Along with Christmas, Valentine's Day is one of the holidays were I see a high volume of clients due to relationship issues. Whether it’s conflict within their marital relationship or it’s a single person who is depressed because they are experiencing continuous bad or unhealthy relationships, or because they are unable to engage in a relationship do to shyness or fear. Like I advise my clients in our therapy sessions; a relationship with anyone be it an intimate relationship with your spouse/soon to be spouse or a relationship with your BFF takes intentional work.
Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
The making of a healthy relationship consists of humility, patience, love and peace. Each of theses can be expressed in one of the greatest asset to a healthy relationship, and that is Effective Communication.
Many believe just because they are talking and expressing their feelings and needs to another person, that they are using effective communication. To effectively communicate one must adhere to the following criteria:
Active Listening: is when you are actively present in the conversation. As the listener you are engaged in what the other person is saying, with nonverbal cues to show that you are listening, like eye contact, leaning forward and nodding your head. Active listening is also a way to build trust by demonstrating concern for what the other person is saying. This can be expressed by paraphrasing what the person is saying to show understanding. Next is to,
Ask For Clarity Don't assume you understand what the other person is telling you, everyone has different contexts to their content. In order for you to respond with accuracy be open to ask them for clarity. Ask them questions like “Can you tell me what you meant when you said….”And lastly,
Validation. The art of validating someone's feelings and needs is a powerful component to effective communication. It doesn't say that you agree or disagree with the person you are just letting them know that you heard them and you believe that what they said is important to them. One way to express validation is to say, “ I can hear in your voice that this is very important to you”, or “ I heard you say that what I said made you angry”.
We are all created as a social beings made to have social interaction with others. We also have the ability to have healthy intimate relationships. For those who are married keep God in the center of your marriage, allowing effective communication to be active in your everyday lives with one another.
As for those who are single, allow God to be your mate, seek him first and all other things will be add to you. And as you wait practice effective communication with the people in your life now, so when God opens the door for your forever relationship with your help meet, you will be ahead of the game and have the ability to be closer to your partner.