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Outline:

1.0 Introduction

  1.1 Thesis

2.0 The principles and barriers to effective interpersonal communications

3.0 The role of communication in developing and maintaining one’s self-concept, self-image, and self-esteem

4.0 The importance of self-disclosure and emotional intelligence

    4.1 The role self-disclosure plays in a couple or a partners’ relationship

    4.2 How relationships can be improved by becoming more emotionally intelligent

5.0 Strategies for using communication techniques to resolve interpersonal conflicts

6.0 The impact of gender and culture in interpersonal communications

7.0 Conclusion

Introduction

Effective communication is the bedrock of stable relationships. Proper communication means that clear information is given at the right time and place between and among individuals. It requires high level of accuracy and adherence to the etiquette and principles of communication. In light of these aspects, communication is a key determinant of the stability between married couples. It plays a critical role in determining whether a relationship lasts or not. When communication is poor between couples, nothing good can be achieved. Instead, constant quarrelling is bound to be experienced. Such couples cannot reason as grown-ups, agree on certain issues, and make collective decisions. This harms their ability to advance socially, economically, and spiritually. The inability for couples to sit and reason together is a major hindrance to social harmony and progress in society given that where there is no peace, nothing good can materialize. Latest statistics on relationship stability conducted in the United States indicate that most families are unable to stand the test of time especially in the recent past. Over 65% of newly formed families disintegrate within five years of marriage (Wood, 2013). This paper provides an advisory opinion to Marshal and Gregg based on the comprehensive study about communication between couples. It covers the major principles of communication, barriers to effective communication, the role of communication, and importance of communication among other aspects. The information is set to create awareness among young couples about the importance of effective communication.

Thesis Statement

Effective communication is a major factor in the development of strong and sustainable relationships and should be practiced by couples amidst growing relationship challenges.

The Principles and Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Communications

Interpersonal communication is defined as the sharing of information between two individuals or groups of people. It involves exchange of information about various issues that range from social and economic issues to cultural issues. For instance, communication between couples such as Marshal and Gregg qualifies as interpersonal communication. This form of communication gives individuals the opportunity to understand the opinions of each other, establish critical viewpoints, and share problems. In a family setting, it creates a stronger relationship and understanding among couples, including their children (Beeb, Beebe, Redmond & Geerink, 2014). To achieve effectiveness, interpersonal communication must be undertaken based on clear principles of communication, best practices, and communication etiquette. There must be a high level of accuracy with respect to the content and it must be necessary.

Notable principles of communication that couples must observe to ensure effective sharing of information include interpersonal skills, right timing, understanding of the purpose of the message, and clarity of information. In particular, interpersonal skills are imperative given that they help in building stronger interpersonal relationships that are based on openness (Beeb et al., 2014). Such skills promote quality interaction between individuals and groups of individuals. They enable one to understand the behavior, attitude, and psychological demands of the other.

Delivery of information at the right time is an important element of communication. It is ethical and noble for couples such as Marshal and Gregg to know the best times to communicate certain things. The time must be relevant for communicating the information to be passed across. For instance, there are good times for communicating money matters such as daily expenses, investment, and school fees (Bee, et al., 2014). Similarly, there are good times for communicating social events, spiritual information, work experiences, and sharing information about relatives including discussions on those who need support. All this information is instrumental for sustained growth and development for couples such as Marshal and Gregg. Location, attitude, understanding, and accuracy are other major principles that facilitate excellent communication between couples.

On the other hand, there are notable barriers to communication that couples must be wary of and try to avoid. These barriers cause communication breakdown hence impede the understanding of issues. They include noise from various sources, use of poor channels of communication, language barrier, poor timing, content inaccuracy, misconception of facts, and geographical differences (Beeb, et al., 2014). They affect the understanding of the information delivered thereby negating decision making and strategy formulation. This is especially so because they result in serious information distortion. They influence individuals’ understanding of facts as presented. Therefore, couples such as Marshal and Gregg should embrace conventional and effective channels of communication to foster understanding between them.

