June 01, 2010 — TLC for Your Family #16 – The Importance of Peaceful Marital Communication

TLC for Your Family #16 – The Importance of Peaceful Marital Communication
June 01, 2010

I am heavy hearted as I write this. A dear friend is going through a painful divorce, fraught with what I’m seeing as tragic misunderstandings and missed opportunities.

To protect her privacy, I will not go into any further details (she has approved of me revealing this much). But, suffice it to say, the suffering is immense. The kids are suffering. She is suffering. And I’m guessing he is as well.

What I am left with, as I angst over the process from the sidelines, is a sense of valuing peaceful marital communication more than ever. Not just for each spouse’s well-being, but for the kids well-being too.

When we’re together as a family, communicating in peaceful partnership, it’s so much easier to meet our children’s needs. We can much more easily meet their needs for security, stability, physical well-being (by conserving financial resources living in one home), closeness (with both of their parents), and carefree innocence.

And, when we’re together as a family, communicating in peaceful partnership, it can be so much easier to meet our own needs too. We can more easily meet our needs for stability, security, intimacy, closeness, contribution, partnership, to be heard, physical well-being, and more.

Even when we divorce in peaceful partnership, it can be easier to meet more of these needs.

But what happens when we don’t communicate in peaceful partnership at all? Perhaps we fear conflict, or partnership, and aren’t willing to even try. Or perhaps we are willing, but haven’t found a strategy that works for us yet. What happens then?

What I think can happen reminds me of what can happen when you walk really closely to the edge of a cliff. One more upset, and the family risks going over the edge.
By contrast, if you’re far back from the cliff’s edge, with each spouse urgently prioritizing communicating in peaceful partnership, this creates buffer room between your family and the edge. Conflicts can arise, but there’s enough solid ground on which to work them through, before going off that edge.

I think I must have known that at some sub-conscious level, way back when I first asked my husband to take a Nonviolent Communication class with me. I just had this vague, undefined feeling – we’re walking way too close to the edge of something we need to be very scared of.

I had nowhere near the clarity I do now on the subject. But luckily, together, we had enough clarity, the willingness to reach out for help, and help available to us.

Luck doesn’t always play out this way for every family when they need it to though. It didn’t play out this way for me in my prior marriage, about twenty years ago. My ex-husband and I knew we needed help, and we were both willing to reach out for it, but it wasn’t there, because we couldn’t afford it. All it takes is one of the elements to be absent to thwart the hope for saving a marriage.

All of this together leaves me more clear than ever how much I want to urgently prioritize Nonviolent Family Communication – both in my home, and in my practice. Look for more web pages to come on this topic this year.

In the meanwhile, I invite each of you to visit my Family Communication page, read books, take classes, and do whatever else it takes to get your family as far back from the edge of that cliff as possible.

Do it for yourself. Do it for your spouse. Do it for your children.

And, if it’s alive for you, I invite you to also do it in honor of my dear friend, and all other families suffering through painful divorces.

Tiffany L. Clark
Family Communication Instructor,
Family Lawyer-Mediator,
and Family-Life and Parenting Coach

Discover What Might be Possible in Your Family Life!
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