The 7 Keys to a Happy & Healthy Relationship: Part 2

***This is part 2 of a 2 part series***

In Part 1 of this series, I shared that there are several factors that contribute to happy romantic relationships. I also revealed that those same things were equally important in ALL relationships! Regardless if you are talking about a parent-child relationship, a friendship, or a marriage, they all require the same ingredients to make it healthy!

In this series, we're dissecting some of the core foundations to any happy and healthy relationship. I'm showing you how the keys to being a successful parent are the same to a happy marriage!

We've boiled it all down to 7 key elements! We're looking at each one independently, and by the time we're done, you'll see how being a great parent will also make you an awesome spouse! So far, we've reviewed:

1. Respect

2. Healthy Boundaries & Limits

3. Independence

Now it's time to wrap things up and check out the last 4 keys to happy and healthy relationships!

4. Communication

Next up is an obvious one and it's Communication. (Duh!) The ability to communicate effectively and clearly makes a huge difference in all relationships. The better you are at expressing yourself, the healthier your relationships will be.

But there's a lot more to communication than meets the eye. Most people get that communicating verbally is pretty important, but non-verbal communication is also a huge piece to this puzzle!

In the era of texting and instant messaging, miscommunication is rampant! Why? Because without facial expressions, body language, as well as tone of voice, it is incredibly hard for people to understand the true meaning of someone's verbal message.

Think about it, was there ever a time when someone texted you and you thought they were mad at you? Or maybe your spouse texts you a message that sounds rude or aggressive, making you feel annoyed and angry in return. Then, you find out that they were trying to be funny, making a joke, etc.

Without being able to read the other person's body language and facial expressions, it made it really difficult for you to understand what that person's intentions were. As such, there was miscommunication.

Something that has gone a long way in solving this little problem are emojis! Those little yellow faces have done wonders to help us communicate the emotions behind our messages to others. Just remember that many of us may use "happy" emojis to convey that we are just "fine" when in reality we aren't happy at all! As such, emojis can be incredibly helpful to avoid miscommunication, but they can also exacerbate it if we aren't using the emoji that truly conveys are emotional state.

Apart from the mechanics of communication (i.e. verbal & nonverbal cues), remember that communication goes so much deeper than all of that! Let's first consider that communication is a 2-way street. You have the communicator (the person talking) and you have the listener. In order to have effective communication, we need to consider both sides of this coin!

Active Listening is an art. Some of us are wonderful at it, but most of us could seriously use some improvement. There's a difference between "hearing" someone and actually "listening." If we were to google these two words, we'd get the following definitions:

Hearing: "the faculty of perceiving sounds"

Listening: "to give one's attention to a sound"

We you are "hearing" someone, your ears are actually perceiving the sounds coming from the communicator, but it doesn't mean you are actually listening. To listen to someone means that you are giving attention to what the communicator is saying.

Let's take this a step further and consider that ACTIVE listening is not only giving attention to what the communicator is saying, but it is considering, weighing, and giving respect to that person's words. This is HUGE!

Think about the last time you were debating someone about politics. Chances are you were definitely hearing them, but were you actively listening????

Most of us are guilty of hearing but not listening to others, especially about topics we are passionate about. If the communicator is expressing an opinion we don't share, you are probably thinking about how you are going to argue your point in return versus really considering and weighing what the communicator is saying. As a result, the conversation turns into a heated argument versus a genuine and passionate conversation.<