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These gender differences are based on averages, so there are always exceptions among individuals.

The patterns can be summed up as women, compared to men, more often express themselves verbally.

In one study of couples, both men and women agreed that the emotional connection they shared with their partner was what determined the quality of their relationships and whether they believed they had a good marriage or not (Barnett and Rivers 1996).

A positive emotional connection includes “having a partner who really, is a good friend, likes and appreciates you as a person, and does his or her share to make the relationship work” (Barnett and Rivers 1996, 190).

This article reviews basic communication theory and lays the foundation for teaching emotional communication skills to couples.

Keywords: marriage, relationships, communication, conflict, emotions, skills There is mounting evidence that “couples build intimacy though hundreds of very ordinary, mundane moments in which they attempt to make emotional connections” (Driver and Gottman 2004).

Maybe the important thing is these people pay attention to each other.” (28) What is the basis of healthy communication patterns?

Intimacy begins when a partner shares or communicates something personal and important to them and the other partner responds in an encouraging way.

For example, a wife might be very upset with her husband for forgetting to clean up the living room, and the husband may read this in her expression (e.g., huffing while she picks up trash) or nonverbal cues (e.g., slamming the pillows on the couch) even though she may say nothing about it to him.

Humans have developed particularly elaborate verbal and nonverbal means for communication as well intricate rules for how this kind of connection is accomplished.

Communication requires a set of common symbols, ranging from verbal and written to the rich set of paralinguistic and emotive markers that people use in their interactions. Take as an example, the simple phrase “Aren’t you beautiful.” The tone and expression with which it is uttered matter tremendously.

Communication includes more than words and grammar.

Nevada, Urbana, IL 61801 Phone: 217.265-5279 fax: 217.333-9061 [email protected] communication is critical for building and maintaining strong couple relationships.

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