The Importance of Communication in Relationships
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many couples are preparing to share their love with one another through gifts, acts of service, and fun planned activities. One of the number one issues that couples face is the matter of communication – whether it be too much or not enough.
Communication is a skill that takes practice and time and changes from situation to situation. There are three main types of communication: passive, assertive, and aggressive. The most effective way to communicate with your partner and ensure your needs are met is through assertive communication.
Assertive communication means respecting yourself, respecting your partner, and setting boundaries in your relationship. Assertiveness is a balance between being passive and aggressive because it means advocating for yourself while also taking in the other person’s thoughts and feelings into consideration.
Traits of assertive communicators include:
Clearly and honestly stating your needs and wants with “I” statements
Confident and calm body language
Listening actively so that all points of views are considered
Taking on a problem-solving approach to the situation
Keeping an open-mind and being prepared to negotiate
Knowing how to manage one’s emotions
Errors in communication can lead to a lot of frustration and hurt in relationships. If you can’t always guess what your partner is thinking, then they can’t guess what you are thinking either! This means that you will need to communicate, for example, what your ideal plans are for Valentine’s, what your perfect gift would be, or what you absolutely would not like to eat. As with all skills, your communication may not always be perfect or clear, but it can contribute to a lot of growth and closeness in relationships.
For more information, check out these resources:
Article on How to Be Assertive: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/Assertiveness.htm
How to Speak Up for Yourself Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEDgtjpycYg
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell: https://www.amazon.ca/Talking-Strangers-Should-about-People/dp/0316478520/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=talking+to+strangers&qid=1579281610&sr=8-1
Or reach out to a mental health professional to get the supports and resources you need.