Many medical couples strugglewith communication. Fortunately,physicians and their spousescan improve things at home by puttingsome oomph into their communication.Before we discuss how to do this, let'sreview our subject matter.
Communication is complex. How wecommunicate depends on our geneticmakeup, what we learned growing upfrom our first role models (ie, our parentsand stepparents), and what we picked upfrom friends, colleagues, life experiences,and previous relationships. We are humanvariants in medicine. Couples must striveto improve the integrity of communicationin their marriage, which takes commitment,resolve, and guts.
We communicate at both a consciousand unconscious level. Conscious communicationhas two forms: expressed (ie,what we discuss openly with our spouses)and unexpressed (ie, what we censor, pushaway, or sanitize). Often, our spouse willperceive that we are inwardly upset aboutsomething, though we don't express it.
Unconscious communication is revealedin our dreams and fantasies. It's what wesay and do when we are uninhibitedbecause of alcohol. Be opento self-examination so that you are able tocommunicate more directly and authenticallywith your spouse.
Now that we've covered the basics, let'sdiscuss your options. Following are suggestionsto improve communication betweenyou and your physician-spouse:
Michael F. Myers, MD, a clinicalprofessor in the Department ofPsychiatry at the University ofBritish Columbia in Vancouver,Canada, is the author of Doctors'Marriages: A Look at the Problemsand Their Solutions (Plenum Pub Corp;1994) and How's Your Marriage?: A Book forMen and Women (American Psychiatric Press;1998). He is the past president of the CanadianPsychiatric Association and welcomes questionsor comments at email@example.com.