A good theory is simple and testable, and it is not isolated from our daily life. Based on the theories I have learned from the previous weeks, I found out that theories are applying in our daily life and related to the relationship with people, I would like to discuss the theories about interpersonal dynamics which is consisted of two theories: interactional theory and dialectical theory. Interactional theory is defined as a communication system in which a group of interrelated and interacting parts that function as a whole.
The system view of communication rests on four propositions: All parts are interrelated; stems are organized wholes; the whole is more than the sum of its parts and systems strive for, but never achieve equilibrium. I would like to elaborate how this interacrional theory is applying in my family. There are only three members in my family, my father, my mother and me. It was in the final semester of my middle school year, in order to get further and better education, I wanted to finish my high school in our capital city of Sichuan Province rather than stay in our small town.
Fortunately, at that time my father’s term of office ended, and in addition of the long distance, my parents decided to move to the city with me to start a new life there. My father told me that we are family as a group and my decision would affect theirs. Then we whole family moved to the city, my mother quit her previous job and we started our new life. We three as a whole are more than a family but a system, and generate new parts and ways of interacting.
As time goes by, in the new environment, three of us touch with different people and get to know new communities, the more open we contact with others, the more smoothly we are accepted in our new environment. My mother used to be a working woman, since she stopped working; she changed her role into taking most responsibility to look after my father and me to balance the family distribution. My father is in charge of making money and decisions on big issues such as purchasing a residence or cars.
This interactional theory benefits our life and influenced me a lot which I will discuss in the dialectical theory. Dialectics are contradictory or opposing tensions. It is conflict, opposition, contrast, or discrepancy between two things, such as the desire for distance and the desire for intimacy. Here I would like to elaborate the three dialectics on the base of my romantic relationship with my boyfriend, from both internal and external forms.
The first pair is integration and separation which involves tension between wanting to integrate ourselves with another person or persons and wanting to be separate from others; and the external form involves the tension between wanting a relationship to be included in larger systems and wanting to keep the relationship private. The second dialectic is stability and change which involves tension between wanting sameness, constancy on one hand and wanting stimulation or change on the other hand.
For the external form is tension between wanting to conform to conventional social expectations and patterns in a relationship and wanting to emphasize the relationship’s uniqueness. The last but not least dialectic is expression and privacy which pivots on tension between the desire to be open and expressive on the one hand and to be closed and private on the other; the external form involves wanting to reveal a relationship to others and wanting to conceal it from public scrutiny.
Firstly, integration and separation, in the first three months, both of us pursued the closeness and intimacy with each other, and open our relationship to friends. While after half a year, we gradually found out that we actually need some personal space to spend with friends and own business. And also after one year, we introduced each other to our own family, which now I realized it was time we entered the second dialect, stability and change.
We spent and shared our time on routines such as phone calls, dates and so on to create sense of security, because of this stability, it pushed us to involve in our family members and develop our relationship a higher level. But we always give each other surprises and new patterns such as travel together to a new place.
For the external form, now it is our third year, we are facing this international relationship; I am in Malaysia while he is in China which makes me think we are more different and difficult than other’s relationship, we put more trusts and efforts in this relationship so I believe we have a more solid emotional foundation. Because of this distance love relationship, in the third dialect, expression and privacy, in the first place, we shared our secrets and be open to each other to concrete solid relationship.
After I came to Malaysia, we tend to express more, communicate more and concern more about each other, so everyday we spend time to talk, to understand and feel each other’s life. But after all we are not in the same place and learning same things, sometimes we are fail to really touch each other’s inner emotion which leads to conflicts and misunderstandings. Because of distance, I rarely disclosure our problems to my parents and friends because I understand they will very worry about us and give me unwanted advice.
So basically my boyfriend and I prefer to be open to each other and solve our issues quickly rather than remain silence, in my opinion, communication is the best way to maintain relationships, let alone for distance love relationship. After learning communication theories, I realize we are actually applying these theories in our daily life and relationships every single day, especially theories about interpersonal dynamics. It helps me understand why some situations happened and how to solve them, even predict before it happens.
Julia, T, Wood, (2004), Theories in Communication, Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.