This article reviews basic communication theory and lays the foundation for teaching emotional communication skills to couples.
Keywords: marriage, relationships, communication, conflict, emotions, skills There is mounting evidence that “couples build intimacy though hundreds of very ordinary, mundane moments in which they attempt to make emotional connections” (Driver and Gottman 2004).
Communication requires a set of common symbols, ranging from verbal and written to the rich set of paralinguistic and emotive markers that people use in their interactions. Take as an example, the simple phrase “Aren’t you beautiful.” The tone and expression with which it is uttered matter tremendously.
Good communication and problem-solving skills are critical for relationship success; however, healthy relationships require much more than good communication and problem-solving skills.
There is a common over-reliance on these as the “royal road to romance and an enduring, happy marriage”(Gottman and Silver 1999, 8).
This sharing of something important does not have to be explicit or direct. Recently, researchers have begun to understand that the mundane everyday repeated interactions that couples have are at least as important as their conventionally intimate interactions and their conflicts (Driver and Gottman 2004).
Couples need to pay more attention to their “patterns of emotional engagement and responsiveness in contexts other than conflict resolution” (Gottman et al. The basic units of emotional communication during everyday interactions have been called the is an initiation of interaction (Driver and Gottman 2004).