• Mona Cooley

Nourish Relationships

“ Our relationships are nourished or die in the sea of communication. (Patricia Morgan)

This resonated with me as soon as I read it. Why? Because, over the 24 years facilitating family sessions including our family, COMMUNICATION has deeply affected relationships. Perception of what we say without clarification can change the dynamics of the situation. Clarification is not usually top of mind, especially when a negative comment is directed at you; it happens when either reflecting on what was said, leading you to ask to be sure you understand what was meant. Unfortunately, clarification is not done often enough.

I have written several articles on communication. When we stuff everything inside, whether guilt, shame or resentment, we eventually get angry or say something we regret. Has this ever happened to you? We tend to react when emotions are triggered instead of staying calm and taking the time to clarify or reflect on what was said.

Relationships are important in our lives. When relationships don’t work, it causes a feeling of emptiness and disconnection. Over the years, when people were struggling, a question asked was “what has triggered the struggle?” Usually at the root of their struggle is a relationship that isn’t working. Knowing how to communicate our thoughts or feelings about what is happening with us can determine if the relationship is great, good, bad or ugly. Nourishing relationships takes patience, understanding and being prepared to hear one another. It takes time and commitment to work through communication problems to figuring out what is not working. It is vital that you learn that you cannot control how the other person responds or reacts. Trying to fix the problem instead of listening can impact how the other person responds. But if you stop fixing and start listening, the other person will respond differently. NOTICE IT. When you do something different in your approach, watch how the person responds. If they are responding more positively, do more of what is working.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of watching the dynamics of relationships change as they went from poor to improved communication. For example, this young woman was calling her father 3 or more times a day with her problems. As a result, her father was frustrated and overwhelmed. When he learned how to manage this (and stopped trying to fix this), she called less frequently and, as a result, communication between them improved. A year later, I had I was pleased to hear their relationship had continued to flourish. This does not mean that there can’t be bumps in the road, but these are now approached differently. Communication was the root cause of their flourishing relationship.

Communication is VITAL for relationships to flourish. Making an effort to change how you communicate can impact others to change. When others see the change in you, it is amazing how they too will change.


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