Why is communication and setting boundaries the key to a healthy relationship?

Relationships are not fairy tales. There will be agreements and disagreements, happiness and sometimes unhappiness. However, that doesn’t mean you and your partner aren’t a good fit. This blog will explore why you should have open communication and clear boundaries as a couple.

A relationship is a lot like a plant. To grow they need to be nurtured and given time. Subsequently, part of this nurturing process comes from two things: communication and setting boundaries.

Being able to get over the obstacles you face in your relationship as a unit is what’s important. That’s where communication comes in. Healthy open communication in a relationship holds space for individuals to speak honestly about their emotions without fearing judgment or anger from their partner. Subsequently, when this happens, it’s likely you’ll be able to move past challenges far quicker.

Not all couples have healthy communication skills which go hand in hand with emotional maturity. Especially when it comes to working through harder situations. It can often feel uncomfortable and unnatural. However, difficult conversations will help you work toward a compromising resolution.

Why should you have open communication and boundaries as a couple?

Without open communication and boundaries, a relationship can start having weaknesses. If this is to continue, it could end up being incredibly putting strain on the relationship. Subsequently, even causing unnecessary arguments that are unresolvable and feelings of underlying resentment.

Boundaries show where one thing ends and another begins. Boundaries in a relationship are kind of like this; they help each person figure out what a person finds acceptable behavior and whatnot. They apply to any kind of relationship you have – whether with a friend, family member, partner, or anyone else in your life.

Boundaries help to keep a balance between the couple, as they reduce the chances of a conflict. Therefore, without healthy boundaries, a relationship cannot grow, individuals feel unheard, unseen, and disrespected.

Do you have open communication and boundaries with your partner?

If you struggle to effectively communicate with your partner here are some things you can do to help improve this.

1. Identify where the problems with communication are coming up 

Sometimes, couples have great communication in some areas and poor communication in others. An example of this is when talking about finances as this is a topic that can be difficult to discuss in a relationship. Before getting angry or upset, try to identify where this miscommunication or arguing is stemming from. Talk about how the subject affects you emotionally and why perhaps it is linked to a past experience or fear.

Working backward is an effective technique, by thinking of the outcome you want, you don’t focus on the problem. Listening to your partner is essential to get a true understanding of how you both see and experience the problem.

2. Process your feelings first 

When we head into conversations with others feeling angry or upset and not fully understanding our emotions, the situation can become heated or difficult to resolve. Speaking only from an emotional point of view does not allow logical reasoning. Before you speak to your partner, take a moment to identify what it is you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it. This will really help you find a direction to take the conversation. Start sentences with

“I feel…” and avoid blaming each other.

Don’t just talk, listen

Don’t interrupt one another. Listening to your partner speak is just as important as sharing your feelings to them. Communication is all about responding to one another’s feelings, emotions, and behaviours. So, listening and taking everything in will help you understand them and yourself at the same time. It is helpful to ask your partner if you’ve understood what they’ve shared correctly by explaining what you understood from what they shared.

Set boundaries 

Boundaries are a great way to communicate with your partner on the important aspects of your relationship. This is important to do at the very beginning of it.

Some examples of boundaries within a relationship are:

  • Saying no when something doesn’t feel right
  • Being able to establish your own identity outside and inside of the relationship
  • Communicating feelings, both good and bad without fearing the response.
  • Understanding, encouraging, and accepting friendships and relationships with family members.
  • Supporting you to achieve goals even if it isn’t their own target.
  • Treating each other with respect, kindness, and admiration.

Boundaries allow us to set up expectations and standards for our partners. This is a crucial element of communication.

Let your partner gain an understanding of what you want, don’t want, like, and dislike from the get-go. Doing this will really help prevent unnecessary arguments and discomfort within the relationship.

“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out. Setting boundaries inevitably involves taking responsibility for your choices. You are the one who makes them. You are the one who must live with their consequences. And you are the one who may be keeping yourself from making the choices you could be happy with. We must own our own thoughts and clarify distorted thinking.”

― Henry Cloud

Open communication and clear boundaries as a couple are important for a healthy relationship

Without communication, it’ll be extremely hard to healthily navigate your way through your relationship. Feeling confused, worthless, disrespected, unsafe, isolated, or scared is not normal in a relationship. If you are having any of these feelings you should find help immediately. Contact a friend, your GP, or a therapist.

I hope this article helps you to see why it is important to have open communication and clear boundaries as a couple. If you are struggling to communicate with your partner, don’t worry, this is very common and can be improved with time and as you learn to master the skill of healthy effective communication.

This is exactly what I love doing in my practice as a therapist. I can support you and your partner as you grow as individuals and as a couple. I can help encourage healthy conversation and rebuild a new stronger relationship through couple counseling.

Contact me today to find out more on how I can help.

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