accusing or taking a negative reaction for granted.
- If you want something, ask for it clearly. No relationship can survive without good communication. Don’t expect your partner to guess that something’s wrong and offer help without you asking for it. Use language to say the words – and get results!
Moral of the story: Whether you are angry, worked up or disagree, talk to your spouse. Don’t be strong and silent and fester inside. Speak up and live longer!
It now makes sense to me – so many couples I know keep on arguing over everything – yet seem absolutely happy.