Letter Of Advice For A Newly Engaged Couple: How To Effectively Use Interpersonal Skills In Their Relationship
Date of submission:
Dear Mary and John,
Congratulations on your new engagement. Many times you hear that marriage changes the relationship partly because communication and other attributes fall to the wayside. Interpersonal skills can be a building block in how you relate as a couple but it can also be affected by how good a speaker and listener one is. In this letter I will cover many topics such as principles and misconceptions in effective interpersonal communications, barriers to effective interpersonal interactions and appropriate levels of self-disclosure in relationships. However keep in mind that I will not be sharing any details from my personal life, I will just give you guidelines.
Principles and Misconceptions in Effective Interpersonal Communications
According to Richard west and Lynn Turner, interpersonal skills are irreversible and unavoidable for example when a couple is discussing an issue like finance and one notices some money missing and when they consult the other they just sit they and avoid making eye contact and keep clearing their voice and shifting positions. Without knowing it, the party is communication something even without them intending to. If the accusing party decides to hurl insults, though they apologize, they may never be forgiven and even if forgiven the insults will never be forgotten. One needs to be careful, words once said can never be taken back and their effect may linger decades later.
Alan Sharland also states that for communication to be effective we need to treat others with respect. That we need to stop demonizing, criticizing, judging and complaining and start enjoying life with our loved one: To enjoy every minute as though it was our last. To make conversations more useful, productive and fun we need to stop talking and listen. When others know that we are listening and that we are interested in what they are saying they in turn will learn to listen to us. Even in misunderstandings and arguments, we learn more buy listening and in listening we avoid blowing an issue out of proportion.
In relationships of any sort and especially marriage one needs to learn to speak for themselves instead of assuming and speaking for the other person. If a friends invites you out for coffee, brunch or dinner don’t say we will be there instead say I will be there or ask the consent of the other person. They may love you but that doesn’t mean they will stop their life for everything you plan for them.
The hugest misconception people make is to challenge an individual instead of an action. When one is wrong avoid saying things like “you are incompetent, you always want to hurt me, you are a jerk”, instead say “what you did made me feel hurt or you hurt me a lot when you said this or did that. Another issue most common in couples is the issue of confidentiality. If your significant other tells you something you don’t have to go share it with your best friend; some secrets should just remain between the two of you.
Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Interactions
Holgan Kevin states it clearly and I couldn’t say it better; hearing instead of listening and failing to understand before making your point are the biggest relationship killers. The biggest barrier of communication is when gender comes in. Men feel that women make the rules and when men come close to understanding them, they are changed. A successful relationship is between two people who know that the other person is not a mind reader and that the relationship is more of a partnership than a child- parent relationship. So don’t mutter clearly state what you are saying and don’t compete be civil and know it is a 50-50 partnership the success of one is the success of all. And use the communication language of the other person; avoid using diction that is only meaningful in your family setting.
Mind reading should be avoided at all costs. Never assume you know what your partner is thinking, ask always ask. You may have been together for years but not even a mother knows what her child is thinking or feeling and they came from her own loins. Some times too you have to agree to disagree, its normal, it happens. Not everything can be resolved: if she like butter and you like jam fine don’t try to convert the other just buy both and agree to disagree.
Natalie Chandler(2013) says sandbagging is a burden in a relationship. It is mostly common in women where the pile up one complain after another in an urguement and end up making the other person feel confused and frustrated. Always stick to one urguement at a time: solve one problem at a time.
Process by Which Self-Concept Is Developed and Maintained
Self-concept is a person’s total view of themselves (Siraj, 2014). It is learned, organized dynamic and changeable. It can be constructed by communication to ourselves and others; who we tell ourselves we are, who we tell others we are, who others tell us we are or who society says we should be. (Sole, 2011). Work on your own self concept because your individual beliefs of yourself will affect the quality of your relationship and your beliefes are mostly fueled by emotions rather than logic.