Other communication barriers the coupe should be weary of are emotional barrier, attitudinal barrier, and disinterest/ignoring the content barrier. According to Liraz (2019), emotional barrier is a communication inhibitor that emanates from an individual’s personal feelings about a topic or person. These feelings may make one to develop emotional predisposition towards disliking someone or something, thereby discounting what is being said.  Attitudinal barrier refers to perceptions or behaviors that prevent a person from communicating effectively. Attitudes usually result from the personal feelings or opinions of an individual on a given person or subject. It can be difficult to alter attitudes. Disinterest barrier is an inhibitor that makes the listener/receiver to become indifferent to the words or message of the speaker. The receiver pays little or no attention to the message they receive, implying little or no communication occurs.

Principles of communication are vital as they present a viable framework upon which interpersonal communication may be executed. They ensure that the right channels of communication are used from the initial stages to the end. On the same note, they enable the communicating parties to know when to communicate and what to share at particular times. This guarantees accuracy in communication. Which is a critical element in ensuring understanding among couples. As noted by Beeb et al. (2014), adherence to best communication practices and etiquette holds the capacity to give Marshal and Gregg the ability to share quality information with structured content. This is meant to build them socially, economically and morally. Effective communication promotes peace, stability, and understanding between couples and other family members. When peace prevails, couples can always embark on undertaking well-identified projects that are necessary for economic and social growth hence the need for the young couple of Marshal and Gregg to embrace effective communication principles.

When it comes to the management of the barriers, the couple can embark on developing strong interpersonal skills, their understanding abilities, and knowledge of each other. They must also know the right time for communicating certain information, the right location, and avoid misconceptions that may include negative attitudes that affect effective information sharing.

The Role of Communication in Developing and Maintaining One’s Self-Concept, Self-Image, and Self-Esteem

Self-concept is defined as an individual’s perception of his ability in diverse aspects and uniqueness. The concept, which is also known as self-identity, enables individuals to establish their abilities and capitalize on them towards facilitating effective interpersonal relations. Self-image, on its part, is defined as the mental picture that is resistant to new things or change (Muller, 2013). It shows physical and non-physical details of individuals that include height, weight, color, and hair among others. Self-image is a key driver of self-esteem and enthusiasm that is good for managing relationships. As noted by Muller (2013), self-esteem is another important aspect that promotes communication between individuals or couples. It influences an individual’s attitude and judgment towards himself.

All the three aspects greatly determine the effectiveness of interpersonal communication in relationships. They influence the way people think about diverse issues, the confidence level that is necessary for quality expression, and how they perceive others and themselves (Muller, 2013). In particular, self-concept that helps individuals to answer the question “who am I” affects communication between couples especially when one partner feels neglected or less appreciated (Muller, 2013). This aspect may affect Marsh and Gregg in their relationship especially as both partners might lack the strength to communicate to each other on serious issues. When one has no idea of the kind of a person he is, he can hardly offer mature discussion or progressive sharing of information from an intelligent perspective.

Self-esteem is another factor that Marshal and Gregg must work on in order to promote a vibrant two-way communication. The couple should have high self-esteem to enable them communicate with vigor, clarity, and confidence. This may help ensure that both partners understand the meaning or the main message in a conversation to facilitate decision-making (Muller, 2013). Self-esteem also determines the mood and attitude with which people communicate. Low self-esteem results in inferiority complex that compromises one’s ability to share information adequately and thus leads to communication barrier or inadequate sharing of key issues that are important for family growth.

Self-image plays a crucial role in the achievement of successful communication between couples. It influences the listener’s perception of the credibility of the message being passed (Muller, 2013). For communication to be effective between couples, one must build an image of honesty, seriousness, care, and respect. Accuracy, flow of thought, and decency too are equally important. Therefore, it is essential for Marshal and Gregg to build their relationship based on these strong pillars of communication. They should exercise high standards of self-esteem, self-concept, and self-image to enable them share information effectively. The three aspects will enable them communicate well at the right time and for the right purpose.

