Communication key in healthy relationships

Emily Kazungu

by Online Editor Emily Kazungu

Effective communication was lacking the last time I was in a relationship. From simple words like, “Good morning,” to major conversations like, “Where do you see yourself in at least five years?” Granted, we liked each other and wanted to be together, so we ignored the unhealthy communication.

Communication helps to build relationships in that the more you talk to someone the more you learn about that person. The understanding created from communication complements the growth of the relationship.

Relationships are usually never perfect, but when communication is absent, moving forward is like asking Beyoncé to perform at the UNA spring concert.

From my experience, I learned that inadequacy of communication in relationships can breed misunderstanding, assumptions, hurt, failure to grow and eventually a breakup.

Not talking about issues that arose in my relationship was like sweeping dirt under a mat and covering it. We walked on the mat everyday to the point we could not walk over it. It was easier to walk away from the relationship than to fix it.

Communication is a two-way street. If one person is always initiating communication, the relationship loses balance.

We need to understand how we communicate is equally as important as what we communicate. This could be incorporated both in verbal and nonverbal communication. In addition, listening is part of communication. We should work more to listen to understand as opposed to listening to reply.

“Most of us listen passively and subjectively, taking in every word, filtering it through our own experiences and sometimes reading unintended meaning into a word or how it’s said,” according to an article by West Virginia University. “Miscommunications often begin this way.”

I learned my lessons. Among other important factors, I will make sure communication is top of the list in the relationship. You will be setting yourself up for failure if your partner is not an effective communicator.

When you speak, let it be meaningful. Most importantly, let it be something that is going to build and not tear down.

In the words of psychologist Rollo May, “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”

I encourage you all to communicate effectively and with purpose. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so get started today. Let us make the world a better and peaceful place by assuming less and communicating more.