Couples who manage to have a long term relationship often cite their ability to communicate with each other, but few of them bother to mention it is successful communication that really counts. When people fail to listen to each other, there is only white noise between them. Their success is measured in days or months when this occurs because they do not pay attention to what their partner says they need or want, and the breakdown in communication will become obvious as feelings are hurt.
Successful communication between two people has two components that are important. Each person must be willing to state what they want or need from each other or life, and the other person must listen to them. If partners do not each practice communication in this way, they will see their relationship begin to stumble down the load road to dissolution. Those who pay attention to their communication habits will see where they can improve, and there is a good chance their relationship will flourish.
Many people have a sneaking suspicion that acknowledging the needs of their partner means they must fulfill them, and they believe it gives them permission to stop listening. While it would be nice to be able to help a partner with every issue, it is unrealistic. Sometimes people simply need to know a loved one has heard them, and other times they do expect or require action to be taken. Listening is the first step, but it can also be the only necessary step in a good relationship.
Keeping a relationship fresh and alive through communication is important because people and circumstances change all the time. What might have sufficed a decade ago is not enough now, and communicating changing needs is important. Listening and acknowledge them, even if there is nothing to be done about a situation, is also an important part of successful communication between partners.