What do you think is the most important factor in a healthy and loving romantic relationship? Is it about the sex? Is it built on honesty? Experts tell us that good interpersonal communication skills outweigh just about everything else, when it comes to building and maintaining a great relationship. In fact, most marital problems can be traced directly back to a lack of open and honest communication. If you and your special someone wish to stay together in a happy marriage that lasts for the rest of your lives, please take care to heed the following advice.
Why communication is the #1 key to a healthy, loving relationship
Psychology Today explains that many, but not all communication breakdowns are unintentional. Speaking without consideration for the other person's feelings can be automatic and not at all beneficial to a marital partnership. Understanding that each time we speak is a point where we can make a choice is a good way to re-open the lines of communication within the boundaries of wedlock.
Couples who remember that marriage is not a 50-50 proposition but rather a relationship that requires 100 percent from both sides fare better than couples who forget this fact.
Premarital counseling: Is it right for your relationship?
A series of counseling sessions prior to marriage can be a good thing for many couples. Speaking to one another with the guidance of a skilled counselor can help an about-to-be married couple better communicate about crucial issues such as finances, values, religious beliefs, parenting, sexual fidelity and other important marital matters, says Mayo Clinic.
Partners who participate in premarital counseling tend to have more realistic expectations of marriage than couples who head into marriage with no counseling at all. Additionally, couples who attend counseling together are generally more skilled at conflict resolution. Discussing differences before saying, “I do” can help happy couples stay that way.
Major communication mistakes and how to avoid them
Emotional honesty is imperative to a healthy, loving partnership. If trust is lost, it must be somehow regained before a couple can work on the rest of their relationship. Confession of dishonesty can be difficult, but may be the only true way to mend an almost-broken union.
Hiding one's cell phone messages and keeping a password on an at-home computer can cause great distress in the other partner. Conversely, a sense of openness and constant communication can go a very long way toward easing marital tensions and creating an atmosphere of honest and real communication.
Couples who befriend other couples may stand a better chance of making it through tough times. When one spouse finds friendship with a single and available stranger, trouble at home may come to a sad conclusion.
Ways you may be sabotaging your relationship
Few situations are sadder than a once-romantic relationship that's wound up on the proverbial rocks. In the overwhelming majority of cases, one or both partners may be held responsible for the demise of love, and much of it has to do with failed communications. If you and your partner have done everything you can to reopen lines of communication and get your marriage back on track, and nothing is working, it may be time to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer.
Mind Your Marriage magazine notes that couples come apart due to several factors, not the least of which are refusal to listen to the other person's side, misinterpretation of what they say, and making assumptions about what they mean. Suppressed feelings and unresolved conflicts are also factors that can weigh heavily upon a once-happy union. When couples act passive-aggressively toward one another, and discount what their partner has to say, they are setting themselves –and their marriage– up for doom.
The gradual breakdown of spousal intimacy is another way that couples tear their love to shreds. When it comes to building and keeping a happy marriage, sexual intimacy and emotional intimacy are on relatively equal footing. If one partner imagines themselves with someone else during moments of intimacy, the marriage may be in big trouble. Likewise, if one partner emotionally “disconnects” during marital congress.
If you're planning to walk down the aisle any time soon, we hope you will take the information presented to heart. Love is a special gift and one that can last a lifetime with tender nurturing and a bit of hard work.
Josh Rahman is a relationship therapist who contributes to dating, relationship and both men's and women's lifestyle blogs with his articles. When not discussing love, or the lack of it, Josh enjoys performing arts and gardening.