“Communication is key.”
We’ve all heard this trite relationship advice so many times that I feel like it barely means anything anymore.
What I’ve come to learn is that while this statement is mostly true, it’s also incomplete. Anyone who’s been in a relationship with crappy communication knows that yes, we need to be able to talk to each other—but it’s often how we talk to each other that has the biggest impact on our connection.
Because while communication is absolutely necessary:
Healthy communication is key.
Mindful communication is key.
Compassionate communication is key.
Direct communication is key.
Honest communication is key.
Verbal and non-verbal communication is key.
Consistent communication is key.
Loving communication is key.
(And as a reminder, listening is a huge part of good communication.)
It’s not enough to just say words and hope that everything in our relationship works out for the best. But because we are all different people who were raised differently and learned different communication skills, we often find ourselves at odds in relationship if we fall for someone who doesn’t express themselves the same way we do.
Maybe we’re bold and impatient and want to handle issues in the moment while they need some alone time to process their feelings. Maybe they are quick to anger or raise their voice in conflict while we want to sit calmly and hold hands when we disagree.
Maybe we speak first and think later. Maybe they don’t want to speak at all. Maybe they refuse to go to bed angry. Maybe we’d rather sleep on the couch until we’re calm.
So how do we learn to communicate with our partners in a way that leaves us, and them, feeling heard and valued instead of ignored and attacked?
Well, this advice from podcast host Rhonda McLendon about how to carefully communicate our frustrations has become my new definition of #relationshipgoals:
@relationshiprestored Carefully Communicate Your Frustrations | What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments! | “Real Love Scenario” podcast availble on Apple, Spotify & YouTube! #relationshiprestored #reallovescenario #fyp #relationship ♬ original sound – relationshiprestored
“I heard this woman say, ‘I will never allow anybody to be sweeter to my man than me.’
If this is a man that I want to be with and I want to spend the rest of my life with, if I’ve gotta put together 50 words to soften that blow than just wildly reacting to it because I’m just mad in this moment, I will do that a hundred times over because he’s worth it to me.
I don’t want to be his enemy. I don’t want to be a disrupter of his mindset or his peace of mind. I want to handle him with care because he means that much to me. So I’m okay with taking the long route to do it, as often as I need to, in order to massage that.
And also, most importantly, it’s because that’s how I’d want to be handled. I would want to be handled with that type of care and concern because you don’t want to drop me. I’m fragile. And I don’t want to drop you.
So if we both are working on that type of ferris wheel, communication to me just flows better. We’re talking through being understood and not just proving a point.”
As someone who is as quick to shut down in conflict as I am to pop off (and say things I later regret), I’m well-aware of the energy and awareness and mental gymnastics it takes to be vulnerable in communication. And how scary it can be to soften into ourselves and our partners when we’re frustrated.
But I also know that the moments I have chosen to handle my partner with care, even when I’m upset, are often the moments that bring us closer to a resolution. And closer to each other—which is exactly where I want to be.