Four Keys to a Successful Relationship
Part 2: Communication
Last week we talked about the four key elements to having an unstoppable relationship. Those keys include making your relationship a priority, good communication, appreciating the differences between men and women, and the importance of intimacy. We discussed the first one, making your relationship a priority, which includes working as a team and shifting your focus from the negatives to the positives in that relationship. One way we can work as a team and focus on the positives is to find a better way to communicate with each other.
Communication can be one of the most effective ways to create and keep a strong, healthy relationship. There are two types of communication, verbal and nonverbal. We use nonverbal communication as we navigate the dating world through flirting and, later on, as a way to keep the fire going in our established relationships. Verbal communication helps us establish a relationship and express our desires and intentions early on. As the relationship progresses, however, verbal communication becomes very important in keeping us aware of our partners needs, discussing life changes and settling disagreements. If done the right way, communication is healthy and beneficial to the relationship. But, there are times when it can become harmful. Remember that we want to use communication to work as a team. It becomes difficult to do that if there is a lot of negativity. Be sure to speak positively to and about your partner. Give compliments and be genuine about them. It is also very important to express appreciation. This does not always have to be an elaborate production. Just saying thanks for the little, day-to-day activities can mean a lot to your partner. It is also important to take time to talk about your day with your partner. Use the time after the kids are in bed or over dinner to tell each other about work or other important areas in your lives. It is a nice way to wrap up a busy day. Show each other support and encouragement. Remember, you are in this together!
There are some important things to remember about communication. Words can be very strong and hurtful if said in the wrong way and at the wrong time. It is natural to have disagreements with a loved one, but how you communicate your feelings can make a huge difference. If you are trying to settle a disagreement, it is important to take time out and consider how your words will affect your partner. Instead of trying to discuss the issue when angry and emotional, consider taking a time out to figure out how you feel, why you are angry and possible solutions. Many times we argue with our partners simply because we are emotional about the issue. Taking a little time to calm down can be beneficial. If possible, try and find a time you both can agree on to revisit the issue after you have both had a chance to calm down. Also, it is important to keep your words in check. Don’t use harsh words, use name-calling or belittle each other. Keep the current issue the only issue, and leave the past in the past. Going in with a positive and calm attitude will help you and your partner come to a solution faster and in a more positive way.
One last aspect of communication, and much more fun to discuss, is using it to keep the sparks flying! This can be verbal or nonverbal. Use modern technology to your advantage by texting fun and sexy messages to your partner. And, remember that flirting is for everyone, not just those who are dating. Write your partner a little note, and put it somewhere special for them to find. Make a special dessert to have after the kids are in bed. Make sure to have physical contact throughout the day as well. This can let them know that they are special and loved without words ever being exchanged. Have fun, and be creative with this one! Your partner will appreciate the extra attention.
Communication is a very important part of our relationships. Use positive words and express your feelings to your partner often. Try and work problems out together by discussing at an appropriate time and in a positive way. Remember that relationships take time and effort. Use communication to your advantage to make it unstoppable!
Lori Ann Davis, MA
Certified Relationship Specialist