It’s all about communication. Having a healthy relationship also includes trust, love, and respect, but I don’t think any of that is possible without clear communication…
The concept of communication can seem so basic because people just talk to each other, right? How can it be so hard? Well, it’s important to realize that communication can either be extremely complex, or very simple—it all depends on whether you’re utilizing the appropriate tools or not.
So, one might wonder, what constitutes good communication? Is it how a couple speaks to one another? Is it when they speak to one another? Is it about feeling safe enough to openly share thoughts and feelings? Is it about being kind and listening?
The answer is YES. All the above create for healthy, clear, and concise communication. Being able to respectfully speak and listen to one another, and engage in a dialogue vs. a fight, is what communication is all about. Allowing enough space for each person to express his/her thoughts about an issue, have a discussion, and come to a compromise, is truly the epitome of love.
Ok, so now that we’ve got that down, why can communication make or break your relationship? Let’s discuss…
1. Back to the basics
Let go back to the basics: how do two people get to know one another? They talk.
Above all else, learning about your partner is what it takes to build a relationship. By openly speaking to one another, whether it’s sharing your deepest, darkest secrets, or talking about your favorite dinosaurs and make-believe lands, engaging in any kind of talk that provides comfort and freedom is crucial. This will allow couples to really get to know each other.
2. Safety in speech
Feeling safe sharing anything and everything with your partner is such a vital factor when it comes to healthy relationships. How can two people have a relationship, and potentially build a life together, if they’re not comfortable sharing things with one another? It’s basically impossible. If you don’t feel safe talking with your partner, this will most likely lead to fights and/or break-ups.
Respect is the most important aspect of communication. Speak respectfully to your partner. Try not to be hurtful, don’t place blame, take responsibility for your feelings, listen to one another, and tell the other person what you need in that moment. The sooner you start, the better. It makes all the difference…
4. Discussing needs
Expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs is necessary for a healthy relationship to continually move forward. Happiness is super important, and when you’re not able to share what you need with your partner, happiness just won’t be in the cards for either of you. Being unhappy is not only detrimental to you, but also to the relationship. Some of the negative feelings that may also occur when needs aren’t met are anger, resentment, and frustration. They’re not fun, I promise.
It’s of the utmost importance, to both your wellness and the vitality of your relationship, to feel comfortable sharing your needs with your partner…
5. Compromise, compromise, compromise—cheese or fries?
Making changes in a relationship so that both parties are happy requires compromise. This can sometimes elicit a little bit of a back-and-forth discussion, and will also involve a great deal of open and clear communication.
Remember when we talked about respect and safety? These aspects are particularly valuable in a situation of compromise. Talking about “issues” in your relationship can potentially bring up negative emotions, however, with listening, respect, and feeling safe with your bleeding heart wide open on that table, you’ll find a way to work out your differences.
6. Communication styles
The more you talk to one another and share how you feel, the sooner you can learn about your communication styles. Maybe during a heavy discussion, one of you needs to step away to cool down. Some people may potentially be offended by this, but if you’re aware of the way in which your partner communicates, you will allow them the space they need without it damaging the trust in your relationship.
Everyone communicates differently, and that’s okay. Just make sure that you’re aware of the differences…
7. Body language
Communication isn’t just about words, it’s also about body language. Body language can be conveyed positively with kisses, hugs, smiles, eye contact, and all those fuzzy things. However, it can also suggest negative or mixed emotions. If your partner says he/she is “fine” after an argument, however, is rolling their eyes, has crossed their arms, and won’t look at you, you’re faced with conflicting verbal and physical reactions. Definitely something to discuss using our handy-dandy communication skills, right?
It’s important to be aware of those frowns and mean faces, or anything that is out of the ordinary, as it’s a good indicator that something is going on…
The first step to improving your communication is remembering that patience is a virtue. Sooner or later you and your partner will have communication down, and you’ll function like a well-oiled machine. Until then, continue to learn about one another, love one another, always respect one another, and forgive one another quickly.
Is there something you’re not sure how to share with your partner? Check out some tips on how to say the difficult things here!