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A Good Communication Skill    Building a Meaningful Relationships

Between partners, communication should not be limited to sharing one's thoughts. Expressing one's feeling is also necessary. Effective communication involves sharing whatever matters to both partners, either directly or indirectly, by verbal or non-verbal means. As our Asian ways of expressing ourselves are often indirect and non-verbal, we need to be more aware of these non-verbal expressions.

We need to bear in mind that men and women may differ in the way they communicate. Men tend to be less verbal and too focus on reasoning. Generally, women are more expressive with feelings and words (note: does not apply to all gals coz I happen to know one sob sob )


Effective Communication

Communication is not easy. It is a two-way process of sending and receiving messages. It requires careful listening and appropriate responses. It is important to realise that what one partner says to the other may not be received in the way intended.

For example, Susan wanted to find out what her husband did in the day in order to know more about his work. She asked,"What have you been up to" To her husband Jim this question sound interrogative. So Jim replied harshly, " What do you mean? I have been working!" and turned away. What Susan attempted to communicate was concern. But Jim received it as unwelcomed  interrogation.

A message may be received differently from its intended meaning. How a message is communicated gives meaning to it. The tone of voice, choice of words, facial expressions and body movements that accompany the delivery of the spoken message affect the receiver's interpretation of what is being communicated. The sender has not effectively communicated till the message is accurately received by the receiver.

In the above example, Susan might have raised her voice and look impatient when she asked Jim the question, causing him to interpret the question negatively. Jim, on the other hand, might have been troubled and tired and hence responded to her question without much thought.

The receiver's mood, perception and interpretation also play a part in the communication process. Thus consistency between the verbal and non-verbal messages, clarification and feedback are essential for effective communication.

Like Susan and Jim, you need to be aware of your styles of communicating with one another, change unhelpful ways and develop effective communication skills. The goal is to convey thoughts and feelings to each other clearly and directly in culturally appropriate ways.

You can learn to share with each other at deeper level. Although you may begin to communicate at a safe and superficial level, you should work at sharing ideas, opinions and feelings which you normally do not disclose to others.

As you communicate effectively at deeper levels, you will build trust and strengthen the bonds of love.


Guidelines for Improving Communication


  • becareful with what you say and do not be rash. Speak clearly and in such a way that the person can understand and accept what you say.
  • Speak truthfully in sincerity and love. Do not exaggerate.
  • Use "I" messages rather then "you" statements(ie express how you feel and not what the other person is feeling or doing e.g. "I felt _____ when you did _____" rather then "you make me feel _____.")
  • Acknowledge the main points of what your partner says with words such as "I see", "I understand", "yes", etc.
  • Try to keep the non-verbal aspects of your communication consistent with your verbal aspects.
  • Avoid heated arguments or aggressive words. Try to control your temper.



  • Where possible, select an appropriate time to discuss an issue or problem. If your partner is tired, emotionally upset, sick, injured, or in pain, he/she may not be in the right frame of mind to talk to you.
  • Don't run away from each other(either physically or by withdrawing into yourself) for long.



  • Do not drag the past into your present discussion.
  • When something is important enough for one person to want to discuss it, it should also be important for the other person.
  • Try not to blame or criticise your partner.
  • Confine your discussion to the topic being discussed.
  • Specify what to talk about. Be clear about what your words mean.
  • Discuss with your partner topics that you know he/she will like to talk about. If your partner brings up topics that you are not prepared to deal with, suggest that you prefer to discuss this matter further at some other time.



  • Greet your spouse after a period of being separated (even if only for a few hours) with a smile, a compliment, pleasant talk, hugs, kisses, humour or an account of one of the day's interesting experiences.
  • Allow a period of transition between work or any potentially stressful activity and home life.
  • Agree upon the time to take up issues involving decision-making, disagreements and problems. Some couples set aside a specific period of time for this every day.



  • Praise your partner for the things he/she says that you like.
  • Do not be overly defensive when you don't agree with each other. Learn to express both positive and negative feelings without blaming your partner.
  • Be open to feedback on your behaveiour. Try to see it from the other person's point of view.