Open, honest, and loving communication is key for making any relationship work. But why is it that so many people lack these skills in a relationship only to have the relationship fall apart?
I have a dear friend who has been in a relationship for about a year and it recently ended. Neither party expressed from their heart what was going on for them or how to solve the situation. Now both people are very sad without their partner and do not know how to bring the relationship back together.
I understand that it can be scary and vulnerable when you do not know how someone will react to your feelings; however, if you want to develop deeper intimacy with that person, being able to openly communicate with them is crucial. Even from the onset of a relationship establishing where you are in your dating process is important.
For instance, if you are interested in creating a long term relationship in your life that will lead to marriage, state this within the first two dates. I know this sounds radical, but you are not stating to this person that you want a long term relationship with them, you are simply sharing that this is what you are looking for at this time in your life. When I was dating, I would begin talking about relationships and say something like, “I’m looking for a long term relationship that will lead to marriage, how about you? Are you looking for a life partner or just someone to date?” This lets you know right away if this person is a potential candidate for you to continue to date.
This might seem abrupt, but it sets you up as being honest and upfront with your feelings and who you are from the onset. As you continue seeing someone, having this kind of honest communication is key. If you feel as if you are falling for the person, let them know and check in with them to see how they are feeling. Hopefully, they have shared their feelings with you, but if not, simply ask. Do not make assumptions on how the other person is feeling. “I’m really falling for you and can see potential for a long term relationship, how about you? Do you see potential for us as well?” I understand that this puts the other person on the spot, however it gives both of you an opportunity to be honest and check in on where the relationship is headed.
If you are the kind of person that has a difficult time opening up with your feelings, this is a wonderful personal growth exercise in learning to become deeply intimate with someone and more expressive. Understand that your feelings will not always be reciprocated, but better to find out this early on in the relationship than years down the line.
So often two people are in a relationship and are on completely opposite pages. I love my friend that I mentioned previously, however I do not think she set up this relationship from the onset to understand where it was headed. Stating your intention and finding out what the other person’s intentions are at the beginning of a relationship is so much more important than people realize. She did not do this and just figured that because he stayed with her that he wanted the same kind of commitment that she did. Unfortunately he did not and dropped the ball at the first sign of conflict.
I have noticed that when both people clearly state when they realize that the person they are with could be the “one,” that this is someone they could see spending their life with, the relationship seems to be able to withstand difficult times. When you know that you are both in it for the long haul you work to figure out ways to get through the difficult times.
I am not stating that this is always a relationship guarantee, but being open and honest about who you are and your feelings in a loving way is a great way to begin a healthy relationship.