The way people convey information is through communicating, mostly done with speech. When done properly, peace and harmony fill the atmosphere. However when not practiced efficiently, what results at best is a misunderstanding and at worst a chaotic situation.
The necessity for proper communication is no less important in a marriage. For just as every relationship requires good communication for it to flourish, weather a friendship or parent child relationship, so too in a marriage, and even more so.
The key of every relationship is communication. A necessary component for people to coexist is communication. When they communicate with each other, they get to know one another, as well they learn how to get along and co-exist. The closest relationship between humans is marriage, hence, that necessitates superb communication for the marriage to flourish smoothly.
As important as communication is, communicating properly is just as important. For if one were to communicate in a raised voice where not necessary that would obviously be detrimental to the relationship. As well for one to communicate in a disrespectful manner that would definitely undermine the foundations of the relationship. The idea is, to communicate in a respectful manner the way one would wish to be communicated too, and by that bein mekayim “veahavta lerayacha kamocha’’.
The trouble is, that newcomers to martial life, that still haven’t experienced a deep relationship, which only marriage can offer, are often under the false impression that anything that has to be discussed or worked out, is a sign that their relationship is faltering. All this is of no fault of their own, for it suits their logic properly.
It’s perfectly normal to hear one exclaim ‘’if we were in total disagreement last night and we spent two hours trying to understand each other, we sure have grown apart. Wouldn’t it have been better for us to just agree to each other from the beginning? And even if we didn’t agree wouldn’t it have been wiser to pretend that we did, and just go out for ice cream?’’ As well it’s not uncommon to hear ‘’so what if it bothers me the way he handles things; I should have just kept quiet and we could have avoided a two hour confrontation, as for me I would learn to live with it’’.
Let’s imagine this strategy in action.
David comes home from work all exhausted, making his way to the kitchen he drops his bag in the narrow hallway. Upon entering the kitchen he sinks into the nearest chair and deposits his jacket on the nearby chair. His wife sara can’t stand all his belongings peeled all over the place and especially since it happens daily, even more she just spent the last hour organizing the house. Not wanting to get all moody just as her husband arrives home, Sarah tells herself oh just forget about it, I don’t care anyways. Etc…. but whether she likes it or not she is just human, and as human beings we have a hard time brushing of the things that matter to us. ‘’So, how was your day?’’ inquires Sarah. ‘’It was fine, not to eventful’’ David answers. ‘’Is everything okay’’ David asks sensing tension in his wife’s voice. ‘’Of course’’ she answers even more tense.
Let’s leave it at that.
Each one is trying to figure out what the problem is and what’s going on. They are both very confused and not sure what could have happened since he came home, only under two minutes ago. She is no less confused, since she supposedly (tried to) forgot everything that bothered her. A scenario like that can end in many different ways. At best she will realize that she can’t fool herself and will discuss with him what’s bothering her, if he is understanding and a descent person it will end rite there and with an added dimension of respect towards him. Or she will totally ignore what’s bothering her, not realizing that it’s still there. She will attempt to fool herself into believing that if it’s under the rug and she can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.
But in reality it’s still there, being stored away. Even if does manage to distract herself and go on with life as if nothing happened. the next time he behaves in this manner or in any other manner that annoys her, she will find herself a lot more frustrated then the first time, perhaps even angry. What happened was, is that by leaving her negative feelings about him unchecked and by neglecting to sort them out she was building resentment, unintentionally of course. And the more of these events that pile up the more the resentment.
When to many things are shoved under the carpet a bump appears and it becomes unpleasant to tread over that carpet. Eventually The archeology is discovered, whether we like it or not, and many times with no prior warning and often at the least desired time. Now it’s not just one little thing that can be sorted out in a few short minutes, rather it’s a whole carton of ‘’issues’’ and some with interest.
How are we to ovoid all this and create an open harmonies communication in marriage so we can be zoche for shechina amongst them.
The Rambam in hilchos teshuva, shows us the way. When discussing the laws between fellow men, says the Rambam, ( this is not word for word) that if one wrongs his fellow man, the hurt party should not remain silent and harbor the resentment in their heart, rather they should confront their friend and tell them why have you done so and so to me? Etc… and they should make up……….
At first glance one can wonder what’s the point in all of this? If my friend troughs me a nasty comment, wouldn’t it be better for me to be mature about it and work on myself; ‘’he didn’t mean it’’ or ‘’it was only a comment why are you taking it so hard’’. By confronting him I am seemingly feeding the fire and it might even turn into a full fledge feud.
But the truth of the matter is not like that. Reality is on the other side. Yes, if one can totally erase the resentment from his heart without even the slightest trace that would be preferable, but most human beings aren’t holding on such cosmic levels of greatness. By attempting to eradicate the resentment, if not done successfully then it’s merely being pushed aside till the next time something brings it up. The Rambam is telling us to avoid all that and nip the machlokes in the bud, even though it seems to make things worse, it works. For humans to relieve grudges etc…. open communication is necessary and if done properly then the hard feelings disappear and the friendship is restored as before.
It goes with ought saying that all this has to be done in a respectable manner.