The question of how to use good communication as a foundation for your relationships is a central issue when it comes to any family law case. Human beings would be social creatures; if you didn't already know, that takes a look at how we've responded to this pandemic. While the virus itself has proven to be extremely costly in terms of actual lives lost in the economic impact, it may be that the impact of the virus is just as significant on our emotional well-being in the future. I say this because with the government-led shutdowns, Anne quarantine orders in various parts of the country, our collective mental health has suffered. This suffering is a direct result of losing person-to-person contact.
Even when technology has allowed us to communicate effectively without having to be near another person, this does not mean that we can let computers and cell phones do the work for us. Like anything else, computers, cell phones, and other forms of technology are tools for us as human beings to utilize. The more effective we are at utilizing these tools of communication, the better off we will be. Of course, person-to-person direct communication is a fundamental part of being a human being and is critical to your ability to build relationships effectively.
What are the various types of relationships that become important in a family law case? The first that comes to mind is the marital relationship that you share with your spouse. In our society, marriage represents the foundational element of human relationships. Our ability to coexist and raise children is based on marriage. While fewer and fewer people are getting married, there is reason to believe that families based on marriage tend to succeed in various areas more so than families that are not based on marriage.
Learning how to communicate well with your spouse encourages strong communication skills in your children as well. These are skills that people tend to learn from one another over long periods. I have had people who are considering divorce ask me in a free-of-charge consultation about beginning a leg foundation for better communication. What I will tell them is that becoming a good communicator takes time. It is better to start sooner rather than later, but the absolute best time to take an interest in communicating with your partner better would have been years ago. However, that should not stop you from making an effort to do so now.
Post-divorce communication problems with an ex-spouse
Beyond the sort of communication issues you see between spouses, there are also communication issues that you and an ex-spouse can face after a divorce has been completed. When you think you can put your relationship with your spouse behind you after your divorce has finished itself, a whole new relationship begins as Co-parents. Co-parenting is a crucial part of your child's post-divorce development. I would argue that children learn more from observing behavior than from specific lessons on communication or any other subject. With that said, it takes a concerted effort to be able to communicate well with an ex-spouse.
If you are honest with yourself, you would probably admit to your divorce being brought about by problems with communication as much as any other issue. People who are willing to communicate with one another are more easily able to sort through problems when they are small before the problem becomes more significant. For instance, if there was infidelity in your marriage, there were probably some intimacy issues that began to something relatively small and grew into more important over time. Communicating about these issues early with your spouse could have helped to avoid problems that directly lead to infidelity and then to divorce.
In your post-divorce life with an ex-spouse, it is not as if you can wave a magic wand and make it, so the past did not happen. Rather, you can put the past behind you and start on a fresh foot with them. You do not have to forgive your ex-spouse for things they have done to you in the past, but it does mean that you need to be willing to at least be civil and business-like in your approach to communication. You can start your approach to building a good communication foundation after divorce by thinking about how you would approach someone at work or in a professional setting.
It's sad to say, but sometimes we speak more respectfully and with more care to people that we interact with at work than we do people in our personal lives. We become comfortable communicating with our spouses or ex-spouses in a certain way that we would likely never talk to a coworker or client. I know from my experiences that I can fall into a bad habit of speaking too casually or two off the cuff to my spouse in a way that I would never talk to a coworker. Typically in a work setting, I am overly polite and cordial, whereas, in a comfortable setting, I am more prone to speaking lackadaisically or carelessly at times; if this sounds at all like you, you should examine this fault and make a concerted effort to adjust yourself.
I would recommend that at the beginning of your post-divorce life with an ex-spouse, you should have a very upfront and honest discussion with them about your expectations. Remember that the way you feel towards them is likely similar to how they feel towards you. With that said, you should do your best to clear the air and make it very apparent that you have no desire to engage in frivolous or silly conversation or did well in the past. Your goals should be businesslike when it comes to raising your children's Co appearance. Put the interests of the kids first, and don't be petty with one another.
It can feel good, at that moment, to say or do things to a person that you are not happy with that hurts them, albeit temporarily. For instance, think about a time when you could have extended a courtesy to your ex-spouse it chose not to so that their life would be more difficult. If your X files were to ask you to exchange, we can Visitation periods because they had to work in you said no that may have caused you to feel good because you knew it would hurt them. That immediate gratification was probably temporary and didn't last all that long.
What you did not consider was the impact of your decision on your kids. Your children probably do not feel the same way towards your ex-spouse as you do. They view him or her as a mom or dad and not as an adversary that has to be dealt with adversarial. If you were to have approached your ex-spouse with this mindset from the beginning, you probably could have talked through the weekend swap issue and came to a compromise of sorts. This is an easy way for you to eliminate stress in your own life and to build communication skills with an ex-spouse.
