Some would say that the number one reason why relationships fail is based on money. Some would say that it is has to do with values, or infidelity. Some people say that they don't pay attention to the words that people speak, but rather, a person's actions. I find that to be a lie. I believe that it is communication (what we say and how we say things), he type of, lack of, or even perhaps the fear of communication that make or break relationships. It is only through communication that partners can acquire a deep understanding of and agree on ideals of money, values, relationship goals, needs and wants and how to build a foundation for the love they hope for. People, not just partners, will never be able to collaborate or understand one another if they are not able to effectively communicate. Sounds like it should be simple right? I communicate my needs, you communicate your needs, we come together, solve disagreements, open each other's minds to new perspectives, get closer, bond, fall in love, create a friendship and life is grand. Well, ideally, yes.
However, I find that the thing missing from communication is emotional correctness. What is emotional correctness? Without emotional correctness people take pot shots, and make low blows, at one another with the intention to hurt the other person. They call their beloved partners names, put them down, or point out every negative aspect in order to tear down their self-esteem. This never made sense to me. I have been on the receiving end of this type of communication many times in my recent past, and I always think, "Wow, thank you for pointing out what a horrible person I am, how I am so cold-hearted. You chose me as a partner and a couple of months ago you wanted to spend the rest of your life with me. Now I'm a cold-hearted and cutting". Interesting. How people can go from love to hate so quickly is always, more often than not, poor communication and proper expression of emotions.
Emotional correctness is reflected in the tone and feeling of what we say. It's the respect and compassion we show show each other when we share ideas, feelings, or solve differences of opinions. It is not selfish, or self-righteousness, it is not putting someone down to make them hurt the way you hurt, it is not using another person's vulnerabilities as a weapon in an argument later. Emotional correctness allows us to be honest without being unnecessarily hurtful. Emotional boundary setting is also essential for communication with emotional correctness. Learning to communicate boundaries in a clear and consistent way prevents disrespectful communication or at least, allows people to know what you will and will not stand for, and what you will allow. This is not to be rigid, but to be able to identify toxic unhealthy communication styles.
When we don't consider emotional correctness we talk past, and over, each other. We don't hear the other person, we become narrow minded, and closed off to cooperation and problem solving. Without emotional correctness we don't speak with compassion, and we certainly don't feel heard, the intention is to hurt the other person with verbal darts, and gossip. The person on the other side, the receiver, can be shamed in a fright, flight, fight or freeze state. For myself, I spent a great deal of time in the fright and freeze state after being steamrolled in a conversation lacking emotional correctness.
However, taking time to put ego aside, for the sake of understanding with compassion is the first step to supporting a relationship. Living and communicating authentically with yourself and others requires a respect of boundaries, emotional correctness, and trust in relationships. It is certainly not easy, it takes courage and vulnerability. But we must challenge ourselves to find and speak with compassion rather than look for blame, while not taking responsibility for how our words affect others.