From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Getting Along With Family

The days of the mother-in-law jokes are gone! This may seem like a harsh reality to those of us who appreciate a quick wit and nimble tongue. But in these days of enlightened use of language, the impact of our vocabulary, non-verbal communications, and implications, necessitate a certain responsibility in speech that can no longer be ignored.

Someone once said the meaning of a message is determined by its listener; or in other words, it's the result that counts! To illustrate this point, let me suggest some tips for couples about good communication:

In our family, it is a standard agreement not to even insinuate imperfections about in-laws. But when one is detected, the words "dirty coup" are considered a polite way of ending the discussion at once.

In spite of the broadcasts about sex in the media, this remains an area of relationships where people communicate the least. Nevertheless, what goes on between people in bed remains a pretty accurate picture of the couple outside of bed. Communication is an absolute ingredient for success.

Establish rapport by paying attention to your partner first, and give them time to pay attention to you in return. It takes practice for couples get in the habit of intentionally establishing rapport with each other. Even after short periods of time away from each other, rapport is lost and must be re-established.

Often, the feelings of "falling in love" are the same as feelings of really being paid attention to and given consideration. These feelings need not remain elusive. We can make them happen or "forget" to make them happen. It's all in how we communicate.

ęCopyright 1995, Jane Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated September 26, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.