“Here’s what we can learn from ‘Pride and Prejudice’”


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It is not new to have been in situations where you are trying to convey something to your partner and put across what you really feel and ends up like this excerpt from Pride and Prejudice:

 “Mr. Darcy: Miss Elizabeth. I have struggled in vain and I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment. I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you… I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, my family’s expectations, the inferiority of your birth by rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.

Elizabeth Bennet: I don’t understand.

Mr. Darcy: I love you.”

Speaking about any relationship, one most stressed factor is the role of communication. What to say, what not to say, when to say what is expressed. What about when there are no words? Our body language and nonverbal behaviours – such as your facial expressions and miens, tone and pitch of your voice, gestures – can express more than words.   

As per a research conducted on Human Connection, which focused on the ‘positive correlation between positive nonverbal behaviors and the duration of dating, committed, and martial relationships, the researchers found significant findings in two factors, longevity of the relationship and overall relationship satisfaction, which are positively correlated to the use of positive nonverbal behaviors. The findings of this study are significant because it shows that an increased use in positive nonverbal behaviors will help increase relationship satisfaction’,(“Positive And Negative Nonverbal Behaviors In Relationships: A Study Of Relationship Satisfaction And Longevity”)

So, what do you seem to be communicating when you are not speaking? Let me try to polish this with an example. Imagine a person, in an auditorium, telling you to move from the back row to the front. Simple? Now imagine the same situation but with the person pointing to come forward and occupy the seats in the front. Did it seem a bit more demanding or bossy? This was acquired by just changing one part of the body language. Applying the same to relationships, body language, gestures, touch and tone has the power of changing what you might want to convey to your loved ones.

How do I communicate aptly?

To be accurate with the nonverbal messages that you might be sending across, you need to be aware of what you are feeling and the way that influences you. Being emotionally aware helps you recognize not only the way you are feeling, but also recognize how the other person might be feeling, to aptly respond (not react) to the situation. Reacting instead of responding to the situation can make a bad scenario worse, not just for the person but for everyone involved as well. Say, in an instance of a fight with your spouse, instead of blaming each other or bringing up old issues, calmly think about what both of you are trying to put across.  


Although both have similar meanings, when in communicating nonverbally in a relationship has the following roles to play:

         The nonverbal can reinstate the message you put across verbally. (Saying “I understand” compared to saying the same with eye contact and a hug, makes an enormous change in the way the listener understands)

         A lot of times, facial expressions can convey what words cannot. A stronger yet simpler way of communicating. Be aware of facial expressions of a person. Sometimes, your partner or spouse  might say something contradicting what he/she is saying. Responding to their gestures increases closeness and understanding

         Emphasizing is like typing in bold. Or underlining what you need to stress on. For example, clenching your fist, pounding a table, pointing and so on, accents the underlying intensity of the message conveyed. (The Importance of Effective Communication, Edward G. Wertheim, Ph.D.)

         The tone or pitch of the voice can also indicate anything and everything, or even nothing. It only takes the tone of the voice to change a message to sarcasm or a joke. And the same to sound impedingly angry.

Always remember that any kind of communication has ‘nonverbal’ incorporated within itself. The way you look at your partner can suggest love, anger, remorse or just plain banter. Touch is, let me quote this, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia.

There is so much that can be impactfully done through not verbally communicating. In conclusion, be emotionally aware of yourself, your body language and expressions and focus on how you want to convey that to your spouse/partner. This, in turn, makes a huge difference.

References and Research: