You’ve heard it said before that communication is the key to any good relationship. But have you ever really stopped to think about just how multifaceted communication is? More than half of our daily communication is non-verbal. That includes everything from tone, facial expressions, and even our moments of silence in conversation. Take a look at the picture to the left. What does the woman’s body language seem to be saying? How about the distance between them on the couch? It’s impossible to know exactly what she’s thinking or feeling without being in the room, but the truth is sometimes even when you’re in the same room as your partner it can be challenging to understand and communicate effectively.
Communication styles are, in part, learned behaviors. For example, an individual who grows up in a very stoic household may have a difficult time as an adult being open about his or her feelings and emotions because they were viewed early on as a sign of weakness and because there was not an early example of how to do so. If this individual marries someone who craves sharing feelings and experiences openly and routinely there can be challenges.
Fortunately, couples can work towards understanding their individual communication styles and needs and those of their partner’s. Through that process they can begin to adapt when necessary. Perhaps you and your partner have different concepts of what it means to “respectfully communicate” – one may view a raised tone in an argument as threatening or disrespectful while the other views it as being passionate about the topic at hand. Taking the time to really understand how your partner communicates can help you to understand how best to communicate with them.
The quantity and quality of your communication can also have ups and downs during the course of your relationship. It’s important to invest in each other and make it a priority to talk and listen. Beginning the process of truly exploring how to effectively communicate with your partner now can help lay the foundation for a healthy marriage.
Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1499