A Closer Look at the Intimacy of Communication and Why it’s Important
We’ve all heard that relationships depend on good communication. The concept seems simple, yet so many couples have a hard time achieving it. If you feel like there’s a communication gap in your relationship at times, you’re not alone—communicating is easier said than done! It’s a two-way street, and couples will undoubtedly encounter a few hard conversations along the way. But, the payoff will leave you with a greater sense of trust, understanding and intimacy.
Communication fosters trust in relationships
Communication is about more than talking to each other on a regular basis. There’s a huge difference between talking about the weather and talking about what’s on your mind. Good communication revolves around what you say (or don’t say), and how you say it.
Open and honest communication is essential. Some discussions can get uncomfortable, but the relationship won’t thrive until everyone involved expresses how they truly feel. Conflict must rise to the surface so you can both address it, find a solution and move on. Romantic relationships aren’t all about physical touch—understanding your partner’s thoughts and feelings is the ultimate act of intimacy.
Good communication will make the relationship better because your partner will feel like they can trust you. Couples who are genuine about how they’re feeling never have to play the guessing game. Conversely, when a person is closed off, their partner might assume the worst about what they’re thinking. Couples with good communication can rest easy knowing that if a problem arises, the other person won’t hesitate to bring it up.
The five love languages offer opportunities to connect
There are several ways to show love and affection towards your partner—five ways, to be exact!
Gary Chapman was the first to coin the five love languages in his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Everyone communicates through all five, but one of the languages will resonate the most with each person. Couples can make each other feel loved, understood and appreciated by learning each other’s love languages.
See which of the five love languages speaks to you and your partner:
- Words of affirmation: Individuals with this love language respond well to verbal communication. Words of affirmation include things like compliments, encouragement and messages that express appreciation. They value heartfelt letters and can’t get enough of hearing the words, “I love you.” For these partners, showing love won’t do the trick—they need to hear it.
- Quality time: This love language goes beyond existing in the same room. Quality time involves giving your loved one your full, undivided attention. It means eye contact and gestures that show you’re listening when they speak. Individuals who resonate with quality time will look for opportunities to enjoy activities or simply have a nice long chat.
- Acts of service: Partners who enjoy acts of service communicate their love through actions, not words. They’re the ones who are most likely to hold open a door, carry the grocery bags or run errands while you’re busy. They want to help your day go smoothly any way they can—it’s how they show they care.
- Gifts: Many show their love by giving tangible possessions. These gifts rarely have anything to do with how much money they cost. Rather, the gifts hold sentimental value and symbolize that person’s love for you. They try to choose gifts you would like and that reflect your identity.
- Touch: People who speak this love language are all about the physical aspect of relationships. They express love for their partner through hand holding, cuddling, kissing and sex. Interactions don’t have to be sexual in nature—they might place a hand on your shoulder to show sympathy or make an effort to sit next to you.
Intimacy problems signal a lack of communication
Intimacy is about more than getting physical. It also involves sharing your thoughts and feelings with each other. Couples can’t be emotionally intimate if one or both partners are closed off and avoid hard discussions. Body language can also signal that they’re feeling distant, such as turning away or putting on a polite smile. Of course, decreased physical interaction is a surefire sign that problems lie beneath the surface.
Intimacy problems always stem from poor communication. Partners must have open discussions about what they need in a relationship and why. You can’t make your partner feel good if you don’t know what makes them tick! Verbalizing what you like and dislike will make your relationship more intimate than you ever thought possible.
Make communication a cornerstone
Communication is the magic ingredient in every successful relationship. Don’t stress if communicating is hard at first—it’s a skill both partners have to consistently develop over time. Learn each other’s love language, and stay open about your thoughts and feelings in a kind way. Couples are all the better for it!