One of the fastest ways to destroy a relationship is by taking the other person for granted and failing to communicate with love and respect at all times. After the newness of a relationship wears off, partners often tend to forget that it is critically important to speak with a partner with the same respect that you would give to a stranger who you admire and wish to build a relationship. This lackadaisical approach to relating dishonours the other person and soon festers into a relationship killer.

In time of stress, it is often easier to speak from the complacency that fails to offer a partner the respect they deserve at all times. When one partner loses patience, is in bad mood, or angry with the other partner or disturbed because of any other situation, and they allow their mood to negatively influence the manner in which they communicate, they run the risk of setting a precedence for disrespectful communication. Calling the person bad names during an argument, demeaning their character or competence, or otherwise treating them with disrespect can quickly turn a relationship cold and can accelerate similar behaviour in turn. Before long, not only is loving compassion but courteous respect gone and replaced by behaviour that continues to cause the relationship to spiral downward out of control. Speaking without respect to a partner in front of others leaves resentment and animosity behind that is tough to forget (and forgive.) Once established, such precedence is difficult to reverse. In fact, this sort of sloppy communication is contagious. When practiced by one partner, it will soon certainly be adopted by the other. A downward spiral of ineffective, disrespectful communication is sure to follow, damaging the relationship and destroying the bond between the partners.

Another habit that is sure to deteriorate a relationship involves unclean communication. This might include lying, hiding the truth, deceptive behaviour, insulting insinuations, covert digs, or otherwise speaking or acting without respect and transparency. Since we interact with each other’s energy, it is important that our thoughts, intentions, words, and actions be based in love and concern for the other person. When covert, negative, mean, or destructive motives flavour our interactions, our partners are sure to pick up on the unsaid behind our intentions. “This unclean” type of communication will soon lead to growing resentment and unproductive communication and behaviour in return. Before long, the destructive habits of both parties can grow out of control, damaging trust, destroying commitment, and leading to more self-sabotage.

So what do you do when you forget this important guiding principle and react with communication that is void of loving respect? The answer is… you catch yourself in that moment, apologise for your failure and commit to your partner not to do so again. As human beings, everyone can occasionally lose control and communicate in a manner that does not support a strong and loving relationship. However, if this sort of behaviour becomes commonplace, it will create a tsunami of destruction in its wake. It is critical that each partner do whatever it takes to manage their negative or reactive communication before the damage is done. Failure to do so will eventually cause any apologies to lose effectiveness as the partner becomes accustomed to the bad behaviour that will take its toll on the relationship.

When a partner does err, it is important that the apology that ensues be heartfelt and a sincere commitment to do better accompany it. A persistent habit of disrespectful talk or behaviour will no longer be easily reversed by apologies if repeated consistently without positive improvement in communication.

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