The Importance of Self-Disclosure and Emotional Intelligence

Self-disclosure is the ability for one to share openly and tell or give information about himself without reservations. The information may be related to social, economic, and cultural growth. This skill is necessary and important in relationships as it fosters openness between couples including children thereby promoting understanding. On the other hand, emotional intelligence is an individual’s ability to recognize his or her own emotions or the emotions of others. It helps in shaping feelings, thoughts, and behavior (McVey, 2011). Emotional intelligence is a major component of self-disclosure since it provides requisite capability of recognizing other people’s behavior and emotions.

The Role Self-Disclosure Plays In a Couple or Partners’ Relationship

Self-disclosure plays a significant role in strengthening relationship ties in family settings or in different teams. The ability to self-disclose will help a couple to communicate openly and share information freely without fear (McVey, 2011). Open sharing of information will build a higher degree of honesty and confidence between them. It will also reduce or eliminate the fear of message distortion and creation of negative perceptions, including destruction of inner feelings. The couple will leave happily and enjoy the moments they are together knowing that they operate to pursue a common agenda in an open environment. Indeed, open disclosure heals and develops strong bonds between couples (Beck, 2013). For example, if one of the couple decided to frankly disclose that he or she had a baby outside wedlock, the other may learn to understand and either accept or reject the person. This is noble instead of concealing such sensitive information until late in life.

How Relationships Can Be Improved Through Emotional Intelligence

The relationship between Marshal and Gregg stands a chance of recording immense improvement and stability through emotional intelligence (EI). This is apparent given that EI will continually enable them to recognize their own emotions, feelings, and behaviors (Beck, 2013). It thus will help them to know when to communicate certain issues, what to disclose, and how to treat information received from others. Since EI guides thinking and behavior of individuals, it will enable the couple to practice self-disclosure. The ability to provide information openly is influenced by emotional intelligence. For example, emotional intelligence would enable Gregg or Marshal to disclose openly his or her past lifestyle and undertakings using well-chosen words or inoffensive words that are not irritating.

Strategies for Using Communication Techniques to Resolve Interpersonal Conflicts

Communication techniques involve different forms of communication. They range from verbal communication, also known as oral communication, to non-verbal communication. Other forms include touch and written messages. How one uses these forms of communication largely impacts their relationships with their neighbors and those around them. With that in mind, it is also very important to note that good communication skills can help solve interpersonal conflicts. This can be observed where two individuals are in a conflict either due to poor communication skills that led to a misinterpretation of a particular message or due to other reasons.

Marshal and Gregg may utilize strategies of effective communication to resolve any conflict that may arise between them. One of them may use non-verbal communication skills to developing a deeper understanding of the other. He or she He or shecan carefully listen to the other individual and give him or her all the attention he or she requires. At the end, the other individual will feel appreciated, thus ending the disagreement between them (Curtis, 2015). In addition, an individual can gently interrupt the other person that he or she is having disagreements with. This would portray politeness and with everything being calm between them, the disagreement would come to an end.

Another very useful form of communication in interpersonal conflict resolution is verbal communication. It can be instrumental in talking out the problem that is affecting the couple. Using effective communication techniques such as balancing the communication, the two individuals may talk out the problems affecting them and resolve them. Furthermore, while having a talk to resolve their disagreements, one of the individual can use the power of touch to embrace docility (Adair, 2009). One individual touching the other while talking portrays that this individual has no problem with the other person and this would be a very imperative step towards solving the differences between them. For example, a disagreement may ensue between couples over what to invest in with their savings. For the case under analysis, Marsha might prefer a store for fashion and beauty items but Gregg on the other hand could prefer a store for male shoes. In such a case, they may apply good communication strategies such as gentle interruption to talk out and straighten the matter. Also, they may strengthen their communication by using non-verbal communication such as focusing their attention on each other to show that they each appreciate what the other partner is trying to say. Eventually, the two of them could agree on combining the business or opening up a new different one without any quarrels.

