Continuing the series where I asked a bunch of my friends who I think are in healthy marriages to share a key or two about what they have found helps make their marriage work well. Here are thoughts from my sister-in-law:
I think one of the biggest things that makes our marriage work for us is our communication. Communication when joking together, communication when talking, communication when sharing feelings, communication when showing our love for each other, communication when disagreeing, communication when discussing disagreements.
Two of the biggest things I’ve learned since being married, and both of them I’ve learned from Ewald, are these:
Realize in a discussion or difference, or in a misunderstanding, that everyone has a unique perspective which is because of their unique personality and identity (those things you fell in love with) so try and see the situation from their perspective. A lot of stuff starts to fall into place then.
The other thing I’ve learned is not to shout or get angry when we’re having an argument or disagreement. I sometimes want to, but all that will do is escalate things to an ugly level. Ewald always discusses things calmly even when we’re frustrated because we’re trying to be understood and to understand and it’s that kind of patience and love and kindness in speech that makes me want to discuss calmly… If that all makes sense? I guess what I’m trying to say is that we each hold the responsibility for the tone we set in a discussion and I’ve seen so many times how ewald simply choosing not to speak in an annoyed voice or not to speak angrily makes me want to treat him in the same kind way, then we’re able to communicate more effectively in the situation and are able to avoid causing hurt.
[Bronwyn Duffield Witthoft – married for 5 and a half years to Ewald who commented in part iii]