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Becoming an engaged couple is an exciting event in any person’s life. Being engaged means starting a new life together and when you feel more connected to your partner more than ever. Even with all that happiness, newly engaged couples can face problems on the way to the altar.

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The types of problems are mostly communications issues such as; developing strategies for active, critical, and empathic listening; recognizing how words have the power to create and affect attitudes, behavior, and perception; understanding how perceptions, emotions, and nonverbal expression affect interpersonal relationships; evaluating appropriate levels of self-disclosure in relationships; and describing strategies for managing interpersonal conflicts. When two people become newly engaged; they can learn about martial issues prior to marriage and their marriage can be more successful and to avoid obstacles along the way.

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Every marriage goes through rough patches, but working through the bumps will help you two fall in love over and over again. Develop strategies for active, critical, and empathic listening. When it comes to listening both people need to be active listeners and not to interrupt each other while they are talking. “Each spouse [needs] to understand their part in the relationship so that each might grow and change. Each spouse coming to this kind of growth holds the best possibility of staying together. ” (Gau, J. (2011). Each person must pay attention to what their partner wants and how they both can fix any problems that arise. Communication is important because conflicts are inevitable in relationships,” (Johnson, T. (2011). When both people actually listen to their partner their will not be any misunderstandings. Misunderstandings will happen in your relationship but when you two are actively listening to their words misunderstandings will be minimal.

“To listen, you must be fully focused on the other person and engaged in a process that involves six components: (1) motivating yourself to listen, (2) clearly hearing the message, (3) paying attention to the message, (4) correctly interpreting the essage, (5) evaluating the message, and (6) remembering and responding appropriately. (Sole, K. (2011). Being a critical listener to your future spouse is a must as well because you will learn valuable information about your partner. If you apply critical listening skills you will understand how your future husband or wife feels. Being an empathetic listener is crucial as well because you can put yourself in their shoes. Communication is key to a successful and happy marriage “Gottman and Silver then use this information as the foundation for The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

These are (1) enhance your Love maps, (2) nurture fondness and admiration, (3) turn toward each other rather than away, (4) allow yourself to be influenced by your partner, (5) solve your solvable problems, (6) overcome gridlock, and (7) create shared meaning,” (Keyt, 2003). Recognize how words have the power to create and affect attitudes, behavior, and perception. Knowing that words can do hurt will help your future nuptials because you will know what words can hurt and can avoid using those words in the future. Words have strong meanings behind them and knowing that they can and do hurt can help you two. If you think the communication between you and your partner needs some extra help, consider couples counseling or martial therapy,” (Johnson, T. (2011). Before going off your on future spouse about the trash not being taken out, take a step back and re-think your words because if you something out of anger, that can damage your marriage before it even happens. “When the concerns and responsibilities of life impinge on [your] wife and she fails to anticipate her husband’s needs, he may reproach her, implying that since they have been together for such a long, she should know his needs without his having to tell her,” (Gau, (2011).

If you say something out of anger a huge blowout can help and the effects can dampen the marriage. “Then she may become frustrated and angry with him and blame and accuse him of not caring. When his wife reproaches him, the challenge will be for him to calm his anxieties, avoid retaliation, and contain his wife’s frustration,” (Gau, (2011). Continue to think about negative words because if not, “thus, he expands his own subjectivity and provides his wife with the opportunity of expanding. If the husband retaliates, he needs his wife’s merger to stabilize his insecurities and both fail to grow,” (Gau, (2011).

Remember, that you two are creating a beautiful lifetime of love and happiness, so always watch your words carefully and never say anything out of anger. Understand how perceptions, emotions, and nonverbal expression affect interpersonal relationships Understanding how perceptions, emotions, and nonverbal expression affect interpersonal relationships is crucial because the “read between the lines” communication can make or break the marriage. ‘The 50 percent divorce indicates that marital mores and customs are changing and that conventional morality can no longer hold the center,” (Gau, (2011). Nonverbal communication is the transmission of messages without the use of words, and this type of communication includes a wide range of vocal and visual signs and behaviors,” (Sole, (2011). “Nonverbal messages serve a variety of functions in interpersonal communication. They may (1) reinforce, complement, or emphasize the words you speak; (2) substitute for words; (3) interrupt or distract from verbal communication and be a form of noise; or (4) conflict with/ contradict your verbal messages,” (Sole, (2011).

