Communicating In Today's Relationships
Today I want to talk about a subject that is near to my heart; my relationship with the most wonderful man in the world - my boyfriend. We have been together a total of SEVEN years and some change. For most people that's a super long time, but for us, it feels just right. We didn't need all that time to figure out where it was going, but it doesn't feel like time has passed by so slowly! We have had so much fun along the way.
I have heard from many a family member and from most of our friends that we "are a great couple" or "you're so strong together", and I can't get enough of it! I feel like we are winners on some dating game show! One of things I most contribute to our relationship being so strong is COMMUNICATION, and it's what I'm here to talk about today.
For a lot couples in our generation, communication appears to be difficult – at least in my "case study" (i.e. asking my friends about their relationships). And from what I can tell, no one knows why! My hypothesis is the more you communicate, the easier it becomes. But let's talk first about why communication is SO SO important and then we can go over how to overcome the fear of it.
Disclaimer: I am not a couples counselor, I have not taken any courses about relationships, and I have never been married. But I do know that even as inexperienced as I am, I am doing this much right. Communication with your partner is the KEY to a successful relationship, and that goes for other relationship types as well, like siblings, parents, and friends.
Nine times out of ten, when there is a problem between us, it's due to lack of communication. Someone failed to tell the other one we already made plans. Or someone decided to keep their emotions to themselves and then it all came bubbling up to the surface at an inappropriate time. Or someone failed to communicate early on that they don't even like said activity and only did that for the other one. And when my friends come to me and complain about something, it's the same argument with a different twist.
I'm going to sum up any scenario I could put here with this quote I found: "Why can't you just tell me what you feel, because how you act confuses me" (source). How true is this? How often do we find ourselves in an argument, only to realize that it all started with lack of communication, and could be ended by just talking to one another?
So what do I ask first when a girlfriend tells me about a problem? "Did you ask him about it? Have you discussed together what you feel about it?" It's the same response every time – an overwhelming "NO". So why do we all have such a hard time communicating in today's relationships? You could blame in on technology, saying it's slowly forcing us away from one on one conversations with other humans. You could blame it it on previous generations that say men shouldn't share their feelings. You could even blame it on our parents, saying so many of us grew up in broken homes or in a place of animosity where emotions were never a top priority.
But I don't think it's any of those excuses. I think couples in relationships today are SCARED. We are scared of commitment, we are scared of "trying to hard", but most of all, we are scared for our futures. We love so much living "in the moment" that we often get anxious thinking about the future our parents wanted for us. And nobody wants to talk about the hard stuff, because it's HARD.
But I'm here to remind you that this is all part of growing up. Picking the wrong partner, making bad decisions, learning from our mistakes, and working through our past and present. As a couple who wants to make it through the rough times, you must TALK to each other. Talk A LOT. Talk about anything and everything. Talk about how you feel, what your goals are, and stand your ground. Talk to HIM/HER, not just your friends.
And if you think struggling to stay on top of bills counts as "rough times", think again. What happens when you have kids? What if one of you doesn't want kids? What if one of you becomes seriously ill? Quit stressing about insignificant issues like favorite TV shows and furniture picks, and start talking about the future. Are you heading in the right direction together? Are you both on the same page? Are you even in the same book? Only talking to one another will resolve 99% of the problems you have between the two of you.
My boyfriend and I take communication very seriously. When someone is angry, we talk about it. When someone is grateful, we express it. And we are such a great team because of it. We've been though some tough times together, and we would have NEVER made it through if we didn't trust each other enough to TALK through it. How do you ever expect to live a life of complete happiness together if you can't even tell each other when something isn't working?
So start today, start tonight, start right now communicating to each other. The good stuff, the bad stuff, the scary stuff, the crazy stuff. Start little by little, creating a specific time to talk to each other. We spend almost every evening sitting on the patio talking about our crazy day at work, or talking about politics, or talking about our next vacation, or talking about what kids will be like, or literally anything we want to talk about. Because that's how it should be: open and honest communication. You should feel like you can come to each other with all your problems.
So tell me, are you communicating enough? Do you feel like there are too many problems between you? Have you talked about all of them? Please comment below!