It takes 14 days to create a habit. It sometime takes much longer to break it. Although, practice makes perfect. There are many things we do during the course of our marriage that develops into habit. Some of these habits steadily damage relationships and communication. Habits such as yelling to get a point across is a demonstration of raw emotion, yet not a healthy way to deal with emotional pain. During communication, there are sometimes habitual “mishaps” due to a lack of emotional awareness. Here we will discuss the understanding of raw emotions, and the habits that form from them.

Emotion always takes center stage. Communication is more than conveying our basic needs, our desires, or our expectations. Communication illustrates our feelings, our emotions. It reflects our emotional state and our energy. Communication defines our ability to express ourselves. As with any skill, communication should be practiced. Communication should be thought through. Just like the saying goes, “Think before you speak”. Communication should be an exercise in patience, and a demonstration of a willingness to listen. Remember, communication goes both ways.

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When we let our emotions take control of us, it affects the way we communicate. Emotion in and of itself, represents our ability to process and share information, how we process external conditions internally. Emotion is personal, and is reliant on our mental conditioning. No one and nothing ‘makes’ you act a certain way. It is solely based on your ability to respond to external forces in accordance with how you are able to process and express this information. Emotion sometimes rule our way of communicating. We express raw emotion in order to get our point across.

Expression through raw emotion becomes a habitual practice. This is a separate issue from ‘letting our hearts guide us’. Expression through raw emotion is untamed. An example of this practice is voice raising. Yelling to get a point across is an indicator that there is a deficiency in processing and sharing information. It also becomes habitual. This is actually much more common than one might think. Even yelling to tell your spouse something in another room should be avoided. In order to keep energy positive, yelling should be avoided as much as possible. It is better to simply get up and walk into the next room to communicate. It also helps to break the habit of yelling, and returning a communicative balance between you and your partner.

Practicing positive communication creates new habits. Practicing patience assists with your ability to process and share information. Mistakes will be made, but acknowledging them and correcting them creates an awareness of the issue. This awareness is where it all begins. You can avoid the communication mishap of yelling, and allowing raw emotion to take center stage, by exercising patience. Let the new information sink in before responding to your partner. Do this long enough, and you have successfully created the habit of not yelling, not allowing raw emotion to take over, and responding in proportion. This further creates a positive energy, allowing communication to be an expression of understanding, love, and tolerance.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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