One marital myth that I hear quite often in my office is that the root of most marital issues is trouble with communication. It is not uncommon for couples to come in seeking help with their communication issues. Couples feel that if they could just get their partner to better hear what they have to say and they could get their spouse to open up to them, their marriage will be all they want it to be.
So is this marital myth or fact? The answer may not be that cut and dry, but overall I would say that this is a marital myth. Yes couples may not be able to hear their spouse or to be able to let them know how they are really feeling, but there is always a deeper issue going on than just how we communicate with each other. There is a reason your spouse doesn’t hear you or a reason that you cannot open up to your spouse. It is way more than just not being able to say it in the right way.
Dealing with just communication issues fails to recognize the deeper problems going on. It is only looking at the tip of the iceberg and ignoring the huge block of ice that is underneath. If a person grows up in an environment where anger equaled abandonment to them, it can be very difficult to deal with any conversation that may have conflict. Anger can equal abandonment to a child if every time the mom and dad fight the dad leaves and doesn’t come back for a long period of time. This could be made worse if he comes back drunk when he does come back, or if the mom excessively worries the whole time he is gone. What the kid takes from all of this is “if there is fighting it means things will feel bad in our house for a long time.” Grow this person up, put them in a marriage and the same feelings exist. They may be more subconscious but this person will likely have a hard time bringing up difficult issues in fear that conflict may occur. The spouse may not understand why their spouse disengages during difficult discussions or why they can tell there are things bothering the spouse but he will never bring them up. You could work for months on teaching the couple on how to talk to one another, but if you never work with the spouse on their deep rooted fear of conflict, nothing will change long term.
Rarely are issues in a relationship cut and dry. Healing marriages is more than just learning how to word what you want to say. Unfortunately, just learning how to say something in a different way to our spouse will not change the deeper issues going on. The time is now to learn about the deeper issues going on in your marriage.