“It seemed rather incongruous that in a society of super-sophisticated communication, we often suffer from
a shortage of listeners.” – Erma Bombeck
Good communication takes place with both partners fully open, authentic, and vulnerable when sharing their ideas, thoughts, and opinions. When partners communicate, they must both feel respected and valued by the other. Good communication skills are basic to any well-functioning relationship and can be learned through practice and commitment. Most difficulties arise when we miscommunicate. When Paul wrote the Colossians, he instructed them on the importance of communicating with grace—instead of the impatience and frustration that are often expressed in the midst of miscommunication: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Col. 4:6). Differences in communication styles are often a result of differing backgrounds, gender, and personalities. These differences may lead to conflict and misunderstanding. All couples bring with them varying backgrounds which strongly influence their communication styles. While some of those characteristics and traits may be helpful in learning to communicate, others may be divisive and damaging to a relationship. Each partner comes from a family that communicates with particular patterns (both healthy and unhealthy), and couples need to identify those patterns to trace how they have impacted their own ability to communicate.
Differences in communication may also come from gender variation. A relationship benefits from the strengths that each partner brings, and one must be willing to learn the language of his or her partner in order to better communicate. If he is better able to understand with less emotion and drama, then she needs to work to communicate her message in that way. If she understands better with word pictures and examples, then it benefits him to learn to communicate his message in that manner so that she has a greater likelihood to understand.
Personality differences play another vital role in communication.