When I wanted to start investing in real estate back in the year 2002, one of my mentors advised,’ real estate investment is about three things – Location, Location, Location!’ Similarly, when it comes to living a married life, it’s all about communication, communication, communication. I am not even talking about a happy or an out of the world married life, communication is a must for a basic functional married life.
I don’t claim to have this bit in place in my life, but have come across glaring examples of communication gaps in couples. We invited a lot of people to our home for a book signing event last month. Since the number of invites was huge, my wife ended up sending messages to one spouse in many cases. When I met some of the invited people later and mentioned that we missed them at the event, they were completely unaware about any such event because their spouse never told them. Now, that is okay for a relatively insignificant event for you but if this happens for a more important occasion, you may not like it.
Need for Communication in Married Life
Since the responsibilities of married life multiply pretty fast after you have kids, the need for communication also increases at a rapid pace. Most couples end up implementing a division of labor. For example, the husband may become the outside work specialist and the wife may take care of the household. Or the husband will take care of all the boy child’s events and the wife will do the same for the girl child. In some cases, I have seen that the mother takes care of studies whereas it is father’s duty to take care of the extra-curricular activities. Even if you have such or any other form of division of labor, it is imperative that the couple keeps each other informed of all developments in either sphere. The division of labor doesn’t mean that your responsibility is over for the stuff that doesn’t fall in your domain.
The other day, we suddenly remembered that the third of a series of vaccination for our daughter was overdue. The first two were done by my wife taking her to the doc. But I was not aware of the same and had no clue that the third part was due around February. Since, my wife got extra-busy with her work, we ended up missing the date. Luckily, the doctor said there was a grace period of a month.
When outside world talks to either spouse, they end up treating you like a unit. They assume, at least we assume, that any message given to one spouse is delivered to both of the spouses. In cases where the messages are not delivered effectively between the spouses, others don’t get a great impression about you as a couple.
Use your smartphone messaging if not anything else
Even kids can take real advantage of such situation. One mother declines a particular request for a playdate or a sleep-over and the child requests the same to her father, who ends up approving the request. To avoid this, communicate instantaneously with your spouse. Agree you cannot disturb him or her while they are at work. Just drop a one liner on any of the one million messaging apps on your smartphone. Or, if you haven’t heard from your spouse on what the child is asking you, take your time to talk to the spouse.
Information received from parents, in-laws and other relatives also falls in the category of ‘need to be shared asap’. After our marriage, when we’re talking to our parents or other relatives who were in a different city, we used to work on the same principle and treat them as a unit. Bur very soon I realized that the messages conveyed to one relative was not reaching their spouse. So we had to make an extra effort to inform both of them for the important stuff.
For a large majority of my friends and relatives, I don’t really go out of way to have same conversation with both spouses but for a few important ones we have no choice but to do it.
Following a simple guideline of passing on important or rather all information to your spouse can save a lot of time, trouble and trauma!!!
(There were more scandalous examples of communication gap that motivated me to write this but I think that will be going a bit too far in public domain, so please get the hint!)
A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.