ou know how sometimes it is unclear to make out what a person means when they text you about a problem? For instance, because you cannot hear the tone of their voice or facial expression you tend to get confused? 

Eventually, you clarify but that is after realizing that it is much harder to make a point over a screen--but at least your point was made. 

Well, put that same concept into a relationship, at some point something will be said that is misunderstood. That is NORMAL. Because it is normal you need to remember to address what was confused or nothing is solved. 

Well, that is what happens when there is no relaying of communication in a relationship. It is crucial when you choose someone that you want to be with that you make it abundantly clear what it is that you want.

Sometimes it seems easy to ignore a problem rather than state it to your significant other due to worries of judgment or starting an argument. 

For the sake of your sanity and that of the person whom you care for, remember to keep the following general rules to maintain healthy communication. 

Healthy Communication Rule #1: Tell them when something bothers you, no matter the severity

A couple talking and holding hands.
It is always best to be honest with your partner even if you feel uncomfortable. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Maybe you’re still in the honeymoon stage of your relationship and the thought of critiquing your partner this early makes you think your partner will be angry with you. 

Maybe you think that your concerns are not valid enough to address because to others they might appear small? 

Regardless of what you THINK, it is very important to speak to your partner when you are noticing a behavior or language that you are not comfortable with. This will ensure that you have been heard and actions to change will take place. 

Do not bury the way that you feel simply because you are worried about how it will come across because eventually, the repeated behavior you failed to address will bother you. 

If you choose the right person they will respect your concerns and clarify to you that it was never done on purpose and that it will change. They will learn more about you when you speak about things that you need. 

Healthy Communication Rule #2: Accept now that you always the have the potential of being wrong in a given situation

A couple sitting on a peer.
Everyone can end up being wrong when looking at other’s perspectives. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

None of us are perfect, that is something that needs to be remembered. It is easy to get stubborn from time to time or even become “know it alls.” 

There is a level of respect though that needs to be had when in a relationship because there are two different perspectives. Two different minds, thoughts, and backgrounds. You signed up to go through life with another person so understand that the way that you think may not always be the most common. 

Go into every argument or problem with the notion that you could be wrong; this will ensure that you have given the basic respect of hearing your partner out which will promote healthy communication. 

If you shut out the possibility of a mistake then you will never correct what could be truly affecting either of you. This will deter growth. Put pride aside and work towards hearing each other out.

Healthy Communication Rule #3: Think about what you say before you say it

A couple embracing.
Choose your words carefully. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

As you no doubt have heard before, words are power. Especially to those who we care about. Any set of words can determine the mood and attitude of a conversation. 

Avoid using words or phrases that would undermine or disrespect your partner like, “Well I wasn’t going to say this because I knew you’d flip out,” or “You wouldn’t understand anyway.” 

You would probably never want to hear these things so have that same understanding when choosing what you want to say to your partner. 

Healthy Communication Rule #4: Stay off the phone

A woman looking into the window while being ignored.
Be present and in the moment with the person you care about. Image courtesy of psychology-spot.

One of the most irritating factors of our present technology is the hold that it has over us. It is safe to say that distractions caused by cell phones occur more often than they should and because of that it can affect relationships.

Unless you’re using GPS, answering someone or something important, or looking up ideas for your date, avoid being on your device. 

This makes the person you’re with most likely feel rejected or unimportant. Think about the days before technology and how you see some of those marriages lasting 60+ years. You do not need to be on your phone when you’re with someone you care about. 

Give them the attention that they deserve. I’m sure you’d appreciate that same treatment. Face-to-face contact is important, do not give in to distractions. 

Healthy Communication Rule #5: Give praise when needed

A couple smiling at each other.
Always uplift your partner and they will do the same to you. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Everyone can admit they like to hear a compliment from time to time. This is no different for the person that you are in a committed relationship with. 

It is important to tell your partner when you are proud of them or that they mean so much to you. This will clarify that they are important in your eyes and that will end up helping them mentally as well. 

You are in this person’s support system so it is good to show that without being told to. There is nothing worse than miscommunication of feelings because someone hasn’t been audibly congratulated or been vulnerable about how happy they are with you. 

It should not be hard to do when there must be so much you already like about your partner. Even something small could end up making their day. 

Healthy Communication Rule #6: Talk about boundaries

A couple looking at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Always be upfront about what you are comfortable with. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Remember that you and your partner are two different people. It can be easy to get caught up in the romance and combine everything you both enjoy together all of the time. Over time though that can get frustrating because you haven’t had time apart. 

It isn’t a problem to be excited and want to share most things but also take time on your own. If you have a career goal you want to fulfill make sure your partner knows that is a priority and to not feel left out if they are not always a priority in that situation. 

It may sound harsh but it is only going to improve the growth in your relationship because you have things you accomplish on your own. 

Straightforward boundaries also consist of intimacy. Be sure to have a conversation with your partner about what you are comfortable with. They can’t fix anything or not cross a line if they do not know. 

We cannot stress this enough, you are TWO different people who before meeting had your own plans, goals, and values. Do not lose sight of these because you are infatuated or in love with another person. 

Healthy Communication Rule #7: If you’re comfortable with it-- talk about your traumas

A couple sitting on a bench.
Putting trust into your partner is a difficult but rewarding thing to do. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

This next step is one that only you can decide. You do not owe any information to anyone, if you relay such personal information it must be on your terms.

In the case of being comfortable enough to speak on it, let your partner know what you have been through in the past. This will show that you are open and vulnerable, proving you trust the other person. Your partner may consider being vulnerable as well with you. 

Once deciding to open up your partner will most likely say or do anything to avoid you ever going through what you already have. You may find out you’ve both gone through similar experiences. 

If you think this person might be the one you end up with forever then it could be good for them to know every little thing about you. They can help to avoid triggers and be sensitive to your needs. 

Healthy Communication Rule #8: Never EVER use the silent treatment

A woman walking away from a man.
Say what is on your mind rather than holding back thoughts with your partner. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

When feelings of anger or sadness arise the last thing you want to do is shut your partner out. This will make them feel useless or disrespected when they are trying to communicate.

It is easy to want to make the other person angry by not getting automatic forgiveness but all you’re doing is hurting your relationship. 

Yes, take some time to think if you need to but do not completely ignore or silence the conversation because you’ll keep running into walls. 

Obviously, there’s no fixing communication if you won’t have the conversation. Silence will only prolong the problem.

It’s all love.

As we stated before this is someone that you thought was great enough to have a committed relationship with. This isn’t a middle school relationship where the worst thing that could happen from a breakup would be seeing them at lunch or gym. 

This is another human with a heart and soul and it is important to remember that you have the capability of hurting them more than the average person; so be considerate. 

Always talk about what is going on no matter how small, it will only help the two of you grow.

Aug 25, 2021