The movie Fireproof is a great example of the highs and lows of interpersonal communication. I think the most obvious aspect of interpersonal communication is the degenerative communication spiral. Caleb and Catherine stopped communicating with one another. They stopped caring what one another thought or about each other’s needs. However, what is more important than this is they began to turn elsewhere to be heard. Catherine began looking for acceptance and value from someone else, and began communicating with another man the way she would have her husband. This communication spiral nearly brought their marriage to an end. Another important aspect of communication in this movie was self-disclosure. Initially, Caleb was trying to hide who he really was when no one was looking. The fact that Catherine brought up his actions made him angry. However, it wasn’t until after she brought them up that he was able to address the issue the way that he needed to.
The couple seemed to have lost their way to understanding the identity of one another. Their identity was revealed once again to each other in a very slow manner. Despite the negativity they soon began to reveal their identities to one another once again.
The most important underlying concept that I saw was the active listening. Neither Caleb nor Catherine were engaging in active listening with one another. Caleb began to try to study Catherine, and continue to learn about her as time went on. This was intentional resourcing. The “love dare” did a good job of identifying the needs inside the marriage (Fireproof, 2006). While Caleb wasn’t looking for the needs to be identified in the beginning, he did eventually begin to see the needs and address them. This method of interpersonal communication eventually began to change Caleb’s perception of Catherine and help him to see things from her perspective. However, it took a lot of time and effort for him to begin to see her. In the end, ownership and openness is what saved the marriage. Caleb was able to enlarge the conversation by taking ownership of his own problems in the marriage and being open to making changes for the better. Communication between Catherine and Caleb became more effective and productive once they were able to get through the barriers they faced. However, in order to get through the barriers one must be intentional with communication and self-disclosure.
Kendrick, A. & Kendrick, S. (Producers) & Kendrick, A. (Director). (2008). Fireproof [Motion Picture]. US: Samuel Goldwyn Films and Affirm Films.