So the boundaries and rules of interaction will be different in a
romantic relationship from those in an intimate
relationship. And those differ from the boundaries and rules
Okay...so what's a healthy relationship. Well, let's give it a go...we'll use the body as an example...
These are as fundamental to your relationship health as your immune
system is to your body's health.
With these fundamentals active on a daily basis...the people involved in a healthy relationship...like a healthy immune system...can quickly identify...communicate and take action about anything troublesome before the trouble takes on a life of its own...and infects other parts of the relationship.
This response readiness to glitches in a healthy relationship prevents a major falling out...so the people involved don't need a third party counselor to intervene to bring the relationship back to normal healthy functioning.
This readiness to protect the relationship from melt down may be triggered by a simple rule of thumb some people use...such as...
Other effective communicators have different ways to signal each other of the need to talk...make amends...negotiate...etc.
Many people try to do step two when they haven't done step one...and
naturally they get it wrong...which makes things worse.
To be an effective listener you have to hear...and respond...to the other person in the vernacular that they use to describe their perspective of the world.
Bob and Sue got to the point where their differences seem irreconcilable...so they went to a marriage counselor. As the marriage counselor listened...she learned that Bob and Sue spoke in different grammars. That is...they did not hear each other accurately.
spoke to Sue...almost entirely in visual
He would reassure Sue over and over that he saw her point...or that "I see what you mean...or "I can see it from your perspective.
And Sue never seemed to see that Bob was agreeing with her. And so the fights continued.
And Sue also never felt that Bob understood her because... Sue used feeling terms almost exclusively.
For Bob to see her point only left Sue feeling that Bob did not appreciate (a feeling) how she felt. "Don't you understand how put down I feel when you don't call if you're going to be late?" she asks.
And that was another thing the marriage counselor noted...Bob spoke in statements that he "saw" Sue's point.
And even though Sue used a feeling vocabulary
...she didn't state her feelings...she only asked asked Bob questions about his knowledge of her feelings..without telling him what they were.
And Bob instead of asking (using Sue's interrogatory style) about her feelings...he just let Sue ask him
There is no way these people could have a healthy relationship...with
an active immune system...until they spoke the same language.
A healthy relationship...like a healthy immune system doesn't work at cross purposes with itself. And there's no use discussing a problem if one person only speaks Swahili and the other one only speaks Farsi.
Change in Bob and Sue's communication style does not mean they have to
give up anything...in order to have a healthy relationship When you
learn a new langauge...you don't give up your mother tongue to
communicate with someone in their language. You don't give up
anything...you add something.
So here are Bob and Sue discussing Bob's tendency not to show up on time for dinner and not call Sue to say he'll be late.
Sue: When you just don't show up...I feel slighted. (Sue now talks about how she's feeling instead of giving Bob pop quizzes on what he knows about her unstated feelings.)
Bob: Tell me more...I'm not sure what you mean by feeling slighted. (Bob doesn't say "I don't see what you mean. He just asks for more about Sue's feeling of being slighted.)
Sue: Well...you know on our honeymoon we would ring for room service anytime of the day or night?
Bob: Yeah...that's the life alright.
Sue: Well that's what I mean by feeling slighted. It's like I shop and cook and have to guess when you'll ring for room service. I'm just a waiter.
Bob: Okay...now I'm beginning to get the picture (doesn't give up his visual vocabulary). You feel like you're on call whenever I'm ready for you to serve me something. (He describes her feeling accurately. And she let's him know...)
Sue: Yeah. Now your beginning to see how I feel. (Sue begins to use Bob's vocabulary. It was easier for Bob to see how Sue feels when she gave him the graphic image of a luxurious room service).
Bob: And I used to tip the waiter...but I don't even tip you. How do you feel about that? (Both laugh) Sue: Depends on what you're offering...
So...there you have it. A healthy relationship...whether it's a
marriage...friendship...colleagues...a christian relationship ...a
Bhuddist one...or Hindu...
It needs a self-correcting immune system unique to human relationships...and that is effective communication...which begins with accurate listening.
You can get from this healthy relationship page to the relationship_boundaries page.
Or you can...