If Only I Had the Key….

key to communication

Cryptography is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as “The art of writing or solving codes”.  If you find the “key”, you can unlock the “code”.

Divorce or other family breakups often result from parties not being able to communicate, or decrypt the other’s “code”.  Lack of communication and understanding are at the root of much marital discord; no matter how hard they try, whether it is through talking, writing, couples counseling, texting, email, crying, apologizing, doing all things humanly possible to understand one another, sometimes couples just can’t crack that code.

Why is that?  In my experience, it is not as a result of a couple’s lack of trying. Yet somehow, because of differences in things like families of origin,  styles of communication, religious orientations, language,  values, and  identities, parties who once loved each other are unable to bridge the communication gap and stay together.

If you search for articles and books on encoding and decoding human communications, you will find many scholarly articles and books written on the subject.   Yet divorce and other family breakups still happen.  How might couples use simple tools to do a better job in finding the right “key” to unlock communications?  It all comes back to how they communicate, not just that they do.  Even if lack of communication results in the breakdown of the marriage or relationship and a divorce or other de-coupling, that does not mean the parties should not continue to try to “unlock” the secret of communication particularly if they have children and have to continue to communicate for for the rest of their lives.

Whether you are at the beginning of your relationship, or at the end: Listen. Truly listen.  Ask questions, without judgment; communication is not about being right or wrong. Good communications are about recognizing and accepting that people prioritize different things,  have different goals, or have different  perceptions of the facts and circumstances surrounding whatever it is that they are communicating about.  There is no substitute for really listening to what the other has to say – and asking questions so that you are sure you understand – and then being sure that the other party agrees that your understanding is correct.  Don’t be afraid to try – be open to the idea that different keys open different doors.  Getting divorced does not mean that you have failed or that you can’t change or improve how you communicate. It may take time to figure out which “ key” actually works –  finding that “key” can mean better communications in the future even after divorce, which can only benefit you and your family.