Communication in Relationships

Do you remember when you were a child, trying to catch bubbles in the wind, only to have the bubble pop in your hand when you finally did catch it? Communication in relationships often can be as elusive as that bubble. It can feel as if you are running in circles, sometimes getting it but more times watching it burst apart.

Different is good

One of the first steps to establishing communication in your relationships is accepting that everyone is different. Differences can bring varied perspectives to the table. It is important to remember that in general, men tend to compartmentalize their emotions and thoughts, while women allow everything to meld together. This difference can challenge relationship communication, so being aware of the different ways in which you perceive situations can help resolve conflicts.

Listen

Every relationship can flourish when both people listen to each other. Sometimes we have to listen beyond the words. Tune in and hear what is really being expressed. When he asks you to send him a text to let him know you arrived at a destination safely, it's generally not because he wants to know your every movement. What he's saying is he cares about you and wants to be assured that you are all right when you're away from him.

Focus

During any conflict, it can be difficult to remain focused on the main issue. Communication is key to the establishment of a healthy relationship with a friend or partner. However, communication can break down quickly when one or both of you becomes sidetracked. When having a discussion, disagreement or argument, you must stay focused on the topic. Dredging up past indiscretions will only drive a bigger wedge in your relationship.

Ban the blame

To keep communication in your relationships healthy, agree to ban the blame from discussions and arguments. It doesn't matter who started it-agree to resolve it together. Pointing fingers and laying blame only creates more problems. When blame is placed on someone, he or she may feel several emotions, including anger and sadness. Even if you are right, rubbing it in with blame is ineffectual and can only harm the relationship.

Speak up

Communication in relationships is not about being the loudest, but about vocalizing your feelings. In an article in Selfhelp Magazine, Dr. Phil Rich suggests that effective communication requires finding ways to be honest and to express your feelings. If you hate that he leaves his towel on the floor every morning, then tell him. Don't silently pick it up each day, seething inside. Speak up, but do it without aggression. Try a little humor. With a smile say, "It's thoughtful of you, honey, to leave your towel on the floor for me to step on instead of the bare tiles, but it's not necessary. Could you hang it back up when you're done?" He may not even be aware that he has fallen into that habit.

Understanding the different nuances of communication can make or break a relationship. Just like catching bubbles as kid, learning to communicate effectively in relationships takes patience and practice.

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