It is unlikely for a relationship to exist in the absence of communication. Without this connection, individuals cannot share ideas. All interactions will be useless. While attraction leads to fondness, it is how people interact that glues them together. So, although means and forms and communication differ, the principles are constant. An understanding of communication theories can place one at a vantage position. Of importance are two theories: Relational Dialectics Theory and Genderlect Style Theory.
These two theories are not only valid but also identify the key factors that enhance or inhibit interpersonal communication within social contexts. Indeed, the articulation of these two theories can increase one’s chances of building healthy relationships, for they deal with the most entrenched assumptions. The Relational Dialectics Theory, which was developed by Leslie Baxter and Barbara Montgomery, asserts that there is “tension, struggle, and general messiness of close personal ties” (Griffin, Ledbetter, & Sparks, 2015, pp. 137).
The Relational Dialectic focus on the tension that surrounds interpersonal communication and relationships, whereby one identifies areas of conflicts but prioritizes the collective aim of a relationship. For example, a person who values privacy has to remain transparent in a relationship. Similarly, the Genderlect Style defines the reason members of different genders tend to communicate and interact uniformly. For this theory, it occurs that men differ in aspirations from women due to the way they approach matters in that “women seek human connection, whereas men are concerned mainly with status” (Griffin, Ledbetter, & Sparks, 2015. p. 433). Primarily, while women value emotions men pursue facts. Moreover, these theories are applicable in real life situations. The Relational Dialectic theory is valid when one is identifying the source of conflicts in relationships.
In such situations, it is clear that the thoughts and the actions of those in a relationship clash. It helps establish a binding position for discussions, because of the “contradiction between connection and autonomy as primary strain within all relationships. If one side wins this me-we tug-of-war, the relationship loses” (Griffin, Ledbetter, & Sparks, 2015, pp. 39). It occurs that when people are in a relationship, they have to accept one another and create terms of engagement. But in the pursuit of these terms, one can create tensions with the internal values gained from experience. On the other hand, aspects of the Genderlects Style occur when men and women converse. While women will be interested in cultivating emotional depth, men will avoid sentimentalism. As such, their discussions will be based on facts and fewer assumptions. Men also seek to accentuate status, but women tend to focus on social bonds.
The Genderlect Style extends cultural theories to the genders asserting that “understanding each other’s style, and the motives behind it, is the first step in overcoming destructive responses” (Griffin, Ledbetter, & Sparks, 2015, pp. 438). For example, it uses the same principle that explains the difference between Americans and Chinese in interactions and applies the same elements to gender contexts. Furthermore, the understanding of these theories has improved my chances of effectiveness in interpersonal communication.
The Relational Dialectics Theory is relevant because it help the identification of sources of conflict, and so helps overcome the trivial and focus on the essential, which is the maintaining of a healthy relationship. Its application in my endeavors has been of benefit by increasing my chances of avoiding conflicts and focus on the common elements that bring people together. With the understanding of this theory, it is easier to manage conflicts in social settings. Even so, the Genderlect Styles Theory has enhanced my relationship with members of different genders.
It is possible to understand the value system based on this theory and, therefore, pursue valid and memorable interpersonal encounter. With this knowledge of the strategies that men and women adopt, it is possible to “create impressions, some of which may differ significantly from the truth” (Tannen, 2001, pp. 47). One can identify and clear the assumptions, leading to a positive experience. Also, these theories can be supported scripturally. In the Bible, the principle of love governs every interaction.
It is also true that people were built in the image of the Almighty God. As such, the respect between individuals as an extension of the relationship with the Lord. It is important that people consider each other as the closest one can get to the Lord. For it is written that “if someone says ‘I Love God and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he whom does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? ” (1 John 4:20, KJV). It is clear that the principle of love governs the two schools of thought.
Central to these theories is the fact that one should treat others with respect, and that is a subject of the Relational Dialectics Theory. The other aspect that relates is the principle of reciprocation where one should “do to other as you would want them do to you” (Luke 6:10, KJV). In conclusion, because humans are social beings, there exist several factors that determine the effectiveness of interactions and communication. The encounters are determined by assumptions and expectations, which can also limit the effectiveness of relationships.
The two theories identify the tensions that surround interactions, especially within social contexts. While the Relational Dialectics Theory deals with conflicting values between the outwardly expressed and the individual worldviews of individuals in different forms of relationships, the Genderlect Style Theory focuses on specific gender attributes that govern communication and interactions. At any rate, these communication theories, when skillfully applied, can place one at an advantageous position in interactions.