Find a Therapist at

Find a Therapist or Treatment Center

   for Consumers
Find a Therapist
Find a Treatment Center
About Therapy
Research a Condition
Research a Medication
Support Groups
National Hotlines
Featured Articles
What's New

   for Providers
List Your Practice
List Your Treatment Center
Publish an Article
My Account

Communication: The Root of Relationships

» Mental Health Library » Disorders & Conditions » Relational Problems » Featured Article

By Dawn Kravitz, L.M.F.T.

Dawn Kravitz, L.M.F.T.

We were engaged to be married. We were about to attain our masters degrees in Therapy. About 4 months after our engagement his grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Just before her death, she sat us down. She said she wanted to give us some advice on how to keep a marriage sacred. We listened. After all, this was a woman who had been married for 58 years before the passing of her husband. Grandma Minnie advised us to keep a standard of respect and honor in the marriage. Well, what does that mean to a young couple who has never done this before? She elaborated by saying that we would argue often, but NEVER used name calling, no matter how mad we got. She explained that words ARE hurtful and never forgotten; that you can’t take back what you’ve already said and it will always sting. I walked away feeling that I had just gone through years of training and THIS was the best lecture I had ever attended. Grandma Minnie died just before the wedding. I only knew her for a short time. But I was happy to know her at all. That was the best wedding gift we received! No object gave as much value.

It is said that a relationship is the hardest job you will ever have. Predominantly, our “jobs” are pretty methodical and repetitious. Relationships are not. Rules are established in a relationship and come from our style of communicating with each other. “Communication” is the exchange of information or, in different terms, the articulation of sending a message. Today we have the ability to send the “message” in various ways: speech, texting on cell phones, and/or by email. How we send the message we are trying to convey will assist in how that conversation will end, whether with a reasonable solution or with anger or defensiveness. Behaviors that result in negative communication, often ending a conversation abruptly without a healthy solution, include: defensiveness, blaming; criticizing; personalizing issues; acting entitled; refusing to talk; being demanding. We can improve our relationships by being open to our loved one’s opinions. Do not put your loved one down, especially in front of others. This shows respect both for them and for your relationship. When we put our loved ones down, it shows disregard for the relationship. Showing your loved one that you appreciate the things that they contribute to the relationship helps them to notice that you care for them and for their tenderness.

There are certain expectations that govern our relationships. Healthy communication is a complex matter. A basic set of rules can be agreed upon and then implemented. Creating a foundation of healthy communication assists us in getting to the bottom of things. It helps to develop and maintain the respect and connection both strive for. But, that’s not all we have to do to keep the respect and honor we need. We need to apply other skills as well. For instance - listening. Wait a moment. Pay attention to your spouse, without thought, without interruption. Allow yourself to be opened minded. Then, share your thoughts and feelings in a calm, composed manner. There are times when we act without thinking and therefore we fly off the handle. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t do that. Nevertheless, if you can, stop... breathe, and wait until the two of you can sit down without interruption. The tone of the conversation will allow you to explore solutions more easily. A good rule of thumb is to remember that solving the problem is the result you wish to attain. By keeping that in perspective, focus on solutions rather than problems.

Communication rules all relationships; Marriage, Parent-child, friendship, sibling, Parent – Teacher, and in the workplace. These guidelines can be used effectively with all of the above. Remember, relationships take work. I learned from Grandma Minnie that it is how we attend to the relationship at hand that helps us out of the tough times.

About the Author...

Dawn Kravitz is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist located in Coral Springs, Florida. She specializes in building healthier relationships; self -esteem; Anxiety and Depression. Dawn often works with teenagers and their families; and couples.

Last Update: 12/24/2008

Home  |  Provider Directory  |  Mental Health Library  |  Resource Center  |  For Providers
Find a Therapist  |  Find a Treatment Center  |  List Your Practice  |  List Your Treatment Center
About Us  |  Contact Us  |  User Agreement  |  Privacy Policy  |  Site Map
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. The information provided on this site is for educational or informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical or behavioral health care advice. The information is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care provider. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your health.
Copyright © 2000-2019, Inc. All rights reserved.
Welcome Guestbook What's New Site Map Find a Therapist Find a Treatment Center About Therapy Frequently Asked Questions Disorders & Conditions Medications Treatment Approaches Featured Articles News Archive Mental Health Dictionary Support Groups National Hotlines Web Directory Mental Health Books Related Web Sites For Providers Provider Login Back to top of page