By Wilma Bedford
A great deal of importance is attached to communication techniques to keep a relationship healthy and the focus is usually on conflict handling or on damage control. And after the big talk was had, how can communication on an everyday level strengthen the building blocks of a relationship? If communication is based on the knowledge that the basic human need is to be appreciated, to feel safe and loved and to experience growth, the battle is half won.
- Everybody wants to feel unique, appreciated and important and listening to your partner with undivided attention must surely be one of the most important building blocks in a relationship. Be a good listener by endorsing what your partner is saying, nodding your head, asking questions (but not to catch him or her out), and reacting to what was said. Switch off your cell phone. Make your partner a priority.
- Talk about unimportant things with your partner. Light-hearted silly talk has a bigger effect on the uniqueness and health of a relationship than serious conversations. This kind of talk is safe and self-revealing because you and your partner are showing each other a side of yourselves that does not come out in a composed serious conversation. Talk about a radio or TV programme or about the new mall that is opening, or share a joke.
- Share and do unimportant and seemingly trivial things together, such as going for a walk, peeling vegetables for supper, reading the newspaper together. Make physical contact, even if it is only to touch your partner for a moment or two.
- Every human being has a need for physical and emotional security and safety. You want to be sure that you are in a safe, stress-free environment. Create an environment for each other and also find out how safe your partner feels.
- A heathy relationship also needs variety. Create healthy challenges and goals, for instance saving for an adventure weekend somewhere or starting out on a new sport item. A do-it-yourself project at home will also provide the necessary change from the usual TV-watching over weekends.
- Assure your partner of your love but take care that a verbal declaration of love is not used to defuse conflict. There are also other ways of showing love and appreciation, for instance a little squeeze, holding hands while watching TV, a wink and a smile or a surprise in a lunch box.
- Intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth is a continuing process and will prevent a sound relationship from stagnating. Discuss, for example, a church service, attend spiritual courses, enrol for a course that will hone certain skills, and become jointly involved in community organisations.
- Give and contribute towards each other’s physical and emotional wellbeing by, for example, giving your undivided attention to your partner while he or she is talking. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt; give your partner a second chance; accept your partner’s fallibility and contribute toward your partner’s success by constantly motivating him or her.
- Compliment your partner on his or her nice qualities, but also on small things, such as how nicely the table is set.
- Appreciate each other, but also say thanks for the small things done for you.
- Focus on building an experience; this is the collective history that keeps the relationship together.
7 Ways to Improve Communication in Relationships
Communication in relationships. 25 August 2017.
The Key to Communication in Relationships
6 Surprising ways to Communicate Better with Your Partner
Barth, Diane. Successful Relationships. Psychology Today.