Every relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons. Part of what defines a healthy relationship is sharing a common goal for exactly what you want the relationship to be and where you want it to go. And that’s something you’ll only know by talking deeply and honestly with your partner. However, there are also some characteristics that most healthy relationships have in common. Knowing these basic principles can help keep your relationship meaningful, fulfilling, and exciting whatever goals you’re working towards or challenges you’re facing together.
Being in love is a fantastic, often magical experience. But sometimes, we run into situations of misunderstandings and conflicts, and communication can be challenging. If this sounds familiar, you will find these tips for better Couple Communication.
1) Active Listening / Use Feedback:
Sometimes when we listen to our significant other (or anybody for that matter), we’re not fully present. We may be distracted by something else that’s going on in our life, or feel overly reactive to strong emotions they’re displaying. In casual conversation (and especially during heated ones), it’s common for people to find themselves in a dynamic of impatiently waiting to chime in with a thought (defensive statement, rebuttal, etc.) while the other is speaking, rather than simply taking it all in and then responding afterward. Accordingly, we end up not paying full attention to what the other is saying.“Active Listening,” on the other hand, involves making a concerted effort to slow down and listen with an open heart and mind. This, of course, is easier said than done! But, the intention is key, so you need to start there. If for whatever reason you don’t have the bandwidth to listen deeply and openly, then you may want to table the conversation, argument, etc. to another time (again, easier said than done).
Active listening, like so many aspects of communication, is a skill and therefore requires practice. As we do it more, we get better at it and it gets easier.
2) Edit Criticism:
When communicating with your partner, make a concerted effort to avoid personal criticism. This includes refraining from put-downs, insults, and negative body language, such as eye-rolling. As we all know, criticism makes people feel defensive, among other things; this significantly inhibits the listening process and can lead to further escalation of anger and hurt feelings.
3) Be a good listener:
While a great deal of emphasis in our society is put on talking, if you can learn to listen in a way that makes another person feel valued and understood, you can build a deeper, stronger connection between you. There’s a big difference between listening in this way and simply hearing. When you really listen—when you’re engaged with what’s being said—you’ll hear the subtle intonations in your partner’s voice that tells you how they’re really feeling and the emotions they’re trying to communicate. Being a good listener doesn’t mean you have to agree with your partner or change your mind. But it will help you find common points of view that can help you to resolve conflict.
4) Honesty is important:
The fact is that we aren’t taught to express our feelings clearly. For this reason, many people aren’t used to doing it or even can’t recognize their feelings, so it is hard to verbalize them. But not only that, keeping your feelings hidden isn’t a solution. It can create a severe problem.
Pretending everything is alright when it is not or giving your partner the silent treatment are just about the worst things you can do. Regardless of how difficult it may seem, you need to work towards being open and honest.
One of the effective communication strategies in a marriage is your willingness to share ideas that you may have never shared with anyone, show your vulnerability, and so on.
5) Be Gentle:
When something is bothering you, bring it up gently and without blame. Be aware of the tone used when communicating problems. A mutually respectful tone – one that is neither passive nor aggressive – goes a long way in starting a productive dialogue.