3 Core Truths for Successful Communication

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs. – Ephesians 4:29

The happiest of couples don’t rely solely on communication rules, their secret lies in understanding that good communication is built first on who you are – and only later on what you do. Simply put, successful communication starts with good personal qualities.

You can read articles and books, attend workshops, and see counselors who will teach you about communication skills. But if you fail to focus on the qualities you possess as a partner, your efforts will be of little consequence. There are three must have traits for successful communication that are critical; warmth, genuineness and empathy. Today, we are touching on the highlights of these traits, and why they are the core truths of successful communication.

Warmth

Showing warmth is the ability to look over faults and personality blemishes for the sake of the beauty behind it. The key to personal warmth is acceptance. Rather than evaluating or requiring change, you simply accept the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the person you love.

Practice warmth that invites your partner to be who they are; relaxed, free and at peace. Warmth should bolster the confidence of your partner, and keep them from contorting into what you expect of them. Unconditional warmth also invites God’s grace into the soul of your marriage. When your partner is certain they can never be condemned by you for who they are, and that there’s no judgement, then God’s grace has seeped into the fabric of your relationship.

Genuineness

Without genuineness, little else matters in marriage. In fact, your partner likely has a built-in radar detector for phoniness. They won’t trust you if they feel you aren’t being genuine. Being genuine isn’t expressed with words. What you say is far less important than how you say it – with a smile, shrug, frown or glare, for example.

Nonverbal communication accounts for 58 percent of your message, tone makes up 35 percent and your actual words account for only 7 percent. Research shows that spouses are very accurate interpreters of their partner’s nonverbal communication. You can shower your partner with love, but if you are not real your love is hollow. Authenticity and being genuine is something you are, not something you do – it comes from the heart. Your spouse will pick up on this, so make a conscious effort to be genuine.

Empathy

The best way to avoid stepping on your partner’s toes is to put yourself in their shoes. That’s empathy – seeing the world from your partner’s perspective. This task can be one of the toughest in a marriage, and takes plenty of practice. To work on empathy, try asking two questions: 1) What does this look like from my partner’s perspective? and 2) How is my spouse’s perception different than mine?

Most people are wired to use either their head or heart – one more so than the other. Because of this, it takes a conscious effort to empathize. Loving with only your heart is sympathizing and loving with only your head is analyzing. Empathy brings together both heart and head, and helps us fully understand our partner. Once you are able to consciously see the perspective of your partner and experience their feelings, you will see the world differently.

To enjoy rich communication and a solid marriage, practice the three essential traits for effective communication: warmth, genuineness, and empathy. These traits make up the bedrock of communication, and provide a solid foundation for growing closer together.

What trait comes naturally to you, and how do you express that to your partner? What trait do you need to work on most? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

9 Comments

  • Roger Genung says:

    Love it. So simple but so true and effective. As a minister, my wife and I counsel a lot with couples and communication trouble. We love being a part of SYMBIS!!!!

  • R.S. says:

    This is good information to be reminded of and to ponder on. I definately could be better at emphathizing, and my default is to give advice when he is venting. Which is wrong! I’m good at sympathizing, but also really good at drawing my own conclusion and assumptions in our communication. Your book trading places I’m sure woukd be a great read for some of these bad habits. I’d like to learn to be a better listener too. Thanks for the info, it’s always helpful, I will read your book too.

  • Amudha Prabakaran says:

    If a partner has a built- in radar detector for phoniness then why do they feel “condemned” or “ don’t want judgement” in their relation?🤔

  • AH says:

    Could you please give more clarity to this statement from above, “Loving with only your heart is sympathizing and loving with only your head is empathizing. Empathy brings together both heart and head, and helps us fully understand our partner.” Did you mean to put another word in place for what loving with only your head is? Great article! Thanks for the help!

    • Gale says:

      I was wondering the same thing!
      It doesn’t make sense to me that “loving with only your head is empathizing. Empathy brings together both heart and head.” Please clarify.

      • Gale says:

        Thanks so much for quickly responding! That is so affirming!
        It makes much more sense that loving with only your head is “analyzing”.

      • Connie says:

        I can only be objective, even a little bit, as I stay in close relationship with God, through Jesus. If I’m concerned about me & my reputation or how I am received, I am defensive. Sometimes I have to apologize to my husband as I realize this. That opens the door for good communication, and honest growth.

  • Liliane says:

    I’m falling in practice all over them, but I’m working on that because all the time that I try to communicate with my husband I used to be aggressive.

  • Christina Jamal says:

    This is a great article and timely for me as I am in a new relationship after being in a toxic emotionally abusive marriage for over 30 yrs. I’m sure I developed some bad communication habits so these points will help tremendously.

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