To effectively communicate in a relationship is the most important part of our relationships with others. Unfortunately, a lot of us didn't grow up surrounded by examples of healthy, open communication. Luckily, it's never too late to learn and improve. If you feel like you're harboring resentment and negative feelings, or you just don't know your partner that well, it's a sign that you can improve your communication. Here are some tips to get you started!
Talking about mundane things might seem less important than discussing your feelings and dreams, but studies have shown that it could be just as important! Mundane things are a big part of our everyday lives, and talking about them will help you get a full picture of your partner as a person. Listen to them talking in detail about a scene in a movie, something that happened at work, or even about their grocery list! Even if you don't learn anything new about your partner, these conversations will deepen your bond and show that you care.
Communication isn't just about talking, listening to your partner is just as important. Practice being an active listener. When your partner is talking, try not to think about things that you want to say or interrupt them. Instead, focus only on what they're saying. If you disagree with them, wait until they finish to say what you have. Making your partner feel like they're really being heard will improve your relationship and your communication.
Don't assume you know exactly what your partner is thinking. When you're in a relationship for a while, you feel like you know your partner, and you're sometimes filling blanks, answering questions and having conversations all on your own. We sometimes do this without realizing it. This can lead to miscommunication, confusion, and hurt feelings; all without even talking to your partner! Talk to your partner and ask them questions, without assuming what their answer will be.
Verbal communication is obviously important in a conversation, but you can't neglect the non-verbal communication either. Pay attention to your partner when you're talking. Do they have their arms crossed? Are they facing away from you? Are they making eye contact? Is the tone of their voice getting louder or shakier? All these signs tell a lot about how they're feeling. While you're at it, check your own body language as well. You should be facing your partner and making eye contact, to show them that they have your full attention.
When talking to your partner, focus on the current conversation. Don't bring up things that happened in the past. It's easy to bring up some past mistake your partner made for a cheap shot, but you should never do it. You won't "win" the argument if you bring up a past failing or something good you did in the past. You should respect your partner and the conversation you're having. Keep the conversation strictly on the subject matter, and if it starts turning ugly, take a breather and continue later.
Seek the help you and your partner need today to be able to effectively communicate in a relationship. It takes hard work and a commitment to really see your partner and understand that you are two totally separate individuals. Therapy is a great way to learn the tools necessary to effectively communicate in a relationship. Call us today at 407-967-1327. Let’s start the work to get your communication with your partner back on track.