When couples fall in love, communication is both frequent and fun. We engage effortlessly and we hang on to every word emanating from our partner’s lips. We also richly enjoy and appreciate the sense of being listened to by our partner. It is a special feeling that connects with our sense of self-esteem. When communication is good, the bond of togetherness that develops between us can enable us to manage and overcome many of the difficulties life throws in our path.
But sometimes as we progress further into committed relationship, the pressures of economic, social, family and workplace living can erode that bond of togetherness that previously made us feel so invincible. Instead of sharing the worrying challenges of life, we now sometimes face them alone. There are multiple reasons why this happens: we do not want to unduly worry our partner; we wish to be seen as decisive in our partner’s eyes; we do not wish to be seen as weak and troubled; sometimes we are already in too deep to let our partner know the truth.
But something deeper is perhaps taking place within our relationship: we are losing the bond of togetherness that comes from open, regular, inclusive, shared communications. We begin to take communication for granted. Perhaps instead of sharing with our partner the joys and pressures of our day, we eat dinner and immediately settle down to watch our favourite TV programmes, commence surfing the net, or engage in our favourite hobby. We do not practice communication.
We all have idols in the world of sport and entertainment and we love to see our heroes perform successfully. But on reflection, we know that in consistently attaining the level of performance we demand, our heroes have to practice regularly throughout the week. The art of communication within relationships is somewhat similar in that it requires us to practice speaking, listening and giving feedback to one another every day of our lives. And for communication to become the cornerstone of our relationship, we need to speak, listen and provide feedback to one another in equal measure each day.