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NEWS | Feb. 2, 2011

Communication in relationships

By Airman Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

When a baby is first born, the only way he or she can communicate is through tears and cries. As the child becomes older, words such as 'no' and 'mama' become the child's first. Through the years the child grows into adulthood and learns how to fully communicate in a language, whether it is English, French, Spanish or some other. Although an educated adult knows how to communicate with words, how does he know his message is being heard?

People communicate both verbally and non-verbally, but as important as it is to speak intelligently it is equally important to listen.

"Communication is the very basis of all relationships," said Mrs. Linda Lankosz, community readiness consultant from the 628th Force Support Squadron.

Communicating is one of the five actions in Comprehensive Airman Fitness, and here at Joint Base Charleston it's not just for Airmen, but for the whole JB CHS team.

Although communication is learned at a young age, some forget the true meaning, Mrs. Lankosz said.

"Communication means listening, acknowledging and considering what people have to say," she said. "It means asking questions and responding to people's wants."

Relationships are never easy, but always depend on good communication, Mrs. Lankosz said.

"People crave to be heard," she said. "A couple should take time telling each other what makes them feel loved. It identifies what's important and it communicates your want and needs, which ultimately strengthens your relationship."

People need to nurture relationships and emotional deposits are an easy way to remember how a relationship is doing, Mrs. Lankosz explained.

"Emotional deposits are like making deposits in the bank," she said. "If you make more withdrawals than you make deposits you're going to have a deficit. If you say five positive comments for one negative comment, your relationship will never be overdrawn. Even though I don't encourage people to count each positive or negative comment, it's still important to be aware of our interactions with each other, whether it's a relationship at work or home."

If people in a relationship have trouble communicating, it could lead to bigger problems, Mrs. Lankosz said.

"People need to know how to communicate effectively," she said. "Poor communication will break down any relationship. This could lead to an increase in stress."

Maj. Patrick Pohle, Mental Health Flight commander from the 628th Medical Group, and Community Action Information Board executive director said communication is an important part of a military lifestyle.

"Everyone could use a little help communicating," he said. "But as service members it is important that we listen to those above, below and parallel to us. Are we listening to what our commanders, subordinates and peers are trying to say to us? We need to be good communicators because we all play a role in today's mission."

If a service member has a healthy relationship at home, he will be resilient, Major Pohle said.

"Active-duty members need to communicate information to their families about base activities and deployments," he said. "This keeps the whole family informed, better prepared and it increases their resiliency."

All relationships have their hiccups, but even through the hard times there are classes that can help. Making a Good Marriage Better is a class Mrs. Lankosz recommends whether your relationship is up or down.

"Through a fun, fast-paced class we help you identify the values, joys and strengths in your relationship," she said. "We want to help you become better verbal and non-verbal listeners, and we want to make sure your team is communicating."

Making a Good Marriage Better is held quarterly at the Military Family Readiness Center. The next class is April 14, 2011. Call 963-4406 for more information.

(This is the eighth story on a nine-part series on Comprehensive Airman Fitness.)