Relationships are about relating and communicating!
As I have stated previously there are 10 things which I believe are really important factors to having a healthy relationship. A relationship which will stand the test of time, of stresses and of the challenges life brings. These are the things I call the relationship fundamentals and I will be going over each of them here on my blog.
Fundamental # 5 Communicating and relating:
Communication is the life blood of our relationship because relationships are all about relating! We can communicate in many different ways, it’s not only the words we say, we also communicate through our body language, attitudes, behaviours, tones of voice and touch.
To quote Anthony Robbins; “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
It is important to learn how to bridge our differences instead of judging them. Consistent and frequent communication is vital to all relationships and most important in our primary relationship. Relating includes, sharing and discussing your feelings, thoughts, intentions and desires, doing things together, doing things for each other, affection and touch. The more you let your partner know about what goes on in your head or the feelings you are having or your dreams, hopes, intentions or desires the better he or she will be able to integrate you and your needs into what he or she does, ultimately leading to a much more enjoyable and healthy experience.
Many people expect their partner or friend to be able to read their mind or think that it is obvious what you are thinking or feeling. This is totally unfair to your partner and is an unhealthy assumption that often leads to problems. It is your responsibility as a healthy partner to relate and convey what you need/desire/want from your partner and be willing to listen to their needs/desires/wants. It is also important to feel comfortable expressing your personal boundaries and saying no when it is appropriate to do so. You both must feel that your opinion is respected and accepted by the other person and that there is no judgment in your relationship.
You don’t have to become a chatterbox to effectively communicate. Simply checking in with each other regularly is important to relating and communicating well. Clarify things as needed or if many topics have been covered summarize back what you have heard to make sure you got it all.
Please avoid absolute language like “always” and “never”. Using “I” statements that describe your feelings instead of “you” statements that often make the other person feel attacked can really improve communication and keep the communication open and flowing.
Getting good at laughing at ourselves is a necessity in my book, often we take ourselves way to seriously. A sense of humour in the face of the everyday stuff, can be very powerful for your relationship with yourself and with your partner. It allows for creative solutions to otherwise challenging situations. Learning how to laugh at yourself and learning to not take life too seriously can create some very fun evenings that you will both be talking about for years to come.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
The caveat here is to communicate with the intention of understanding or being understood. Communicating what is going on for you without attacking or criticism is important. Your partner needs to know when they have stepped on your boundaries or when they have harmed you. Be specific about what it is that bothered you or what is going on for you. You are BOTH individuals that deserve to be treated well and sometimes we make mistakes and occasionally we hurt each other unknowingly. You need to share your needs in a calm and non-critical way. You also need to make space for your partner to share their side of the story. If you both can understand where you are coming from then you will know how to take care of each other in the future.
Avoid the complain game to your friends, your family or your partner’s family about them. Even though you think these comments might be made in confidence, the criticism about your partner will be felt by them. Somehow we all know when we have been spoken about in a critical way. Even if we are not present, we still know. This can be a powerful force on your relationship. Unless you are being harmed in a way that requires the help of friends and family, keep your personal complaints between you and your partner. So, if your partner is sloppy around the house, do not share this with friends and family either in front of or behind your partners back. If you are seeking real help to resolve the situation, then you might want to speak with a coach or another qualified individual who can be constructive and objective in solving your situation. Remember you cannot take back what you have said once you have said it and other people, family or friends may hold on to or judge your partner or could cause an issue by giving unwanted advice or criticism.
When couples stop communicating and relating, they become roommates instead of soul mates and might ultimately get their needs met elsewhere.
Ask yourself these questions …
- How would you rate the communication in your primary relationship, marriage, partnership or last relationship?
- How could you improve your communication?
- What attitude could you choose to develop which would assist you in being more compassionate and patient?
- Are you complaining to others? Will you stop?
- If you have issues which need attention are you willing to get professional help?
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