Communication is an important part of any relationship. It’s how we find connection and love in our partners; however, creating a relationship where communication channels are open and active isn’t always easy. Good communication requires an atmosphere of trust and compassion, which can be cultivated. There are a couple of ways you can tell if your relationship has healthy communication:
1) Partners are truthful and kind.
Being genuinely truthful in a relationship also involves being open and honest about your feelings and your position. Look for phrases like “This is how it is for me…”or “This is how I see it from my perspective…” in conversation.
2) Body Language
Body language is important for indicating you and your partner’s position and feelings in a relationship. Those in relationships with healthy communication will probably exhibit body language including leaning towards one another when their partner is speaking.
3) Each partner is given the opportunity to speak
Healthy communication requires communication from both sides of the relationship, not just one. Both partners should have the freedom to say what they think and express their feelings.
4) Statements are kind, brief, and to the point
Good communication doesn’t require beating around the bush. You and your partner should be able to say what you feel.
5) Concerns are sandwiched between expressed appreciation
It’s important to articulate your concerns in any relationship; however, relationships with healthy communication can frame their concerns with gratitude and affection.
It’s important to know the signs of unhealthy communication in a relationship just as much as healthy communication. Noticing when things aren’t right is the first step towards repairing communication channels. Here are a few signs your relationship’s communication might need some work:
1) More speaking than listening
Sometimes too much talking can be a bad thing. If your communication shifts into monologues instead of dialogue, it may be a sign that your communication has drifted away from listening to each other.
This can happen on both sides of the relationship. Defensiveness can manifest in different ways. Some people go on the offensive and some people withdraw.
3) Escalating anger
Anger is a definite sign that communication has reached an unhealthy place in the relationship.
We all have a desire to be known and loved. Communication is how we get to a place of identification and trust. Sharing the best and worst about ourselves allows us to rely on our partner without the fear of secrets or mistrust. Communication works like a stream of water, things can muddy up the water and inhibit the constant stream flow. There are many things that can inhibit good communication. Some examples include:
• Few common interests
• Personal differences
• Arrogance and self-focus
• Judgmental attitudes
• Defensiveness (a failure to acknowledge unkind acts)
• Pushing another to forgive or forget a transgression
• Incongruent body language and communication
• Cowardliness or avoidance of difficult issues
• Escalating anger
• Failure to keep commitments
If you’re sensing signs of unhealthy communication in your relationship, you might want to consult a licensed professional to resolve your issues. Psychotherapists can help couples work on goal setting and goal achievement. If you and your partner are willing to work together, there are ways to repair your communication channels.
“Anyone can choose to be compassionate, truthful, and succinct. If they do, communication will be easier ad communication techniques will be more successful,” said Christian W. Mosemann, MSW, BCD, LCSW of TPMG Behavioral Health.
If you or your partner is experiencing communication problems, psychotherapists can help you find ways to understand and empathize with your partner. Healthy communication in a relationship can be challenging, but it’s also the way we find genuine connection and acceptance from others. Consider talking to a TPMG Licensed Clinical Social Worker today about how you can cultivate healthy communication in your relationship.
About Christian W. Mosemann, LCSW, MSW, BCD
Christian W. Mosemann, LCSW, MSW, BCD, is an experienced psychotherapist practicing at TPMG Behavioral Health in Newport News, VA. Mr. Mosemann’s primary professional interest is in couple’s relationships and he enjoys working with couples to help them work towards and, ultimately, maintain a positive, loving relationship. He believes there is nothing finer than coming home to an environment of mutual trust, respect, and genuine enjoyment in your partner’s company.