Communication in relationships is essential for a healthy and happy union.
Communicating isn’t something you only do when there are issues or problems that need to be resolved. It is an ongoing thing that allows you to be aware of everything that is happening in your lives.
If you and your partner are regularly discussing things, it is less likely that small issues will become big problems. It allows you to stay on top of things and keep control.
Marriages fail for many reasons but quite often it is the small things that go on to become insurmountable problems. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree all the time, however it is possible to reach a compromise that suits everyone.
One of the benefits of good communication in relationships is that there is less stress when something is shared. Bottling up concerns and worries is bad for your health. When feelings and emotions are suppressed for any length of time you get the “pressure cooker” effect.
I use a pressure cooker all the time and love it, however, I have seen the results when one has exploded and it is not a pretty sight.
Mental breakdowns can occur when people become overloaded with stress, this may be the extreme but it does happen. Talking things through, sharing concerns and exploring solutions will take a great deal of the pressure away.
My husband Chris and I have been married for nearly fifty years. We have had our share of ups and downs including my breast cancer treatment. I tend to get stressed about silly things but I always tell Chris, usually a chat sorts it out.
When it comes to discussing important issues such as, change of job, moving house, choice of schools for children etc. there are a few strategies that may help.
1) Don’t attempt to discuss anything important if you are being distracted by anything else or are on a time schedule.
2) Set aside some time when you won’t be disturbed. Pencil it in on your calendar if you have to. Things that are going to affect you and your partner, or others, needs to be treated seriously.
3) Choose a quiet place where you where you can be relaxed and comfortable. No television or radio or other distractions.
4) Write a list of things to be discussed. If you think this is extreme, remember, this is your life you are discussing, you owe it to yourself and your partner to get it right.
5) Take a clean piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the top left hand side write, Pros and on the right side write Cons. Think about solutions to your problem then write reasons why it would work under Pros, and reasons why it won’t work under cons.
When you are talking through ideas think outside the square, throw out some radical ideas and see where it takes you. To give you an idea of what I mean by this, here’s an example.
A few years ago when we were living aboard our sailing boat we worked on one of the islands in the Whitsunday Group.
Chris was running a hotel and one of his supervisors was having major marital problems. Her husband also worked at the hotel as a cleaner and what with the cost of ferry fares and childcare they were struggling.
Things were getting pretty bad and the wife told Chris she didn’t know what to do. Chris said “One of you should stay at home and keep house while the other works. Sell one of the cars, take the kids out of childcare and cut the ferry fares in half. As you have the better paid job and are more likely to be promoted, you should be the one to stay at work”
She was pretty gob-smacked because at that time men didn’t stay home and look after the children. Chris said “Go home discuss it with your husband and do the maths”.
Well she did, apparently they stayed up nearly all night discussing the pros and cons. He liked the idea but was worried about finances, however, on paper it looked good. They bit the bullet and went ahead. They ended up being better off, he loved being at home and she loved being at work and wondered why they hadn’t done it sooner.
Communication in relationships could be one of the most important tools you have to keep your partnership happy. It may even help to save a relationship that is floundering.