Communication is at the center of relationships. The quality of a relationship depends on the quality of the communication between the two partners. The most treasured times within a relationship are those in which we tap into our partner’s authenticity with heartfelt communication – those times when we talk truthfully.
Unfortunately, these moments come far too rarely for many of us. Those who can achieve physical intimacy are not necessarily those who can communicate well verbally. Why is this? Some people simply lack the tools and experience for talking about emotional issues. Others talk a mile a minute, needing to be validated by others but instead driving them away. Some people are guarded and have difficulty in opening up about anything personal. Some people are unable to listen to their partner – they always bring the topic back to themselves, or they may see their role as the one who gives (unsolicited) advice.
Some people interpret their partner’s desire for a serious talk as criticism. They become defensive when their partner tries to share the honest truth with them. A serious talk, then, can easily lead to an argument – and this leads to a failure of honest communication. The more failures there are, the less likely the couple will try to communicate on a genuine level in the future – to the detriment of intimacy in the relationship.
Telling the Truth
Truth is difficult for many of us. We all engage in a bit of self-deception in our lives. There are things about ourselves that we have not been able to examine or accept. We have difficulty in admitting our flaws – even to ourselves, much more so to our partners. Sometimes we guard our intimate feelings because we have been hurt in the past when we tried to share them with others, so that trust is a difficult area for us. For example, if you and your partner are feeling unloved and lonely, but you try to cover it up by saying that everything is fine, you will continue to feel isolated. Our commitment to a relationship means that we have decided to open ourselves up to another person, flaws and all. To continue to deceive ourselves with our partner impedes the intimacy of the relationship.
A relationship has the potential to provide a healthy way to come to terms with our issues, both personal and interpersonal. Accepting the truth, and talking about it, can free us of pain and set the stage for a healthier future. When we share our fears within the context of our partner’s loving understanding and acceptance, the fears dissipate. The issues we have been holding on to alone for so long lose their force when they are shared with someone who loves us. Telling the truth can bring down the barriers that isolate us from our partners. It can lead to a new level of self-acceptance and authenticity in our own lives – and this in turn leads to a stronger level of commitment and intimacy in our relationship. The truth can make us whole and set us free.