I once took a course in college that focused on relationships and during class one day we were discussing the topic of overall “relationship effectiveness” (aka – what held a relationship together). Each corner of the room was labeled with a noun and we were asked to stand in the corner that we felt was most important for a relationship to have.
Trust. Honesty. Communication. Respect.
There were only eight of us in the class and I was the sole individual who stood in the third corner: Communication. While no answer was greater than the other, I can still picture my instructor grinning at my choice. Through discussion, we quickly all came to the conclusion that trust, honesty, and respect cannot exist without communication.
Trust requires one to not break values important to the relationship which are made known through constant communication. Honesty would not exist without continuously expressing one’s heart, thoughts, and reasons for any choices made. Respect exists when one has a reason to admire another for what they do, which is also made known through communication. It can be difficult to maintain trust, honesty, and respect without communicating one’s reasons for having or not possessing any of those qualities.
Relationships whether with a friend, family member, co-worker, or spouse are some of the greatest gifts in life. Relationships help us to feel loved, needed, important, and give us a sense of purpose. On the other side, they can also tear us down, make us feel unwanted, and hurt. This is especially true with a relationship with a significant other or spouse.
Brian knows how important constant communication is to me. I have seen marriages fail without it and it terrifies me. As a wife I do my best to keep the area of communication completely open, leaving no wandering ideas, thoughts, or questions between our hearts. Below are a few ways we are able to keep our marriage and relationship strong with communication:
- The question of “three” and not the question of “how”: When returning home from work we do not ask one another, “how was your day?” but instead, “what are three things you want to share from your day?” This allows more than a one worded “fine” response, but instead an open-ended conversation that usually lasts throughout dinner. This gives us the opportunity to know where our hearts are in our work and gives us the opportunity to let out any stress so that it is not brought into our home life.
- Knowing when when to assist: As a woman, I have a hard time expressing exactly how I am feeling or what I am thinking. Growing up with all sisters, Brian understands this. When he can sense my lack of communication on something, he respectfully helps to gives me time to figure it out. “What is truly causing you to feel this way?” is a common question he will ask. Knowing he will not belittle, think less of me, or be upset with my answer helps me to know I can always share what is on my heart – whether good or bad.
- Knowing when to be silent: While this sounds opposite of open communication, it actually leaves so much room to learn about your partner’s heart and soul. Remaining quiet when your partner is opening up is essential in helping them to feel listened to, respected, and valuable. We do our best to remain silent when the other is sharing their heart, their frustrations, or stories.
- A family calendar: We keep a large calendar in our kitchen where we record all activities, work schedules, appointments, etc. so that no one feels blindsided by an event at the last minute. This also allows us to plan for future days ahead of time (babysitters, meal planning, etc).
- Checking in on our love languages: It is extremely easy to not feel loved by someone but even easier to not express that you’re feeling unloved! Weekly, we ask one another if we are feeling loved and how we can improve any lacking areas. Always love your spouse in their love language even if it is not how you feel loved.
- The priority of your family: Once married, your spouse is to come first (though second to God); therefore, Brian comes before my hobbies, my work, our extended family, and our son. Communicating those three simple words on a daily basis should be the most frequently spoken words in your marriage. “I love you.” As Miller grows, I will ensure that the knows I love his daddy more and while he may not understand that at a young age, he will one day.
- Confrontation with conflict: When conflict, confusion, or frustration exist, communicate it! Much of the time, it exists only because you imagine it and/or allow oneself to feel a certain way. Your significant other will not know and will not be able to assist in fixing it unless you let them know it is affecting you. While this is hard for some, I find it extremely easy because I cherish people and relationships so much I will do whatever I can to make someone feel loved, especially Brian!
Relationships cannot thrive without trust, honesty, and respect, but they cannot exist without communication. With conveying your heart and mind comes greater amounts of love, trust, honesty, and respect!
How do you ensure communication in your relationship/s? Let me know in the comments below! I am always looking for ideas to improve our daily communication!
love always, kylie