Most would say communication is key to a healthy relationship. I’d have to agree. However, not all communication supports a healthy relationship. There are some communication habits that make matters worse.
Relationships don’t usually end because of the challenges. They end because of our responses to those challenges. Does your response support the growth of a relationship or its failure? If your communication style is listed below, you’re probably supporting its failure.
You ever met someone who says “yes” when you both know they really mean “no”? Or you ask them an open-ended question and they respond with “ok.” Maybe they don’t even respond at all. These are all examples of passive aggressive behavior.
Your partner could be passive aggressive because they fear speaking up. On the other hand, they could be passive-aggressive in order to punish you.
Either way, passive aggressiveness ruins relationships as it rarely leads to finding a solution to the challenges your relationship is experiencing.
When you find yourself listing things your partner does wrong, you’re probably finger pointing. Remember, you can’t punish another adult. No one wants to feel like they’re in a relationship with a parent. Avoid attaching your partner to the action. Though they might have done something disappointing, it’s not necessarily who they are.
Instead of saying “You’re a horrible listener.” Say “When you don’t remember our conversations, I feel like you’re not listening to me”
One puts your partner in a position to defend themselves. The other gives them an opportunity to engage.
Ignoring Love Languages
According to Gary Chapman’s best-seller, The Five Love Languages, everyone receives love inat least 1 of 5 ways.
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
I suggest learning your partner’s love language while sharing yours at the beginning of a relationship. When you want to show your partner how valuable they are, you communicate using their love language.
On the other hand, if you ignore their love language, they might start to believe you don’t value them. Don’t guess. Don’t assume. Learn their love language and use the information to show them how important they are to you.
Seeking to teach instead of learn
When your partner disappoints you, you might find yourself trying to teach them to do better. However, you have to remember you’re dealing with another adult that you do not have ownership of. Seek to learn why your partner makes the decisions he or she makes.
The goal is not to change someone to fit your ideal relationship. The goal is thave a healthy relationship where you and your partner feel free to be your true self.
Bringing up the past
Accept it. Everyone will disappoint you at some point in life. Healthy relationships are not composed of perfect people but are composed of imperfect people who accept each other’s imperfections. Imagine having a job with a manager that continually brings up the one time you were late 3 years ago.
You’d likely be less productive and happy with the job. When you move on from challenges in your relationship, actually move on. Make your partner feel like you believe in their ability to get it right this time.
Did you see yourself in any of the above? The good news is, it’s never too late to learn more productive ways to communicate with your partner. Just make sure you invest real time and effort to work on your skills.
Jasmine Turner is a black love advocate, professional matchmaker, and founder of Black Match Made, a nationwide matchmaking service. She’s a mix of southern charm and Chicago grit. Find her @jaslovesloveo