“Communication.” It’s a term that is used so often when describing healthy relationships that it is arguably cliché. But that is partially because the term “communication” is not always understood.
Communicating is not only “talking.” It’s the ability to share a message with someone else in any form (words, body language, words unsaid), and have someone else receive that message, understand it, and be able to share a message back that continues enhancing your relationship.
Sometimes Expression Means More Than the Words
One example of this can be seen in IF someone communicates with someone they love, not necessarily what they say. The very fact that they’re sharing their thoughts and feelings with their partner can say even more than the words themselves.
For example, in some relationships, one or both partners withdraw from the tough conversations. Withdrawal in relationships is a powerful tactic, because of how hurtful it is to the other person (who may worry that the person doesn’t care). It is also an “easy way out” for the communicator, as they are not forced into a conversation that they do not want to have.
So when someone DOES communicate – meaning that they expert their energy and overcome their fears in order to have the difficult conversations – that says quite a bit. A person’s presence and willingness to work something out with their partner and express their thoughts and feelings – and the other partner’s willingness to listen and respond – makes a powerful statement:
- It shows that person cares enough to try to heal the relationship.
- It says that we’re curious enough to explore issues and perspectives.
- It says we’re open enough to potentially adjust our own thoughts and actions to improve the relationships.
Before even a word is spoken, the willingness for one or both partners to “show up” without withdrawing and try to express how they’re feeling and work out their problems says more than any words can. It even tells us, as therapists, that the couple is really working for their relationship and doing their best to help it thrive.
There are many factors that go into communicating, and certainly there are ways that someone can express their feelings that are better/worse than others, but the mere act of showing up – the willingness to be there and make the relationship better – is a form of communication that says a lot about you as a couple.