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Strong relationships depend largely on the ability of both parties to communicate clearly and effectively with one another. This begins with a mutual commitment to talk honestly and openly, without blame or judgment, about issues that arise. To do so, each partner must approach the conversation with honesty, integrity, and a commitment to listening.
When speaking, each person should focus on his or her own internal reality and experiences. In communicating how he or she feels, a partner can express needs and wants without placing blame. It is equally important to be truthful about these feelings, as intimacy stems directly from the ability to be authentic and even vulnerable with one another.
Once one partner has expressed his or her position, it is important for that person to shift attention and focus on the other. This requires the listener to set his or her interests aside and focus on the speaker’s point of view. Such deep listening leads to increased empathy and the ability to create a solution that honors both partners’ life experiences.