5 ways to better communicate in your relationship
We read that communication is the key to a good relationship. Yet, good communication does not come without making time for each other and practice. If you are to create the foundations of a strong relationship, it is critical that you and your partner learn to effectively listen and talk to each other. Here are some key skills that you can use to build this effectively.
1) Talk about the big issues face-to-face.
It is tempting to avoid talking about the big issues if we find them difficult. Perhaps we start to discuss them but sweep them under the carpet when it becomes difficult. Further conversation becomes the elephant in the room and nothing happens. So pick a time, take turns saying what you think, listen carefully and come to a decision. By facing the issue and resolving it you prevent the frustration and pent-up feelings undermining your relationship.
2) Do not indulge in telepathy.
When we have been in a relationship for a long time, we assume that we know what our partner will think. Yet, by asking our partner and listening carefully to the answer, we do two things. We ensure that we understand what our partner is feeling and we signal to them that we are not taking them for granted.
3) Listen to each other.
When we speak to our partner, one of the things that we value most is being heard and understood. It is important that you concentrate on the person talking and offer them eye contact. Do not get distracted by your phone but listen to them. Repeat back what you have heard and ask clarifying questions.
4) Be open and honest with your partner.
Hiding your emotions behind a mask makes it difficult for your partner to have a relationship with the real you. Pretending that everything is all right when it is not, only prolongs difficulties in the relationship. If you are open, it means talking about things that you have never talked about before. By being vulnerable with your partner, you are open to all possibilities including disappointment as well as untold joy.
5) Look out for body language.
Our bodies speak as loudly as words. Body language can be something small like an eye roll or something big like folded arms. Notice when the body language and the words do not match... it suggests that there is something wrong.
While noticing your partner’s body language, be aware of your own. Try to maintain an open neutral body position and sit next to the person you speak to them.
Communication is the key in relationships and getting it right can make the difference between a relationship that works and one that breaks down. Taking the time to talk to each other makes a big difference so practice communicating effectively. If communication is a difficulty in your relationship, you might want to consider getting help.
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About Graeme Orr
Graeme is a counsellor and author living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice, he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.