The things you often end up saying to each other during the course of your relationship mean a lot more than the sweet nothings at the beginning of the relationship.
Good communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship. The little things we say to each other every day are just as important as the intimate nights when we open our hearts to each other. Offering and receiving our deepest darkest secrets are always a way of, in video game parlance, leveling up with a partner. However, once those initial moments of opening up our hearts are over, what's left is the daily life to live through together. And in the course of the daily, sometimes the romance withers away. To make sure that doesn't happen, communication needs to be open always. It matters what we say to each other, in person or on the phone, even when we are asking our partner to do something as simple as picking up groceries.
"Familiarity creates a new language, an in-house language of intimacy that carries a reference to the story the two lovers are weaving together and that cannot be readily understood by others," said British-Swiss philosopher and writer Alain de Botton in his book On Love.
The most common things, of endearment or of anger, that we say to each define the health of our relationship too. Here are the six most common things you could be saying to your partner, and what it says about your relationship:
It is important to let your partner know often that you still love them. It should come easily to you to show your affection for them through your words or actions. If you're one of those couples where one of you always remembers to keep the phone down with an "I love you" or if this expression of love is a regular feature in your household, you are good to go.
You are in a healthy relationship where showing intimacy is crucial to both of you and none of you shy away from letting the other know how much you value them. There are no ego tussles or mind games, and you believe in letting your partner know how much you value them.
As a couple, do you talk to each other honestly and openly about the problems you are facing or do you resort to showing your disagreement in an aggressive manner that undermines them? You could be facing a breakdown of communication where both of you no longer understand each other. Neither knows what the other wants and you are not on the same page. If you have commonly used this phrase while interacting with your partner, you want to show that you don't trust their judgment. On the other hand, it could be an indication of how free the both of you are with each other. You could be one of those fun couples constantly teasing each other and thinking up ideas to surprise each other.
If one of you is using "whatever" to get out of making decisions, they have mentally checked out of the relationship or the argument. They either no longer care or are choosing the passive-aggressive way out of it. "Whatever" is a closed door beyond which there are no rational and mature arguments.
If you're using "whatever" while making choices together and it is a way to get out of it easily, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Partners are not mind-readers. If you have a specific idea, let your partner know about it. People in healthy relationships express what they want. Even if you disagree on the right way to clean a car, express your opinion. Steer clear of the common traps of a bad relationship and banish this word from your vocabulary.
Many a time, the special things, no matter how small, that our partners do for us, go unnoticed. Say "thank you" to each other and show that you appreciate each other's efforts. If he did more than his share of the chores this work, let him know you noticed and are thankful. If you're doing the same for him, he should be prepared to show his appreciation too. The woman of the house is not automatically the one in charge of the domestic responsibilities anymore.
If you're already at the stage where you show appreciation for the big and small things you do for each other, your relationship is a healthy one. However, if either of you thinks that you are not showing enough appreciation, now is the time to change that.
If one partner is always apologizing whether they did something wrong or not, there is an imbalance in the relationship. It could be their insecurity and low self-esteem showing up or the other partner could be manipulating them. Either way, the scales are tipped against one here. However, if the apology comes after an argument where one person owns up to their mistakes, it's a show of maturity. Your relationship is devoid of resentment and in a much better place in that case.
We all enjoy making our partners happy but sometimes some of us could go too far in seeking their approval. If you or your partner asks the other one often if what they are doing is fine or not, then that person is bending over backward to accommodate the other. Neither requires constant validation from the other because in a partnership of equals, both your opinion holds value equally.
However, if you are asking this to make sure if the other is comfortable in an unfamiliar situation it is a show of genuine care for the other. That indicates that you truly love and value the wellbeing of your partner.