Communication in a healthy relationship isn’t as simple as saying ”I love you” but requires keeping your finger on the pulse of your partner’s feelings and developing positive communication habits.

When talking about problems or frustrations, it’s easy to point fingers and cast blame on your partner for your feelings.

It is vital to communicate compliments, appreciation and other positive feelings to your partner. A powerful quote by Warren Farrell, “During the honeymoon phase of a relationship, the ratio of positive to negative comments tends to be 100 to 1”! This is why it’s called the honeymoon phase, because all you can see are the many wonderful traits of your partner. But after some time, Farrell says that the couple must keep the proportion of positives to negatives 4-1 if they are to maintain positive feelings for each other. This is much easier said than done, of course. We have the habit of sharing what doesn’t work, but if we work at focusing regularly on what does work, our partner can feel safe enough and appreciated enough to want to change in a more positive direction.

To help you and your partner feel good enough about yourselves and each other and be willing to make some changes for the better, you begin any communication session by sharing one or two ‘positive warm-ups’ with each other. Here are a few opening lines you can choose from to establish an atmosphere of mutual appreciation:

One of the things I like best about you is…. 
One of the things I admire about you is…. 
I love you most when you…. 
I like the way you look when you…. 
We make a good couple because…. 
I’d like to thank your mother and father for making you…. 
One of the things I’ve learned from you is…. 
One of your strengths that I’ve benefitted from is…. 
One of the ways you compliment and balance me is…. 
You make me happy when you…. 
One of my fondest memories about us is…. 
One of your most endearing qualities is….

After each of you has shared one or two warm-ups from this list or the one you will create, you will be in a more positive frame of mind and better able to discuss the issues in your life together.

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