Are you wondering what healthy relationships are based on?
It’s a very important question because how can you have a healthy relationship if you don’t know what makes a good one?
So what is the answer? Are healthy relationships based sex? Or money? Or quality time? Or paying attention?
All of those things are important in healthy relationships but the most important part of a healthy relationship? COMMUNICATION.
Ok, so now that that’s out there, do you wonder why communication is what healthy relationships are based on?
Let me tell you!
#1 – Good communication means honesty.
How can any relationship, be it romantic, work or familial, be healthy without honesty?
It is essential that in our lives we are honest with each other about how we are feeling, what we are thinking and seeing and experiencing.
Hiding our truths from others opens us up for relationship failure.
I have a client who doesn’t trust her husband. A long time ago he cheated on her and, while she has forgiven him, she still doesn’t trust him. She worries every day that she can’t trust anything that he says. She worries that someday she will wake up and find that her life is a lie.
I asked my client why she couldn’t tell her husband what she told me. She said that she just didn’t feel safe doing so. And because she can’t be honest with him she lives in this constant state of distrust and anger with her husband.
So be honest with your partner. Get your feelings out there so they can be heard and dealt with.
#2 – Good communication means trust.
If we are able to communicate with people we are in a relationship with, to tell them what our truths are, how we are feeling, what we want and need, then our partners can trust us.
If your partner knows that he can count on you to tell him when you are upset, to tell him when you need him to hold you close or leave you alone, to tell you what you want for your birthday, then your partner will trust in you. And you can trust in him.
Trust is the cornerstone of every healthy relationship.
Imagine if my client, who did not divorce her husband after the affair, had been able to tell her husband whenever she felt that distrust for him. If she had told him each time it occurred they could have talked it through.
Perhaps he could have learned what he needed to do to allow his wife to feel trust and perhaps she might have heard that her distrust was unfounded and that she need not fear.
Instead, they live in a parallel universe where she doesn’t feel safe telling him how she feels and he has no freaking idea what to do so he just keeps his head down and works.
#3 – Good communication means things won’t be put away to fester.
So tell me what happens when your husband does something to upset you and you don’t tell him about it.
Perhaps he had promised you that he would choose the new doors for the house project this weekend. And then he didn’t.
And what did you do? Did you make some passive aggressive remark about whatever it was that he did instead of choosing the doors and storm out of the kitchen?
Was that last year and do you still think about it?
Imagine if instead you had been able to explain to your husband how angry you were that he didn’t get the doors. That you had been counting on having the doors so that you could choose the trim color the next day.
Perhaps you could have listened to his reason for not choosing the doors and perhaps you might have understood the reason and let it go. Or perhaps you could have hated the reason and expressed your anger about that.
Either way, you would have shared your emotions with your partner instead of stuffing them down deep where they festered.
#4 – Good communication means things can change and evolve.
When there is no communication between partners things can’t ever change.
If you and your partner can’t be honest each other with how you are feeling or how things are going or how things need to be done differently then you will forever be in place of stasis. A place where nothing changes.
Imagine if, in the situation above, my client had been able to express her emotions about the fact that her partner didn’t get the doors. Her husband might have been put off by her anger and frustration in the moment but chances are he would have heard how his actions made her feel and he might have tried to not do it again.
On the other hand, because he didn’t know how she felt, because she wasn’t clear with him, he was doomed to repeat the events of the day over and over.
#5 – Good communication means a great sex life.
Here is where good communication skills really become a plus.
Sex is fun and a really important part of a healthy relationship.
If you and you are partner are able to communicate with each other about your sex life because you both feel safe that you can trust each other and be honest with each other, then your sex life will only get better.
And communicating about our sex lives has two sides: it’s important that you share what is good AND what is not so good.
For example, if there is something that your husband does that you really, really like, TELL HIM. And, if there is something that he could do differently, TELL HIM.
Many of us think that we shouldn’t talk about our sex lives because we will make the other person uncomfortable or feel bad.
But let me ask you this: would your partner feel worse if you told him to do something a little bit more to the left or if you refused to have sex with him anymore? I am guessing the first.
So communicate with your partner about what works and what doesn’t work.
I promise you it will only make your relationship stronger.
Communication is what healthy relationships are based on.
Being able to share with your partner how you are feeling, what you need, what you are seeking to understand and what is making you scared is essential to maintaining trust, preventing fester and promoting evolution.
Being honest can at times be scary, especially if it involves hurt feelings or anger, but without it, and the good communication skills that are a part of it, your relationship will flounder.
And you don’t want it to flounder. You want a healthy relationship.
So SPEAK UP! You will be glad you did.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.