Rigidity and being unable to change our self-concept in a relationship can be damaging. The healthier ones self-concept: the healthier the relationship. Learn to be civilized in the way you communicate and how you perceive yourself and the relationship as a whole. The relationship can change a person’s self-concept for example a relationship can influence whether one sees a high-paying job as priority, whether they see themselves as worthy of being loved and whether they see themselves as a go-getter. So shape you relationship in such a way that your self-concept is changed for the better, to bring better things into the relationship.
Appropriate Levels of Self-Disclosure in Relationships
Self-disclosure is the communication process in which one reveals themselves to another. A study by Susan shows that women believe that a realationship where husbands disclosed themselves to their wives was likely to last longer than one where there was no discloseure. I must say that this goes bothe ways. There is more security in a relationship where there is disclosure because one is rarely caught off guard by information or rumuors.
It is a risky yet necessary process of building a healthy relationship. However appropriate disclosure is necessary and in your case crutial. Studies have also shown that sel dislocure depth increaseses and the intimacy in a relationship decreases. This is to show that disclosure if done inappropriately may cost the relationship. An example is a person cheating on their spouse, they disclose this information to the spouse which is good, in appropriate disclosure maybe the spouse telling the other that sex with the other person(cheating party) was better. Always press and hold the urge to disclose when the relationship in in stress or amidst a fight or storm( loss of loved one, loss of home).
There is never a right time to disclose something. never hold an issue you want to talk about with your spouse because you haven’t found the opportune moment. However be carefull to be sensitive don’t bring up an issue like cheating when your spouse has lost a parent but you can bring up a different issue like children’s fees or grocery shoping
Emotional Intelligence and Its Role in Effective Interpersonal Relationships
Emotional intelligence is the ability to acknowledge one’s own and other’s feelings, being able to discriminate among them and use information to guide ones thinking and action.it involves
– Self-awareness, observing an emotion as it happens
– Emotional maturity, facing up to fear, sadness, anxiety
– Self motivation, channeling emotions into service of a goal
– Empathetic understanding, sensitizing one’s self to others feelings and concerns
– Quality communication, managing the emotions in others using communication based on empathetic listening.
Being aware of your own interpersonal emotional intelligence is crutial in a relationship especially during urguements as it allows for civilized speech instead of shouting and frustrations. To build interpersonal skills one needs to be aware of their own and others emotions and defying them, if need be, to communicate from logic not emotions.
Strategies for Managing Interpersonal Conflicts
How do you react when you are having a serious disagreement? Do you get angry curse and call names, do you pretend everything is okay, do you withdraw because you don’t like arguing or do you keep quiet and give the silent treatment? Conflict in a relationship does not have to go as above. During conflicts focus on what happened from your point of view, how it made you feel and what you thought. Like we said only speak for yourself, don’t make assumptions about why the other person did what they did. Don’t think that blame needs to be shifted to someone in conflict. When we don’t shift blame or assume we know what one is thinking we change the direction of the conflict. Instead of a person coming to us defending themselves from our accusations, they respond to our questions and give explanations. And sometimes like mentioned before we just have to agree to disagree and know when to pick our battles, some fights are just not worth it.
Relationships are a beautiful thing and finding that one person you want to wake up next to everyday for the rest of your life is wonderful. But amidst all the fairytale of living happily forever and ever, we must not forget that both of you are human and raised in different environments so you will naturally behave and view things differently. However, it is possible to have a successful relationship, not perfect but successful. I wish you both all the best of luck!
Alan, Sharland. ( ) The Guide to the Principles of Effective Communication and Conflict
Resolution London available at
Holgan, Kevin. (2011). Can’t Get Through: Eight Barriers to Communication London published
by pelican publishing
Natalie Chandler (2013) Ten Barriers To Communication In Marriages And Relationships
available on Nov 2014 from
Richard West, Lynn Turner. (2010). Understanding Interpersonal Communication: Making
Choices in Changing Times New York: published by Cengage learning
Sprecher, Susan; Susan Hendrick (2004). “Self-Disclosure in Intimate Relationships:
Associations With Individual and Relationship Characteristics Over Time”. Journal of
Social and Clinical Psychology 6