Poor communication is one of the top ten biggest reasons why relationships fail. After that initial honeymoon phase wears off, any minor incompatibilities will be put to test. How you navigate over obstacles and face adversity will rely on how well you communicate with each other.
The importance of communication includes effective communication. Being able to listen and take criticism is required by both parties. When one person begins to feel like the other is being unfair, that’s when cracks form and threaten the relationship.
If you feel like you or your partner is a poor communicator, there are some steps that can be taken to prevent a breakup. The key is being open and honest about these shortcomings and that both are invested in improving communication.
Here are some important factors of communication and how to make improvements.
Transparency and Trust
Building trust with someone is a long process. Nobody can immediately trust someone, no matter how much they may love them. Some families may love each other, but that doesn’t mean they trust them.
If you’ve been together for years, but still don’t fully trust each other with everything, there may be some transparency issues. You’ll know when you fully trust each other, as Kristen Klussman describes it as being ‘deeply connected’ with one another. This is when both partners can sense what the other needs without them asking for it.
With open transparency in a relationship, insecurities vanish and no matter what the issue is, both feel comfortable talking about it. Being able to trust a person enough to confide in without fear of humiliation or judgment is huge.
In a serious relationship, support is more than just a handout, a bailout, or reaffirming one’s beauty. Support must be thoughtful and not just given when moments reach their worst. You need to be there during the good times and bad times.
Communicate openly about things that might be troubling each other. Support their decisions when they’re making them, even when you might disagree. A healthy support system is a key to a long-lasting relationship.
Joint decision-making is another form of support that must come once both of you are living together. Responsibilities are shared, big decisions deserve a 50/50 vote, and honesty is necessary for keeping communication healthy.
Love is an emotion that often gets confused with lust. Love in a relationship cannot be one-sided or conditional. Yes, love should be an unspoken bond, but the expression of that love should never waver.
Men are probably the most guilty of this lax in communication after they get comfortable with their relationship. They stop sending flowers, saying “I love you.” and expressing their feelings, overall. If the other person feels less loved, they may start to be concerned about the relationship.
These feelings should not be allowed to fester, that’s why good communication is so important. When you stop talking to each other for long periods of time, paranoia, distrust, and insecurities take over.
Fighting and Falling Apart
At some point, there will be disagreements or full-on arguments in the relationship. This isn’t necessarily always a bad sign of miscommunication. Even couples who talk to each other all the time have arguments.
The importance of communication here is that these disputes are resolved and are not allowed to drive a wedge between you. Both of you need to be on the same page and winning an argument should never be the goal. Petty squabbles that exist just the prove the other person wrong is a tell-tale sign of trouble.
When fighting becomes a regular occurrence, insecurities, deceit, and lies take over and communication is lost.
Recognizing the Importance of Communication
Don’t let communication drop off to the point where things get snippy, petty, or stressful. You should be comfortable talking to your partner about anything, anytime, anywhere. Here are a few tips to prioritize good communication:
Listen and Empathize
This requires a bit more effort than just nodding along and smiling. Listen to your partner with full attention. Turn down the TV, put down the phone, and listen. Engage with their conversation and only insert your opinion when given an opening.
Don’t Be Funny/Sarcastic 24/7
A couple that laughs together, stays together, but with moderation. Don’t become a TV sitcom couple, where the lines of sarcasm and seriousness are blurred. When you’re joking in the middle of a family crisis, you might go too far and lose some respect from your partner.
Don’t Lean Too Hard on Another
Power couples are one thing, mutually dependent couples are another. That means, don’t shape your personal success completely around the relationship. If you meet someone who is already in a successful stage in their life, don’t slack off on your own journey.
Support each other, yes, but don’t become completely dependent on each other or risk compounding stress. Practice self-care and positivity to grow stronger together and keep that spark alive.
Prioritize Body Language
A man who cannot read body language will have a tough road ahead in their relationship. If you cannot detect whether someone is mad at you, disinterested, or wanting attention, then you’ll get a lot of frustrating conversations. If you can read body language, you’ll likely avoid many arguments improve communication.
Avoid Text-heavy Convos
Texting is so dominant in our culture now. It has led to a lot of great ways to meet people, but it still fails as a form of communication. Use text for love notes, small talk, or simple requests. Never use text or even phone conversations to communicate serious concerns.
Without the body language from above, or tone from texting, conversations can get misinterpreted and lead to real trouble.
More Help with Communication
If you take our advice to heart, you will definitely see improvements in your relationship. Both parties need to understand the importance of communication to succeed. We often take for granted our relationships that have great communication.
Compare the friends or family members that you have a good relationship with. Now, think about what you do and how you talk to them differently than your partner. It’s having insight like this that will help keep you together with someone much longer, rather than reacting to problems that come up.
If you need more relationship help, you should consider couple’s therapy. If you think that’s only for those who are on the rocks, think again. Read our guide to couple’s therapy here and decide for yourself.