Why communication isn't always the most important thing in a relationship
There is a popular belief that ‘communication’ is the most important thing in a relationship.
When couples come to counseling they often say their problem is with ‘communication’. And the thing they want to fix about their relationship is their ‘communication’. And if only they could ‘communicate’ everything would be so much better between them.
However, often communication isn't really the cause of their problems.
Connection is often the most important thing in a relationshipYes, communication is important, but it’s not always the most important thing. The most important thing is often actually connection. Connection is that feeling of being on the same team, of understanding each other, that inexplicable warm happy feeling of being in love and together.
This concept is really important to get our heads around, because so often it’s the key issue we are really fighting about.
‘A relationship is a state of being connected’The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of a relationship is ‘the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected.’
If this is so, with no connection, there is no relationship; one defines the other. It would make sense then that being disconnected from our partners can bring up some really painful, scary, insecure and lonely feelings for us.
The big mistakeWhich can lead us to the ‘big mistake’. If we are struggling with connection in our relationships and feeling any of those difficult feelings above, it’s only be natural that we would want to reconnect with our partners to regain a feeling of love and wellbeing with them.
However, the big mistake we can make when we are not feeling connected, is to put too much focus on the problem and ‘over-communicate’ from a disconnected place.
It can be very difficult to communicate effectively and respectfully when we are feeling disconnected. Disconnection and difficulty go hand in hand, as you might be feeling frustrated or threatened, which can drive you both to fighting your own corners.
Then when you still can’t connect, you believe the problem is that you can’t communicate, when actually it’s just that we aren’t able to get our need for connection met. Unwittingly, we can then become trapped in a vicious cycle and communication breaks down further.
Why can connection be the most important thing in a relationship?
At the heart of it, we are only communicating to try to make a connection and it is having a strong connection between you that will make you want to communicate with each other and make communication feel more open, honest and safe.
When you feel connected and united in your relationship, as if by magic everything, including your communication will begin to flow much more easily and effortlessly. It’s ironic that communicating from a connected place, will build on your connection, and the connection will build on your communication.
In truth, the two things are closely intertwined - you can't put all your energies into one and ignore the other.
Shift your focusIf you’re feeling disconnected and unable to communicate with your partner, the best thing you can do is shift your focus back to rebuilding your connection. Bring the fun and goodwill back into your relationship to offset your conflicts. Remember why you care and want to communicate with each other and why it’s important to you.
The good news is that working on your connection is fun. All you need to do is relax and enjoy some time together again, because when we are feeling loved and supported, we will naturally want to work on our communication as a result and it will all feel much easier and more connected!