What are the basic principles of good communication in a relationship?


The two most basic principles of communication within a relationship are clarifying content and reflecting feelings.


“... Communication is the lifeblood of a relationship. Its success rises and falls on how well we communicate with each other. It really is difficult to exaggerate the value of healthy, good, strong communication. The tools for doing that, I often will tell couples, ‘You got to start with the basics. You got to start with the fundamentals.’ Remember Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach, who would hold up a football at halftime and he would say, ‘Men, this is a football.’ It was just his way of saying let’s get back to the basics. In the same way, I feel like for every couple, especially when they’re contending with something that is really going to be tearing at the fabric of the relationship if they don’t address it directly, we’ve got to start with the basics. That is, number one, you’ve got to clarify content. Number two, you’ve got to reflect feelings. Those are the two basics of good communication in a loving relationship: clarifying content because there’s 3.5 different meanings for every word that we use most commonly in the English language, so we need to make sure we accurately understand, and then to reflect feelings. This is so valuable especially for a person that is struggling with pain, and that is to identify that emotion that is beneath the surface. It’s almost like you're panning for gold. You sift through all the verbiage to find that emotion like a golden nugget and hand it back to him and go, ‘Hey, here. Is this it? Is this how you feel?’ ‘Yeah. You're the first person that really understands. You're the first person all day … maybe the first person in my entire life.’ When you can begin to do that for each other in a relationship where you're contending with migraine, it’s incredible how that draws you together.”

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Les Parrott, PhD

Center for Relationship Development

Dr. Les Parrott is a psychologist and #1 New York Times bestselling author. He and his wife, Dr. Leslie Parrott, are co-founders of the Center for Relationship Development in Seattle. Their books have sold more than 3 million copies and include: Love Talk, Your Time-Starved Marriage, Crazy Good Sex, The Good Fight, and the award-winning Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts.

Les and Leslie are founders of the game-changing online tool for couples: DeepLoveAssessment.com. Les has been featured in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He has appeared on a variety of television programs including: CNN, The Today Show, GMA, The View, and Oprah. Visit LesAndLeslie.com.