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Read Letter

Cross Purposes

My dear Jack, the simple truth is, both of you are generating different realities from the same set of facts. And that’s because each of you is processing the facts through his or her desire. She wants a much earlier wedding, you want a latter wedding. That simple fact is at the root of the issues in this relationship. It’s what is affecting the relationship, it’s what is determining and driving the interpretation of facts.

She wants an earlier wedding because she’s under age pressure. Her mates are getting married. And she just wants to marry! You, on the other hand, want a latter wedding in order to put your acts together. You know you can’t sustain a family on the income you earn, so you want a little extra time to sort out your hustle. You both have legitimate desires – one is emotional, the other rational. Both are clashing. However, those facts are mere surface realities. The truth is, you have crossed wills and you have a major communication problem. Communication is so fundamental in marriage it can’t endure without it.

There are three levels of communication in a marriage or relationship: The first level of communication in marriage is the act of even talking to one another. Not talking to each other has never resolved any issue in a marriage or relationship. Has always worsened it. The second level of communication in a relationship is listening to what the other person is actually saying. Sometimes, people talk and we’re not listening. We’re too focused on our own grievance, formulating our justification. And so we can’t see the other person’s point of view, which is the point of listening. Without listening we can’t be sympathetic to what the other person is saying. Right or wrong we should at least listen to the other party. We should at least pay attention to what the other party is saying. The third level of communication has to do with interpretation of what is being said. As others speak we interpret. We always extrapolate deductions from what the other person is saying. In a quarrel situation deductions can be off. We most likely take the stand of, “Are you saying…”, which means we read what is being said accusatorily.

So the same set of facts can create different realities because the facts are interpreted differently. We tend to interpret facts through our prejudices, biases and opinions with a view to our strategic objectives. And so, “I’m not ready for marriage now” can become “So you don’t want to marry me after all these years.” Anything can follow from such deduction, ranging from “I’ll show you,” to “I’m getting out of this.” Same set of facts, different interpretations, different realities. And when our pained emotions colourate facts, we end up tarring the other party with a very wide brush. If you’re ever going to make a success of your proposed marriage, both of you have to learn to communicate. You have to learn to talk to each other about your issues and not third parties, if you want to succeed in marriage. You have to learn to listen to each other, pay attention to what the other person is saying, if you want a happy marriage. You have to be careful about the interpretation you give to what the other person is saying. If you’re at least on the same fact page, that’s 50% of problem resolved.

The essence of a disagreement in marriage is the creation of greater understanding. A disagreement in marriage HAS to lead to a resolution because the otherwise means no marriage or no happy marriage. If an issue is not resolved in a marriage, it can only lead to fissure it cannot lead to cohesion. It’s why you resolve things in marriage. It’s why you don’t allow stuff to linger. When disagreement lingers in marriage it puts on weight. And the heavier the issue in marriage the more it weighs down the spirit. When a pain becomes too deep the issue transmogrifies. It soon becomes an emotional wrecking ball with a clear target. If you don’t learn to resolve issues before marriage, you’re going to have issues in marriage. There will always be disagreement in marriage, different viewpoints. After all, you were brought up in different households. Even a brother and sister brought up in the same household have different worldviews. And so different perspectives on things are basic reality. It’s just what it is. The issue, therefore, is not the different perspectives but accommodation of perspectives and partnership despite perspectives. In a marriage, you have to be able to accommodate the other person’s perspective, respect it, even celebrate it. The very fact that she’s more emotional than you is enough to create different perspectives on the same fact. Even eliminating a roach in the house can present different perspectives – do you brutally assault it or use insecticide? If elimination of a bug in a home can present differences in approach, you can better appreciate a plethora of differences.

You need to learn how to resolve differences between each other before marriage. Or your tutorial becomes expensive in marriage. And so when you fight, the issue is not so much the fight but whether you can resolve the fight. That’s the key. If you don’t learn to resolve fights now, you’re going to make yourselves fearful about marrying each other. There’ll be thoughts about vindictiveness, meanness, stubbornness and even wickedness. Thoughts about domination. Both of you have to sit down and resolve the conflict about your marital timetable. It’s a major test of whether you’re suited for one another. And you don’t want a situation in which someone feels compelled to marry, or someone walks down the altar seething but smiling. That’s not a good start to a marriage and it will carry over into other issues down the line. Another disagreement and the issue will be dredged up and incorporated. And then regrettable things are said. These are words that wound, words that do visceral damage, words that can’t be taken back. You must find accommodation for each other’s views. It’s not about having one’s way; it’s about happiness. If you can resolve these differences, we’ll celebrate your marriage in the near future. If you can’t…

Your mentor, LA

Communication is so fundamental in marriage, it can’t endure without it. Click To Tweet
Tags : Communication, Sensitivity, expressiveness, adultery, Courage, Conflict, Romance and Finance, before marriage, Family, How women think, Sincerity, Choosing, Appreciation, conflict resoulution

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