How to build a better foundation for communication with your spouse
This is where I want to put our focus on the rest of today's blog post. As the old saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Meaning that if we can solve the problem of communication or poor communication before it rears its ugly head and causes problems to the extent where divorce becomes an option, then we will have done a great deal of good. It is much more optimistic about discussing communicating well with your spouse than it would be to discuss communicating well with an ex-spouse. Once things devolve to the point where you have an ex-spouse, a certain degree of damage has already been done.
Wherever you find yourself in your marriage, you can improve your communication skills. If you look at friends and family in good marriages, the common thread between them is strong communication. I hear more and more about spouses who leave the other to do their own thing and essentially lead separate lives. I even heard other people comment about how great a setup sounds because the people can act as individuals without having their spouse breathe down their neck constantly. On some level, this does sound like it could lead toward a happy coexistence. However, I would tell you that you and your spouse need to be more connected than that to be successfully married.
There is a significant difference between a marriage and any other relationship that two people may have. Marriage requires a melding of two people in many circumstances; your opinions are indistinguishable from those of your spouses. This does not mean that you have to share all the opinions of re spouse or vice versa, but it does mean that you both have to be in lockstep in a few different areas. Complete agreement on how to respond to adversity in your marriage, respond to adversity in your family, discipline your children and carry out discipline once it's been decided upon are just a few of those areas. Communication is essential to each of these aspects of your marriage.
Once you and your spouse get to a point where you disagree on enough subjects and cannot talk your way through those disagreements, that is when fissures begin to appear in their relationship; once those cracks start to form, you will need to fill them in as quickly as possible, or they will become exponentially worse over time. The tricky part of this whole discussion is that none of us are born good communicators. This is just like how none of us are born good leaders or good teammates. We have to develop these skills over time in the only way to do so is to practice, practice, practice.
Taking time out of your day to specifically communicate with your spouse Isabel is the best way to build these skills that I can think of. You may create better communication skills by sitting on the couch and having quiet time with your spouse to talk through the issues in your marriage. Alternatively, you may better utilize your time by getting with a counselor or marriage therapist; two can help create an atmosphere where communication is more productive. Either way, you need to set aside a certain period to communicate all these issues.
Yes, that can seem not easy, especially in times like we are living right now. The irony of the pandemic in the various stay-at-home orders in suggestions has been that we have had more time at home but perhaps have been less ready to talk about problems with our family. With the high stress and anxiety that our area in our world has been experiencing since the beginning of last year, it would be understandable to want to isolate ourselves even in a house full of people.
While this may feel good at the moment, I can assure you that it does nothing to help you build stronger bonds of communication with your spouse. Sometimes it takes being a little uncomfortable to accomplish go all that is noteworthy. If you and your spouse have always had communication issues, you should take the time to see about reversing those trends in your marriage now. Do not wait for the next, best opportunity to reverse communication deficits. An opportunity like the one we have now may never come up again.
One thing I will point out is that communication in marriage takes time, effort, and intentionality. It would help if you were intentional about the subjects you discussed with your spouse and listened to what you say. Parents of young children can fall into the trap of discussing only topics related to the kids at the mercy of topics that impact their marriage positively or negatively. If you are sensing or picking up on the mood in your marriage that is not positive, you should not ignore it. Rather, you should address it directly with your spouse.
Even if you do not always say the right words and do not believe yourself to be all that eloquent of a communicator, you need to at least bring the issue up and be as clear as you can about the problem with your spouse. It may be that you can sort the problem out rather quickly just by having a conversation. However, you may also choose to use an intermediary like a counselor or therapist to help bridge the gap and better communicate through whatever issue you all are facing.
Premarital and marital property agreements in their impact on better communication
To close out today's blog post, I wanted to take some time to mention how marital and pre-marital property agreements, better known as prenuptial agreements, may be able to help you improve communication with your spouse. Now, I realize that you may be asking yourself how a prenup can help you better improve communication with your spouse. Here is how I think that is the case. So many of the problems we have in marriage when it comes to communication are regarding touching, undefined, and difficult to wrap your arms around. For instance, if you are concerned over the direction your marriage is headed, your mind may immediately go towards having to divide up a significant amount of personal property and wealth with your spouse. This anxiety contributes negatively to your ability to communicate through the issues of your marriage with your spouse.
If you know that there has been a history of unease surrounding money and property with your spouse since the time you got married, then going through the process of negotiating and drafting a marital property agreement can go a long way towards helping you sort through those emotions. This is a practical and beneficial way to delay the foundation for more effective communication on these topics. Not only will you be saving yourself a great deal of stress in a potential divorce by hammering through how community property will be divided ahead of time, but you are also allowing yourselves to discover any issues that may be bubbling under the surface of your marriage.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations can go a long way towards helping you learn more about Texas family law as well as how the law applies to you and your family's circumstances. I appreciate your interest in our law practice, and we hope you will join us again on our blog tomorrow.