Interpersonal Communication Advice for a Newly Engaged Couple (Outline)

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I. Introduction

Thesis Statement. Despite the euphoric sensations that romantic love can produce, it is important that couples are able to look beyond these feelings and realistically evaluate the expectations of the relationship that the two partners may have individually by way of probing their mental images of their roles within the relationship and the environment they hope to create that will nurture their bonds.

II. Body

Although people generally speak freely, making statements that they rarely consider the major consequences of, it is important for the individuals within the couple to think before they speak when expressing their emotions, being careful of different talking styles and the many ways their words can be interpreted by the other person.

A. Supporting Evidence

As Osmo Wiio expounds in his book, Wiio’s Law (1978), it is important to remember that other people generally give more weight to the most negative possible interpretations of statements, especially when delicate emotions are involved.

B. Explanation

Often couples may playfully tease one another and say potentially harmful statements to each other or they may intentionally say extremely hurtful statements during an argument. However, it is vital that the individuals within the couple consider the situation from the other person’s perspective and think carefully when choosing their words.

C. So What?

Although it may seem like harmless play at the time or that one is expressing words out of anger that can be “taken back” later, over time such negative statements can build up and leave a powerful and lasting impression in the mind of an individual within a relationship that may eventually lead to strong feelings of resentment.

III. Body

In addition, it is vital that each member of the couple has a clear idea in his or her mind of how the other person perceives him or her in a general sense.

A. Supporting Evidence

Tadasu Todd Imahori and William R. Cupach established their Identity Management Theory (1993) that postulates that how people view themselves and how others with whom they are interacting with may view them can be incongruous, resulting in an increase of tension and conflict.

B. Explanation

Individuals within a romantic relationship must strive to see each other beyond the mental image they may have constructed out of social or societal stereotyping and see the other person as a unique individual with their own set of needs and beliefs.

C. So What?

If a member of a relationship has a fixed, prefabricated idea of how the other person should behave within the relationship, i.e. the wife must stay home and cook or the husband must never show signs of emotional weakness, then the other may feel stifled and neglected as an individual, struggling to come to terms with the other person’s expectations.

IV. Body

Finally, it is highly important that a couple not only learn to effectively communicate with one another but also learn to listen and interpret each other’s statements effectively.

A. Supporting Evidence

For example, Berger and Calabrese concluded from their study of human communication (1975) that human interaction is generally guided by the principle of ‘Uncertainty Reduction’, meaning that people tend to seek less ambiguous explanations for the words, actions, and nonverbal cues of others often through asking the other person questions but sometimes through jumping to conclusions as well.

B. Explanation

If an individual within a relationship tends to jump to conclusions, prematurely criticize or judge the other person’s words or actions without giving the other person the benefit of the doubt and careful consideration of what they intend to communicate, then the other person will feel alienated within the relationship, that their partner is not making the necessary effort to understand that person’s true thoughts and feelings.

C. So What?

When a person speaks, they, of course, do so to be heard and understood. And, most especially, they give tremendous weight to the importance of being heard by their life partner who has taken vows to support and encourage them through difficult times. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that each individual within a romantic partnership learns to actively listen to the other person when they express their thoughts and feelings so that they can know how best to respond to them in their time of need.

V. Conclusion

Thesis Statement rephrased

.A successful couple must build their relationship’s foundation on a solid understanding of each other and the expectations they may have for each other.

References

Berger, C. R., Calabrese, R. J. (1975). Some Exploration in Initial Interaction and Beyond: Toward a Developmental Theory of Communication. Human Communication Research, 1, 99–112.

Cupach, William R. and Tadasu, T. I. (1993), "Identity management theory: Communication competence in intercultural episodes and relationships", in R. L. Wiseman and J. Koester (eds.), Intercultural communication competence, 112-131, Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Wiio, O. (1978). Wiio’s Laws, Helsinki: Helsinki University Press