How many communication myths have you noticed so far in your relationships? Today we will finish up with myths 8-10: Myth #8: “For healthy communication in a relationship, both people should be open and willing to communicate about their issues immediately, whenever the need arises” Reality: While it might seem ideal for our relationships to be able to drop everything and immediately discuss our issues in order to get them resolved quickly and effectively, that isn’t always realistic. Though it is important to discuss issues that arise, and to ensure that the relationship problems aren’t ‘swept under the rug’, it is equally as important for both people to be respectful of the others need for time and space before jumping right into dialogue of thoughts, feelings, and needs. Any time you are in a relationship, certain differences are bound to exist (e.g., one person is a night owl, the other an early bird; one person is the pursuer and hates having unresolved conflict, the other is the distancer and needs frequent breaks when conflict gets heated, etc.). This is natural, healthy, and unavoidable. Through therapy, couples can learn to appreciate their differences, understand each other’s needs, and learn to negotiate when is the best time to communicate effectively in the relationship’s best interests.
Myth #9: “If I communicate my needs to my partner, he/she should respect and love me enough to be able to meet that need” Reality: Each person in the relationship has personal limitations and differing needs. Just because your partner isn’t able to meet every physical or emotional need you present, doesn’t mean that is an indication of their love and respect for the other person. Couples with healthy communication are able to recognize and respect one another’s limitations, to clearly ask for what they need, and to balance getting their needs met in a healthy way, both within and outside of the relationship.
Myth #10: “Healthy communication in my relationship shouldn’t be painful” Reality: Too often, our way of thinking is that the less painful, the better our relationships. This myth can destroy relationships! Healthy couples don’t avoid the painful feelings, they embrace them and see them as an opportunity to learn, grow, and become closer in their relationship. Of course, they don’t willingly inflict emotional pain upon each other, but they are willing to communicate about the issues in their relationship or their history that are causing them sadness, anger, fear, etc. Sometimes healthy communication means hurt feelings, which is inevitable. It can, however, deepen the trust and commitment to the relationship, and promote intimacy and lasting connections, if done in a healthy way.
Thank you for reading our blog this week! Make sure and check back next week when we will do a feature blog in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month. Hope your week is well!
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.