At the risk of sounding cliché, I am going to venture to say that relationship communication is a very, if not the most, important element in the overall success of a relationship. There are of course effective and ineffective ways to communicate. It also goes without saying that everyone involved in a relationship should hold communication in the forefront of their “to improve” list. If you are able to communicate openly, honestly and respectfully with your partner, it is quite likely that you will have a long, happy, and healthy relationship that can handle any type of challenge, and rise above any obstacle. The key characteristic that develops when good relationship communication is in place is strong intimacy. There are three parts to the information we will look at here. To say it simply: The Basics, The Characteristics of Intimate Relationship Communication, and Simple ways to cultivate that intimacy in our hectic day to day.
The Basic Elements of Successful Relationships
There are basic elements of successful relationships. Look at them at the building blocks or the foundation on which the relationship is built. When you read through these they seem obvious, but I can assure you that we break these basic “rules” on a daily basis. Remember, things that are simple are not necessarily easy. In order to succeed and achieve happiness in this area of your life, it is absolutely essential to emblazon these values on your forehead and try to live them as best you can.
- Respect – When you are in a relationship, actually even when you are not, respect is the starting point to every and any interaction with another human being. There is a key here that is missed sometimes. Respect includes the other persons feelings, even if they do not make sense to you. Remember that the next time your partner freaks out for something you consider “ridiculous”.
- Trust – This is a biggie. There is also a catch 22 involved. Trust builds on trust, but someone has to put the first card on the table. As intimacy grows, trust grows. If there is a “most valuable” thing to cherish and protect in a relationship it is trust. When trust is lost it is very difficult to recover.
- Appreciation – There are things in your partner that you value. Tey are the things that make your skin tingle, that get you watery eyed, that make you proud, that make your legs shake. These things are what we appreciate from them. When things are not going our way, we should always try and se the forest for the trees. Everyone has their faults; but it is because we value these other traits that we are with our partners. Don’t lose sight of them.
The Characteristics of Intimate Relationship Communication
Relationship communication is built on the values of respect, trust and appreciation, but real intimacy is built with some additional tools. There might be some overlap between the first list and the second, but hey…we are trying to be simple here right?
- Openness – this characteristic is about saying what’s on your mind, to not having a hidden agenda. Openness is about sharing grand things like dreams and fears, and mundane things, opinions and dislikes. If you feel there is something, anything you can’t share with your partner…there is work to be done!
- Honest – Here honesty is about telling the truth. Be careful here though, the three characteristics have to be in place for it to be a dialogue that builds intimacy. Honesty without respect can be harsh and insensitive; and yet the other extreme, hiding the truth or telling “white lies” are just that lies…although you might consider them necessary sometimes, make no mistake… you are not building intimacy when you tell them.
- Respectful – Here again respect is more about feelings than insults. We are not talking here about not calling someone names. We are talking about treating their feelings with respect. That we do not understand them do not make them wrong or inadequate or ridiculous. Respect how your partner feels…there is no rationalizing it… that is how they feel no matter how stupid you think it is.
Simple Relationship Communication Techniques
Once intimacy is built, there are simple ways to remind our partners and ourselves of that connection throughout the day. While a good majority of what I propose is so simple that one may laugh a bit, you will be surprised at how truly effective these are. Here are some ideas that you can put to work right away:
- Love Letters…or notes…or emails – Love letters like those sweet little ones written in high school can be a great way to bring back memories of your earliest time together. Technology has empowered us to use SMS text messages, email, there are so many different ways in which we can immediately get an “I love you” to your partner that it is a shame when a day goes by without taking advantage.
- Online Chat – In today’s world of instant messaging, you can now chat back and forth – even if you are in the same house! This is an easy way of saying what you want to say, without stirring up bad feeling and adding the component of intimidation of talking in person. You are at the office just got an annoying email from your boss… how refreshing is it to take 5 think about your lover and just say “you had me at !”.
- Calls – Then there is the basic call to touch base. Now there is a difference between “Did you pay the telephone bill?” and “You complete me!” So make sure the purpose of your call is clear. Believe it or not, just hearing your partner’s voice will change your immediate perspective.
If you are ready to take your relationship to another level and build intimacy like you have never enjoyed, start by respecting, trusting and appreciating what you have, and let them know how you feel…every day through effective relationship communication!