Communication Is the Key to Healthy Marriages
In 2018, Li et al conducted an extensive study on a sample of 268 Chinese couples in their early years of marriage. The study used a three-wave approach to understand the relationships between marital quality, conflict resolution, and communication. The study found that marital communication was linked to marital conflict resolution and marital quality. The authors suggested daily marital communication was essential to keep a marriage healthy and resolve conflicts as they arise.
In recent years, most married couples have faced difficulties due to differences in communication styles and a focus on technology. It is not uncommon for married people to go without talking for days, leave alone having some daily communication. It is no surprise that marital conflicts are rising, and more people have begun to see therapists to resolve them.
To understand this phenomenon from the perspective of a marital therapist, we contacted Sameera Sullivan. She describes herself as a matchmaker and relationship expert but is also an experienced marital therapist.
1. What sort of problems and challenges do married couples face today?
Lack of communication is the main issue that married couples have. Many couples choose to tolerate issues rather than work to resolve them. Sometimes when a relationship develops, couples neglect to talk about topics. Therefore, they do not form a new agreement when they later encounter new difficulties relating to the same subject. If partners hear each other out without interrupting or becoming defensive, they can arrive at new understandings.
2. Before the pandemic, what were the most common challenges that married couples faced?
Before the pandemic, couples struggled to prioritize their partner over work. However, the pandemic brought many couples together. They spent more time together, and experimented with a number of things along the way. With that said, many couples face post-pandemic challenges especially when one of the spouses is self-centered.
3. Specifically, what issues do couples face today?
Many couples struggle to spend time together when their partners return to their traditional jobs. It is understandable as the world has opened up again.
4. What would you advise to married couples with post pandemic challenges?
My advice to couples is to set rituals that help them spend more time together. I advise them to be open and offer their partners the chance to reinvent themselves within the marriage.
5. Is there anything else that couples can do to improve their relationships?
It is important to discuss how each one would prefer to organize their lives following the pandemic. The couple can try experimenting with a few new things too. Again, during this period of rediscovery and rebirth, communication is crucial.
Maintain daily communication to resolve marital conflicts
As Sameera says, couples find less time to spend with each other, and with the 9-5 jobs back in business, they are also away from each other. In addition, the pandemic disrupted existing communication styles between couples, leading to a lack of quality time spent together. Soon after the pandemic began, existing rituals quickly fell apart, and couples had no time for each other.
Most importantly, they also started to get bored with each other. Boredom and lack of communication are toxic to any relationship, including marriage. Hence, as Sameera suggests, it is essential to set rituals again, which ensure that couples spend time with each other.
In addition, it is also vital to rediscover the joys of communicating with each other. As per the Chinese study we quoted above, daily communication is key to resolving marital conflicts and improving marriage quality.