The single most important factor in healthy relationships

Are you curious about the principles that underpin healthy relationships? It’s a critical question because you can’t have a healthy relationship unless you know what constitutes a good one.
So, what’s the answer? Are healthy partnerships based on sex? Or money? Or quality time? or paying attention?
All of these factors have a role in good partnerships, but what is the most crucial aspect? Communication.
So, now that we’ve established that communication is the foundation of healthy relationships, do you wonder why?

1. Good communication means honesty.
How can any relationship — be it romantic, work, or familial — be healthy without honesty?
It is essential that, in our lives, we are honest with each other about how we are feeling, what we are thinking and seeing and experiencing. Hiding our truths from others opens us up for relationship failure.
I have a client who doesn’t trust her husband. A long time ago he cheated on her and, while she has forgiven him, she still doesn’t trust him. She worries every day that she can’t trust anything that he says. She worries that someday she will wake up and find that her life is a lie.
I asked my client why she couldn’t tell her husband what she told me. She said that she just didn’t feel safe doing so. And because she can’t be honest with him she lives in this constant state of distrust and anger with her husband.
So be honest with your partner. Get your feelings out there so they can be heard and dealt with.

2. It means trust.
If we are able to communicate with people we are in a relationship with, to tell them what our truths are, how we are feeling, what we want and need, then our partners can trust us.
If your partner knows that he can count on you to tell him when you are upset, to tell him when you need him to hold you close or leave you alone, to tell you what you want for your birthday, then your partner will trust in you. And you can trust in him.
Trust is the cornerstone of every healthy relationship.
Imagine if my client, who did not divorce her husband after the affair, had been able to tell her husband whenever she felt that distrust for him. If she had told him each time it occurred, they could have talked it through.
Perhaps, he could have learned what he needed to do to allow his wife to feel trust and perhaps she might have heard that her distrust was unfounded and that she need not fear.
Instead, they live in a parallel universe where she doesn’t feel safe telling him how she feels and he has no freaking idea what to do so he just keeps his head down and works.

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The single most important factor in healthy relationships

3. It things won’t be put away to fester.
So tell me what happens when your husband does something to upset you and you don’t tell him about it.
Perhaps he had promised you that he would choose the new doors for the housing project this weekend. And then he didn’t.
And what did you do? Did you make some passive aggressive remark about whatever it was that he did instead of choosing the doors and storm out of the kitchen? Was that last year and do you still think about it?
Imagine if, instead, you had been able to explain to your husband how angry you were that he didn’t get the doors. That you had been counting on having the doors so that you could choose the trim color the next day.
Perhaps you could have listened to his reason for not choosing the doors and perhaps you might have understood the reason and let it go. Or perhaps you could have hated the reason and expressed your anger about that.
Either way, you would have shared your emotions with your partner instead of stuffing them down deep where they festered.

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