In last week’s blog we wrote about the importance of spending time with your partner and not taking them for granted. Another very critical aspect of successful relationships, especially long term relationships, is to develop and maintain deep and ongoing communication.
In any long-term relationship, you have to stay in communication to feel in touch with your partner. Knowing what they are thinking and feeling is a large part of feeling connected. Let’s look at what is involved.
First, you need to know what you think and feel. You might consider that to be obvious, but it’s not. In society we are so influenced by the choices of others, whether iphones or eye-liner, that it can be hard to know what is truly our choice. Similarly, in a relationship it can be hard to unearth what you want because so often you behave in order to fit what you think your partner’s expectations are. Our desires are usually surface expressions of deeper desires, and those in turn have deeper needs like safety and being loved. Seeing your life in terms of these deeper needs will give clarity to your everyday desires.
Whatever depth of desire you are aware of, share it with your partner. This can be difficult for subjects that you are hesitant to tackle. Nevertheless, it is critical to the intimacy that is so vital to every successful relationship. In interviewing and talking with many couples, lack of communication turns out to be one of the problems that can often tear a relationship apart and estrange people who were once lovers and friends.
There are two different aspects to consider in how to avoid this pitfall.
The first is to develop genuine communication in your relationship and recognizing its importance. Successful and peaceful relationships have this communication as a foundation. In order for partners to find a flow of communication between them, they have to feel safe with each other. This is achieved by practicing acceptance of your partner as a separate individual and celebrating the differences between you. Once you know you can express your opinion, share your thoughts and discuss anything with your partner without fearing attack or criticism, you will find you want to communicate more and more with them. It becomes a wonderful bonding experience of intimacy that strengthens the relationship and creates a safe harbor for both partners. If you add in good techniques of active listening and speaking with each other, you will find an exquisite pleasure opens up to you and strengthens the union between you.
…add in good techniques of active listening and speaking
The second aspect is to maintain this kind of communication throughout the years of your relationship and to keep developing it, valuing it and protecting it. You must make time apart from other distractions for the two of you to concentrate on nothing other than each other. Set time aside each day to check in with each other, find out how each of you is doing, and share your joys and sorrows. Luckily, the more you practice this way of being together the better you will get at it, and you will feel so good as a result that this will naturally become a regular part of your life.