Communication is the mortar that holds a relationship together – if it breaks down, the relationship will crumble. When spouses no longer communicate, a marriage nurtures no one. It is no longer a marriage.
True communication involves respect for the other person as well as active energy on your part. These two skills are essential ingredients to making a relationship work.
Respect Your Partner
We often immediately reject another’s perceptions, especially when our views differ. This rejection may even be unconscious. We find ourselves ready to dispute the things our spouse has to say, to challenge them, or to hear them as threats. Obviously, such an attitude interferes with two-way communication. The first step to improved dialogues is to respect your partner.
Respect allows you to accept another person’s point of view whole-heartedly. Consider and value your spouse’s perspectives or suggestions. Let your partner know that your respect and value for him or her supersedes the specific issue you are discussing.
Put Time and Energy into Communication
Good communication also requires an active effort. Draw yourself and the other person completely into the communication process. If one partner dominates – ie., does all the talking, offers all the ideas, and has most or all of the control or influence – this effort can only be one-sided.
Both of you must be involved in the process.
To work towards this full involvement you should:
- Take full responsibility for the dialogue;
- Put your energy into the exchange;
- Make a commitment to seeing the process through;
- Express your thoughts and feelings fully and encourage your partner to do the same; and
- Resolve misunderstandings by asking questions and seeking clarifications rather than by getting angry.
By putting this energy into communication, you will make a statement to your partner about your commitment and responsibility. It will demonstrate that the relationship is important to you and that you are willing to involve yourself fully in this act of communication.
Intimate communication may not be worth the effort without love. Love is critical to the relationship. Yet alone it is not enough.
If there is love, however, and if the relationship is important to you then you must focus on communication. Only through good, true communication can you realize the joy of love. Good communication makes love possible, certainly makes it better, and ultimately may be love itself.