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Communication: The Foundation of Strong Relationships

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Communication: The Foundation of Strong Relationships

 

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said.” -Anonymous

The strength and endurance training in any and all relationships starts and ends with the capacity for communication. I have often called our communication skills the currency of a relationship, because it is literally the air that lives between people that makes their relationship vital or suffocating. It is perhaps the most complex set of skills that healthy relationships require because it is close to impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood. This is not only because our spoken words make up only a small fraction of the myriad ways we communicate. We also communicate through our tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.

The biggest complication is that we often communicate without fully understanding the needs, desires and judgments we are expressing.

It is no wonder that communication issues are frequently identified as the most challenging aspect of relating and the place where relationships falter. We stubbornly hang onto the belief that if we have expressed ourselves clearly, the communication is made. This belief overlooks the fact that other people can only hear you when they are moving towards you, which is usually not happening when they feel like they are being pursued by your words. The healing revelation in relationships occurs when we recognize that the most powerful experience in communicating happens through listening and not expression.

Learning to listen is not an easy skill to develop and is arguably in short supply in many relationships and even in life itself. To listen well we must begin by recognizing that the most important thing we give to someone we love is our full attention, free of judgment and expectation. We must be willing to open to the loving silence which real listening requires.  Cultivating this internal quiet slows down the interaction so that you hear not just the words, but the meaning behind them. Communication transforms into connection when we listen not for what someone knows but for who they are.

This kind of communication is the moment our relationships create grace. It carries a truly magnetic current that pulls both people into full presence and allows both parties to unfold and know themselves and each other. Truth telling, even the most difficult truths are able to be expressed in the shelter of this being heard, which is so similar to being loved that most people can’t tell them apart.

The following story has many classic communication issues. Which can you identify?  How do the communications get crossed between them? How do they misinterpret this miscommunication? Where is the breakthrough?

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

33 comments

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11:08PM PST on Jan 21, 2014

I knew this blog post was existed someplace. Thanks to post such articles. Will unquestionably be using it very soon.
Adler

3:46AM PDT on May 20, 2013

I have got the superb information from these blogs finally.
who calls me

11:29PM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Great article! Thanks for sharing :)

4:43AM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

Brothers and Sisters,
It is in communion and it is communicated.Both are the in an exhale the breathing. And without communicated and heard, life is just suffocation. Present world need care and concern to be heard with love .Giving this is nature best gift by any human

10:15AM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

thanks

soul communication is of importance too,

zhi gang sha book "soul communication" may add more awareness of the use of soul communication to help your relationships.

Think of it this way, when you visit a house and the atmosphere is good, I think its tapping into the soul of that space. similiarly in my opinion, unspoken but palpable energy between different people can be palpable and healable.

12:42AM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

Alongside my computer I have a note to remind me of a good communication method :
Observation-Feeling-Needs-Request
We often don't think before we speak - more particularly when we are speaking to someone close to us. We need to ask the question : What outcome do I want?
Women make shopping lists - it would be just as easy to give one to your partner.
It's easy to slip into the habit of poor communication, but if we value our relationship, it's worthwhile reading our wise Wendy over and over again.......

10:41PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

Great article, thanks.
Unfortunately my choices in partners were not conducive to their even attempting to really listen, let alone try to understand a point of view different from their own. Third time lucky???

11:44AM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

so true! thanks!

10:30AM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

I agree! My boyfriend and I get into arguments (smaller ones) but the communication allows us to understand each other better in the end. My ex and I were so complacent with each other that we never once fought and the relationship was horrible.

11:02PM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

Very true, my wife said I did not listen enough but when I did she was pleased & even amazed, certainly makes our friendship & relationship so much better after 29 years

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