Researchers have consistently identified communication as an integral part of a maintaining a healthy relationship.
It can often be a struggle and distressing when communication begins to break down in a relationship and can feel difficult to recover the situation or even lead to the end of a relationship. So maintaining healthy communication is important, not only for the relationship itself, but for the individual health of the people involved.
Relationships can also reflect back to us how we are valued in the world and how we are perceived, so this can impact self-esteem and confidence or in more strained circumstances, lead to difficulties with stress, anxiety or depression.
So what might healthy communication look like?
Firstly an important aspect of healthy communication is that each party communicates that they care what the other party thinks and feels. So often in relationships this is the point at which things can fall down. If this is not demonstrated and communicated, this can lead to anger, distress and defensiveness. And can often lead to competition and accusations rather than collaboration.
Collaboration and teamwork are another important aspect of maintaining a healthy relationship, knowing that you are on each other’s side. For this to be in place, each party needs to be able to listen to and hold the other person in mind, in order to be able to compromise and move forward. Without this, people can become controlling or ambivalent towards each other.
Everyone can bring their own history into a relationship and it can be common to repeat the same mistakes again hoping for a better outcome, only to become surprised when things do not go well.
Knowing what each party brings into a relationship and being able to own and acknowledge this, can often provide a basis from which a couple can grow and improve together.