The Impact of Gender and Culture in Interpersonal Communications

Gender is basically either being male or female. It is a quality that is very important in interpersonal relations. It can be easier for people of the same sex to share private information than people of the opposite sex. This is because it is apparently an embarrassing feeling to share such kind of information with individuals of the opposite sex (Holmes, 2007). On that note, it is also true that it is easier for strangers of the opposite sex to converse than for strangers of the same sex to do the same. This is because of the mutual attraction that normally exists between individuals of opposite sex.

Culture on the other hand refers to the collection of art and expressions of a group of people that is exhibited as their intellectual achievement. People from different cultural backgrounds may find it difficult to communicate whereas people from the same cultural background may find it very easy to communicate due to similar interests and values (Kalman, 2009). As such, culture can largely influence the communication between two groups. People sharing the same culture may feel a sense of togetherness and this may have a positive influence on the communication between and among them. In other words, culture may contribute in the bringing of individuals together or creating a rift between them, thereby affecting their communication either positively or negatively.

The two aspects above can largely influence the interpersonal communication in relationships such as the one between Gregg and Marsha. This may owe to the differences in their gender and cultural origins (Gamble, 2015). For the purpose of this paper, the two newly wedded individuals will be used as an example of how gender ad culture affects interpersonal communication. Since they are newly wedded, they may have not felt the effect of gender and cultural difference in their personal level of communication as yet. However, sooner or later, this problem might begin to present itself to them. Either of them might start to feel that there is a gap in communication between them due to gender differences or between their families due to cultural differences.

They should be advised to try as much as possible to make good use of effective communication skills whenever they communicate with each other. In addition to that, they should understand each other’s cultural and gender differences. This way, they will be able to understand why each of them reacts in a given manner (Samovar et al, 2016). For example, if Marsha decides to tell her fellow friends about a personal problem that she feels it is not right Gregg to know about and the latter finds out about it, he should understand that, that was a gender sensitive matter and she could not just communicate it to him. However, the two of them should strive not to unnecessarily keep secrets from each other. On another note, if Marsha talks to her family more often than she speaks to Gregg’s family on the phone, Gregg should understand that she shares the same cultures with her family and that is why she is so close to them and feels free to talk to them than his family.

Conclusion

Interpersonal communication skills are a very important in a person’s day-to-day life. With the skills, people are able to effectively communicate with their neighbors thus making life easier for them and the people around them. Lack of effective interpersonal communication may result in interpersonal conflicts due to wrong interpretation of messages sent from the sender to the receiver. As such, interpersonal communication techniques are very important especially in areas where people must interact with the people around them such as at the workplace. Such places require loyalty and trust in order to optimally benefit from the relationships that people create therein. This can only be achieved through effective communication techniques.

References

Adair, J. E. (2009). Effective communication: The most important management skill of all. London, UK: Pan Books.

Beck, J. (2013). Emotional intelligence in everyday life. New York, NY: Springer.

Beeb, S., Beebe, S., Redmond, M., & Geerink, T. (2014). Interpersonal Communication: Relating to others, sixth Canadian edition. New York, NY: Pearson Education

Curtis, M. (2015). Strategies for effective communication techniques.

Gamble T. K., & Gamble M. W. (2014). The gender communication connection. New York, NY: M. E. Sharpe

Holmes, M. (2007). What is gender? Sociological approaches. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

Kalman, B. (2009). What is culture?. New York, NY: Crabtree Pub. Co.

Liraz, M. (2019). How to overcome communication barriers in the workplace – identify barriers to effective communication and improve your communication. Independently Published.  

Muller, R. (2013). The importance of the concept of a self-image of speakers. Munich, Germany: GRIN Verlag

McVey, S. (2011). “Building trust at work with appropriate self-disclosure”. Retrieved July 20, 2018 from, http://mcveymanagementsolutions.us/building-trust-with-self-disclosure/

Samovar, L., Porter, R., McDaniel, E., & Roy, C. (2016). Communication between cultures. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Wood, J. T. (2013). Interpersonal communication: Everyday encounters. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

 

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