Suzanne Says

Questions & Answers

September 2004

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Question:  I have a question for you that I hope I can express effectively 'on paper'.

I have always heard people say that communication is 'key' between couples in a marriage.  I thought that meant each person needs to openly communicate their feelings, etc. to the other all the time.

In text books written on communication techniques there seems to be much importance given to the use of 'I messages' in which one expresses one's feelings to the other, in a non blaming way....etc.

I have practiced this technique effectively as a way to get to the heart of my concern and express it without the other person becoming defensive.  However, now 18 months into my 'special' relationship, I am wondering if it is always (or ever?) appropriate to communicate my hurt (or negative) feelings over some aspect of his behavior.

I'm beginning to feel like it is a somewhat immature response to always draw attention to aspects of his behavior that make me feel unhappy or unloved.  I'm thinking perhaps it is more helpful to me, and him, and to the strength of the relationship, if I try to 'get over it' by myself without 'communicating' it to him.  After all, my pain is caused by my perceptions.

What do you think?  Am I being too hard on myself trying to 'go it alone'???

Faith S.


Answer: You are onto a very important realization. Most of our reactions to others are our inner stuff and our personal interpretation. We are all having an experience of life based on our past patterns of thinking and behaving, much of it from our conditioning as a child.

When we are in a respectful, mature, relationship with little or no manipulation and control, mind games, etc. then most of the stuff that bothers us needs to be processed by ourselves. We can use journal writing, talking to a friend or therapist, meditating, etc. to help us.

This does not mean you never share your inner process, insecurities, and small annoyances. It is important for couples to communicate on these things, but not all the time. Clearing with each other periodically is an effective way to get closer. It needs to be reciprocal, however, where both parties express what bothers them about the other and what each needs. Some things will change while others have to be accepted.




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