Nara Schoenberg’s (2011) article, Researcher Talks About the Role of Communication in Marriages, discusses the theory that couples are more likely to have a lasting and satisfying relationship if they have ten minutes of ‘self-disclosure’ on a daily basis. This entails the two people having quality conversation involving asking, and then answering, one question each. The questions should be of an open nature. As the article says: “You might ask your partner about his or her favorite book, best friend or dream vacation. Why doesn’t he get along with his brother?” (Schoenberg, 2011). While it is likely that couples who communicate regularly and effectively will have a more satisfying and lasting relationship, it is not certain that their conversations have to always include self-disclosure.
The idea that people will be happier in their relationship if they set aside time, each day, for conversations featuring self-disclosure seems sensible. It is fairly well known that two keys to a successful relationship are communication and honesty. As the article points out, in a relationship, people can stop communicating with each other, except to discuss household chores, for example.
My experience of relationships certainly supports this idea that communication must be maintained. However, I’m not certain that self-disclosure is something that needs to be done every day. In fact, it may even start to feel forced, and may affect the relationship in a negative way. Talking things through, especially about feelings and experiences, is undoubtedly important in having a satisfying relationship. However, I think that this communication can be everyday conversation, which is just as important, if not more important, than self-disclosure. After all, “when you communicate with other people, language and nonverbal communication allow you to establish contact with others” (Sole, 2011).
There are differences between men and women, but there are also many similarities. For example, both men and women like to feel needed, and not like they are a short term plan until ‘something better comes along’ for the other person. I would be interested to know whether any gay or lesbian couples were included in this research of married couples.
The research is based on generalizations, and this tends to be fairly accurate overall. I feel that I do fit into such generalizations quite well. As a woman, I like to be reassured and valued through words. I much prefer words than actions or gifts, which can seem empty.
Overall, it seems clear that couples have a better chance of a lasting relationship if they communicate properly and on a regular basis. However, daily self-disclosure conversations are probably an unnecessary detail.
Schoenberg, N. (2011). Researcher Talks About the Role of Communication in Marriages.
Chron. Retrieved from http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411609.html
Sole, K. (2011). Chapter 7: Connecting with Others. Making Connections: Understanding
Interpersonal Relationships. Bridgepoint Education, Inc.