His & Hers: Communication Part 1
Living in a small space can magnify the socially infused views on communication. Yet, we managed to keep communication in our relationship our number one priority to improve our relationship.
Without communication, partners are not able to express themselves, listen to each other or even achieve higher levels of intimacy.
In a relationship, when communication starts to fade, everything else follows.
Communication in a relationship is essential. Now, living in an RV requires more communication than usual. Many people tend to think that living in an RV is a miserable situation due to the lack of space, which might lead to a lack of personal time.
But in our case, we noticed that while embracing the RV lifestyle, our communication grew stronger than ever. Cohabitating in an RV requires us to communicate our needs and wants.
It allows us the opportunity to work on our communication styles to reach a level where you know the other person so well that you can tell what’s going on with them without really communicating.
The learning curve in the RV lifestyle is steep, on many fronts. We have learned about dry camping (check out our blog here), learned about solar (another great blog here), and learning about communication was another thing that we needed to master. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
Where Our Communication Began
Lance: As a combat veteran, communication to me was straight to the point and without any additions. I used to be straightforward, no tactfulness and no intention to account for anyone else’s feelings or considerations.
To me talking was not needed; I could go a whole day without talking to anyone and be ok with it.
Don’t assume your partner knows about everything you expect in a relationship. Let him know. A relationship should be based on communication, not on assumption.
Lance: I have never had to explain myself to anyone or even explain my actions and behaviors.
I used to do what I want and get things done my way without incorporating others into the process, then I realized that communication in a relationship doesn’t work that way.
Distance isn’t a big factor in a relationship, communication is.
Kate: Communication in a relationship has never been a strong skill of mine. Working alone was my preferred method, without having to answer to anybody. While I can get away with that in the right workplace setting, it doesn’t fly at home.
It becomes very apparent after the honeymoon phase of a relationship wears off. This time, I had a partner who was willing to call me out on it and work on being patient as I try to communicate more.
Communication is key. Two people can be in the same relationship and yet see it in two different ways.
Kate: I usually bottle up the feelings, shove them down deep, and cover them with a thick layer of sarcasm.
Those feelings fester and bubble out in passive-aggressive comments, sometimes erupting into a full out outburst. What doesn’t bubble out turns into resentment that I hold on to for an unhealthy length of time.
All the while, my partner knows none of this is happening inside and is blindsided when it explodes.
What We Have Done to Improve Communication
Lance: I have worked very hard on being open and communicating with Kate. Kate and I communicate about what needed to get done for the day or the week to ensure that we have accountability in our actions.
Due to my memory issues, it is essential that I work closely with Kate to improve our relationship. She might have to remind me a few times, but eventually, I will get it done.
“Emotional awareness is necessary so you can properly convey your thoughts and feelings to the other person.” – Jason Goldberg
Kate: When frustrated, I have to remember to explicitly tell him why I am frustrated and have suggestions on how to fix it has helped us communicate better.
As an independent person, I try to work things out internally. This is not good for communicating in a relationship! I will work through a process in my head and move on.
Now I make a conscious effort to let him know the process and the result.
Without communication, there is no relationship, without respect, there is no love, without trust, there’s no reason to continue.
Kate: We talk all the time, about everything. This keeps the line of communication in our relationship open so it is much easier to talk about difficult topics.
Lance has been working really hard on this and I have been pushed out of my comfort zone to communicate, I have opened up a lot more because what I share is met with compassion and understanding.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this blog where we discuss where our communication is today, and some of our recommendations of what helped us along the way.