Communication Counts in a Close Healthy Relationship


Couple not talking to each other


Good communication is an essential part of all relationships and is an essential part of any healthy partnership. All relationships have ups and downs, but a healthy communication style can make it easier to deal with conflict, and build a stronger and healthier partnership. We often hear how important communication is, but not what it is and how we can use good communication in our relationships.

Communicating clearly in a relationship


Talk to each other. No matter how well you know and love each other, you cannot read your partner’s mind. We need to communicate clearly to avoid misunderstandings that may cause hurt, anger, resentment or confusion.

It takes two people to have a relationship and each person has different communication needs and styles. Couples need to find a way of communicating that suits their relationship. Healthy communication styles require practice and hard work, however, communication will never be perfect all the time.

Be clear when communicating with your partner, so that your message can be received and understood. Double check your understanding of what your partner is saying.

When you talk to your partner, try to:➛set aside time to talk without interruption from other people or distractions like phones, computers or television
➛think about what you want to say
➛be clear about what you want to communicate
➛make your message clear, so that your partner hears it accurately and understands what you mean
➛talk about what is happening and how it affects you
➛talk about what you want, need and feel – use ‘I’ statements such as ‘I need’, ‘I want’ and ‘I feel’
➛accept responsibility for your own feelings
➛listen to your partner. Put aside your own thoughts for the time being and try to understand their intentions, feelings, needs and wants (this is called empathy)
➛share positive feelings with your partner, such as what you appreciate and admire about them, and how important they are to you
➛be aware of your tone of voice
➛negotiate and remember that you don’t have to be right all the time. If the issue you are having is not that important, sometimes let the issue go, or agree to disagree.

Some things are difficult to communicate


Most of us find some experiences or topics difficult to talk about. It may be something that is painful or makes us feel uncomfortable. For example, some people find it difficult to express their emotions. It is often the things that cannot be talked about that hurt the most.

If you are having difficulty expressing yourself or talking with your partner about something, you might find it helps to talk to a counselor.
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