Being in a relationship is complicated. It takes work and a lot of patience. Many factors make up healthy relationships like respect, trust, honesty, but most importantly… communication. Good communication is a learned skill that takes practice in the form of active listening. Both individuals understand that when they have discussions, they need to be open, non-judgmental, and accept each other’s views/opinions even if they disagree.
Family Builders believes in healthy relationships where both people are free to be themselves, understand each other’s values, and accept each other without trying to change one another. To do this, there needs to be a high level of open communication free of frustration and confusion. Here are four steps for effective communication in a healthy relationship:
1. Honesty is the best policy
Stay true to the facts and the problem at hand. There is no room for blaming or accusing one another. Also, it’s important to use “I” statements such as “I would like to tell you my feelings…” instead of “You always interrupt me.” Remember that you both are a team, and a team works best when they can communicate effectively. Blaming and accusing can leads to resentment, so be sure to state your feeling and thoughts by using “I” instead of “you.”
2. Keep your word
Decide on the rules for the conversation and stick to them. Good rules to follow are:
· Putting your phones away while you discuss the matter at hand.
· Keeping voices calm and soft, no yelling.
· Make eye contact.
· Do not interrupt when one person is speaking.
3. Pay attention and be empathetic.
The key here is to be a good listener. You must stay engaged in the conversation even if you disagree with what the other person is saying. Instead, please take a minute and try and put yourself in their shoes. Think about what the situation might feel like to them. It’s also essential to not hurry to speak, but let them say everything that they would like to say, take a minute to think about it, then say what you would like to say.
It is crucial to show validation in what the other person is saying, even if you disagree. Repeating back what the other person is feeling is a great way to show you comprehend their feelings and understand what they are saying before you move forward in the conversation.
Another important factor for healthy relationships is apologies. Apologies are needed to show empathy, validation, and change in a relationship. To create a meaningful apology, you should mean it and take steps towards changing your behavior.
If you would like more information on healthy relationships or communication, please contact us at (405) 232-8226.