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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Be #RelationshipGoals with these tips to communicate with your significant other

    Being in a relationship, in many ways, is like jumping in the ocean without a life vest. It can cause feelings of invigoration and timeless happiness, but the fear of the unknown can appear to be revealing and terrifying at the same time. Whether it’s a newly-formed relationship, a long-distance relationship or a long-term relationship, the key to any successful partnership is being able to effectively communicate with your significant other.

    Messages and communication make up our world. Dr. Diana Leonard, adjunct lecturer and director of public speaking in the communications department at the UA, said communication is a necessary facet in all relationships.

    “You cannot not communicate,” she said.

    Though all relationships require communication, the difference between all relationships and a romantic relationship is that the romantic relationship “requires a deeper level of vulnerability,” according to Leonard.

    Aimee King, an adjunct lecturer in the communications department, discussed communication theories that essentially reveal the idea that a relationship is based off the communication that is shared between partners, and that “it’s not the relationship that impacts the communication, instead, it’s the communication that tells us how stable and satisfying our relationships are.”

    Although communication can sometimes be flawed between partners, it is necessary to further develop strong communication skills regardless of communication styles. Everyone handles things differently. Some people would rather avoid conflict, while others are fueled by it.

    “It’s crucial to try and understand where your partner is coming from, especially if the two of you are not seeing eye-to-eye on a particular subject matter,” King said.

    She explained that understanding is not essentially agreeing with what the other person is saying.

    “If both people understand that the other is trying to see the world from their perspective, then it helps bridge the misunderstanding,” she said.

    Communication is not only necessary for couples who see one another daily, but it is even more significant for partners who are in a long-distance relationship.

    Leonard said that when it comes to long-distance relationships, putting in a little bit of effort can make a big difference.

    “It’s the little things that really matter,” King said. “It’s even a short daily phone call. No relationship can survive and thrive if it’s put on ‘auto-pilot.’”

    Although communication is an important factor in all successful relationships, a general mistake that can cause tension in a relationship is when an individual does not make his or her own needs known. Lack of expressing our own needs can turn to blaming our partner.

    Leonard suggested talking “about ourselves and describing our own experiences, while seeking to hear the experiences of our partner, which may differ.”

    It’s important to not only listen to the message your partner is trying to convey from his or her own perspective, but to also acknowledge what your partner is feeling.

    Common mistakes may include criticizing our partner and being defensive when we hear things we don’t like or agree with, according to King.

    Although making mistakes is an inevitable part of all relationships, it’s important to recognize that if you are feeling contempt, criticized, defensive or stonewalled—described by Dr. John Gottman as “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”—it is a red flag, not a yellow flag, according to Leonard.

    Leonard warns it is important to be aware of these behaviors.

    “[These behaviors do not] mean that it’ll never work, it just means that this [behavior] must be fixed,” she said.

    If this behavior continues, one might seek outside help or move on from the relationship.

    The relationships formed by communication throughout our lives are a blessing, because at the end of the day—individually and in our relationships—we are still trying to find our purpose in this world.

    Leonard reveals that the relationships in our lives are gifts that should always be cared for, paid attention to and nurtured.

    Giving is as important as receiving, so it is a good idea to give a little more than you expect in return, then you’ll always feel full.

    Follow Hannah Djavadi on Twitter.

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