The Key to Effective Communication in Relationships
Effective communication is one of the best ways to resolve conflict in a relationship. When you’re next in a dispute or talking to your partner, remember these tips on effective communication to ensure a positive outcome.
Stay Focused on a Topic
It might be tempting to bring up past disputes and topics that hurt you. However, bringing them up will only distract from the current issue. Avoid bringing up past hurts and other issues. The best way to find a solution is by staying in the present.
Pay Attention and Listen
Effective communication is a two-way street. Next time you’re talking with your partner, try and truly listen, don’t interrupt, don’t be defensive. Just listen. Then take a moment to think about what your partner just said before responding.
Switch Your Point of View
We all want our feelings heard and understood in a discussion. For this to happen, we must drop our feelings for a second and try to see the problem from our partner’s perspective. If both of you are pushing too hard for your emotions to be understood, there will be no positive outcome, as nobody will feel understood.
Responding to Criticism
It’s very easy to get defensive when we’re at the wrong end of criticism, but this attitude solves nothing. Try responding to criticism with empathy and seeing what’s true about what your other half is saying. We can all learn from our mistakes and by listening to how we make others feel.
There are no winners or losers in arguments resolved with effective communication. A couple who has healthy communication reaches compromises, a solution that gives both of you what you need or want.
Take a Break
Tempers can easily flare up in a heated discussion, which will break any effective communication you had up until that point. Take a breather, spend some time apart from each other and discuss the issues again once you’ve had some time to calm down and think about things.
There Is No Shame in Asking for Help
If you feel you need help, either understanding or trying to find solutions to a problem but have no luck, there is no harm in asking for help. You can ask your partner for help in explaining and trying to see it from their view. You can also ask for help from a therapist. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. Effective and healthy communication can be difficult.
How to Have a Good Communication with Your Spouse
The first thing you need to know about good communication is that it’s a skill, and like every skill, it requires practice. While some people may be natural speakers, others aren’t, and that isn’t a problem. Those who aren’t natural communicators have to work on their communication skills. So, how can you and your spouse keep improving your communication skills and reach that point where you have good communication?
The first step you need is to set time aside to talk. By taking an hour or so a week to chat with your spouse, you can prevent small problems from turning into big issues. Remember always to be respectful and follow the tips we gave you above, even during the time you’ve set aside to talk. It is also a great way to practice healthy communication skills. Setting time aside works because you can tell your partner how you feel and what you need from them before the issues escalate. You can resolve issues before they start by having one conversation.
To make sure the conversation has a positive outcome, though, there are more skills you will need to practice. Sometimes you may know how your partner feels just by looking at them, but this can also lead to misinterpretations. Ask open-ended questions to learn how your partner is feeling rather than trying to read their mind. And the same works vice-versa; remember that a conversation is a two-way street, so you need to share your thoughts and feelings with your spouse to maintain healthy communication.
To help you know when a conversation is needed, and thus, preventing a small issue from becoming larger, try and pick up on nonverbal clues. For example, the tone in which your partner answers a question or their body language. Conversations aren’t only about words but also how we say them, our attitudes throughout, and how we respond to what other people say.
How to Fix Communication Problems in a Relationship
The secret to good communication is practice and patience. No partnership reaches its true potential without first learning how to communicate better in a relationship. Every couple will go through rough patches, and communication is a key to getting past them. Proper communication with your partner begins once you’ve answered these three questions together:
- What is your communication style? Each relationship is different, and so is their way of communicating. If you’re not sure this is your style, try different things to figure out what works for you. If one technique doesn’t suit you, then try a new one until you discover what works in your relationship.
- What are my partner’s needs? If neither of you knows what the other needs, it will be impossible to reach a solution. Ask your partner what they need from you and tell them what you need from them. That way, you can both reach a solution that satisfies both your needs.
- Are your partner’s needs being met? Once you’ve discussed each other’s needs, talk about if those needs are being met. If they aren’t, then find creative solutions that will satisfy both your needs.
Once you’ve answered those three questions, you can begin working on techniques to improve your communication skills. There is no right or wrong way to reach healthy communication, but following this communication relationship advice will help you reach your version of solving problems.
Communication Relationship Advice that Works
So far, we have given you the tools to improve your relationship communication as you strive for a healthier way of communicating with your spouse. However, there is still plenty you can do to enhance further how you reach solutions together. It takes practice to get it right, but you will learn how to increase communication in a relationship so long as you follow this advice.
The first thing you should work on is being honest and open. No relationship built of lies lasts long. Hiding from conflict may be comfortable, but it doesn’t help build trust in a relationship, nor is it productive to reaching solutions. The best relationships are the ones who are honest and open. Make sure your feelings and needs are heard by being clear and completely transparent about them. It’s hard to reach a solution if both parties aren’t aware of everything going on or what you need from them.
Another step towards mastering how to communicate effectively with a partner is by breaking negative patterns. Negative patterns aren’t about the things we do, as we all make mistakes, but they refer to how we talk. Our partner can perceive certain tones and pitches as hostile, defensive, or childish. Also, the pace at which we speak can be damaging. For communication to be effective, the pace needs to be calm and thoughtful, as this is the best way to make sure you are being transparent, being heard whilst also giving you time to listen and think about an adequate response. The best way to get rid of negative patterns is by letting go of past problems.
We mentioned before to stay focused and on topic. Bringing up past issues doesn’t help you solve the issue at hand. Once you’ve resolved an issue, you need to let it go. Letting go of past problems will prevent you from bringing them up in future discussions, thus helping you communicate with your partner more effectively.
Bonus Communication Tips
Communication is a key to a good relationship. There is no such thing as “too much advice” when improving how you communicate with your partner. It is, however, essential to remember that what might work for one relationship doesn’t work for yours, so don’t be afraid to try new and different approaches in search of what is best for you and your spouse. Here are some more tips on how you can improve your communication skills:
- Remember the primary goal of communication: it isn’t about winning or losing; it is about reaching a solution that satisfies both of your needs and wants.
- Physical contact can help communication in a romantic relationship. Some partners found that holding hands during their conversations helped them reach better solutions. It might not work for you, but it can also be a reminder that you both care about each other and want a positive outcome.
- Always be respectful, even when you don’t like what you hear.
- Look into what you do that hinders your communication skills. There are hundreds of lists online with examples of poor communication. Identify what you’re doing wrong and work to fix those aspects of how you communicate.
- Use apps that help improve relationships.
- Be open to new ideas and suggestions.
- If you feel you need therapy to help overcome your problems, don’t be ashamed to seek expert help.
Learning how to communicate effectively in a romantic relationship is a skill. It takes work and practice. Approach every conversation with an open mind and a desire to find solutions while always being honest and respectful towards your partner.
Remember, it is the desire to improve that helps us reach our full potential.