You often hear that communication in any relationship is key. There are many resources out there on how to communicate along with some topics to help get you started. There are even apps for your tablets and smartphones that are solely geared to conversation starters. The question is, Why is communication such a vital part of the relationship?
The answer to that is to learn about the other person. In a healthy relationship, one should want to bring their partner joy and avoid things that might upset them. This comes in very handy when gift buying or when the in-laws may indicate they are coming for a visit this weekend. Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew what made your partner happy, sad, angry, or frustrated? The way to gain that knowledge is through communication; lots of communication. However, it must be intentional, especially with regard to their likes and dislikes. The intentional part is to listen for key emotional words that indicate how they feel about the topic of discussion. Then, the goal is to be more curious about that so you can get a deeper understanding of what generated those emotions.
Once you have a deeper understanding of likes and dislikes, you can better navigate interactions and discussions. You will make better decisions together as you learn to anticipate how they might react or possible issues with a particular decision. Open and honest communication will help each other understand core values. When you learn to understand each other on a deeper level, you will begin to have a toolkit for bringing joy or preventing unpleasantness. This will increase positive feelings for each other and allow for even more open and honest communication to where it becomes second nature.
This process is ongoing and can last a lifetime as often we change as we mature. We may like new things or stop liking others as we gain new experiences in life. The need for communication never goes away. There will always be new experiences and changes within us that our partner needs to understand. This all pays off as we start to face adversity from aging, becoming empty nesters, or the loss of loved ones. You cannot overcommunicate.
Charles Bower, LPC Associate
My passion is relationships of all kinds. I have been working with people dealing with relationship issues, both professionally and personally, for several years and still see the potential in every relationship to not only survive, but to thrive. I also have experience with biblical and Christian counseling, which is also a passion of mine. However, I do not impose my beliefs on any client and have successfully navigated working with clients of varying world views and spiritual beliefs.