If there is a problem with nonverbal communication one of you can seek therapy to identify the underlying issue. “When [a spouse] recognizes that [his or her] adaptations or defenses are not working, a therapist might work with [his or her] associations to stressful incidents, and thus [he or she] may recognize how [he or she] is recycling [his or her] past,” (Gau, (2011). Evaluate appropriate levels of self-disclosure in relationships. Take a step back and evaluate the levels of self-disclosure you two had prior to the engagement.

Now, focus on that and see how you two can make sure there are no secrets in the relationship that can make it falter. Now, having a form of self-disclosure is good because you do want to keep the romance alive. There are some things that you two should openly talk about and do not self-disclose; money. When it comes to money please, be open and discuss on “building savings; pay off short-term debt and contribute to a Roth IRA,” (Sakina, P. S. (2011). “Self-disclosure can have many positive benefits; it is risky, though, and can have negative consequences.

Sharing information about yourself makes you vulnerable, and others can use the information to take advantage of you. However, it is the only way you can learn, feel, grow, and have meaningful relationships,” (Sole, (2011). Another important area to never neglect is intimacy; “intimacy is the process of learning how to simultaneously separate from and connect with a spouse,” (Gau, (2011). Describe strategies for managing interpersonal conflicts. Managing interpersonal conflicts can be difficult because you two need to work out problems when they are just barely making the surface.

The saying “never go to bed angry,” is a great example of managing interpersonal conflict before it boils over into a huge fight. ““Her success consists in the communication of what she wants, feels, thinks, etc. , whether her husband is influenced of not. If her husband is unresponsive, she will be tempted to withdraw or to retaliate. This attitude manifests a merged relationship and reveals primitive developmental issues that she now has the opportunity of working to repair,” (Gau, 2011). “In essence, he asserts that the most successful marriages are built on the components of a deep friendship.

The components of communication that are most predictive of divorce are (1) the harsh start-up that is starting a conflictual discussion with harsh and accusatory words; (2) the four horseman (criticism contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling); (3) flooding; (4) body language; and (5) repair attempts-attempts made by the couple to reach out to each other and repair the situation,” (Keyt, 2003). Another area that needs focusing for on for you two are strategies and these points will keep the marriage healthy, happy and strong. The strategies that will be listed are taken from Gau (2011).

The first strategy for coming to differentiation is learning to use our anxiety instead of it controlling us. Anxiety floods us when we are in conflict and, as a result, we withdraw or retaliate. The second strategy will be to briefly state our experience–to state our feelings and thoughts, our needs and desires, what we can and can’t do, etc. The third strategy will be to self-awareness–awareness of our thoughts, feelings, desires, decisions, in short, of our experience. As long as we speak about ourselves we can speak authoritatively.

The fourth strategy, where most marital therapy interventions erroneously begin, is mirroring. This strategy implies that couples have achieved sufficient differentiation so that hostile affect has diminished. Excellent strategies to keep in mind so when who two need help, refer back to the strategies listed and fix the issue before it becomes a problem. Another key point worth mentioning is, there is no shame if you two need to seek therapy to help communicate amongst each other. The reason being because “a consensus seems to have emerged amongst he contributors to this dialogue that the therapists plays a crucial role in activating and effectively bundling many of the common factors and most of the model-specific factors that, taken together, are necessary to produce positive therapeutic outcome,” (Simon, G (2012). If you two are serious about therapy keep in mind that therapy works best when “clients appear ready and willing to accommodate to their therapists model-informed point of view, provided they view both the therapist and his point of view are credible,” (Simon, G. (2012).

During this phase, the therapist offers clients an explanation for their presenting problems that is based on the therapist’s model,” (Simon, G. (2012). Also, “this sense of hope and expectancy provides the motivational fuel for clients’ therapist-directed efforts to change,” (Simon, G. (2012). Since you two are “planning to wed, take advantage of the preparation courses offered through places of worships or community programs,” (Johnson, T. (2011). Marriage is the happiest time in a person’s life because it involves joining two people in the holy matrimony of love.

When two people become newly engaged; they can learn about martial issues prior to marriage and their marriage can be more successful and to avoid obstacles along the way. Communication is the key to a very successful marriage because when you communicate effectively you are listening to each other. Remember to be aware of each other’s emotions and words can do hurt your future spouse. Every marriage goes through rough patches, but working through the bumps will help you two fall in love over and over again.

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Kylie Garcia

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