Communication is the foundation of a secure, healthy relationship. Communication done effectively will strengthen your relationship and help you understand each other better. Done ineffectively, it can lead to conflict and turmoil within the relationship.
It is through communication that you and your partner will get to know each other, connect, express your feelings, and settle any problems. It is a skill you have to hone and practice in your relationship.
Poor communication between two partners will lead to relentless fighting without resolution of the root cause. Decent conversations will become sparse and both of you will resort to giving each other the cold shoulder.
How to improve communication in your relationships
Communication can make or break your relationship. It is one of the cornerstones of a successful, healthy, and lasting relationship. Small misunderstandings due to a lack of communication can turn into major fights. Here are some strategies to improve communication in your relationship:
1. Listen actively
One important aspect of communication is listening. To have effective communication, active listening is warranted. Active listening is not merely being quiet, but it means paying attention to what your partner is saying and trying to get across. Active listening shows you are genuinely interested in listening to what your partner has to say, positive or negative.
Active listening is paying complete attention to your partner while maintaining your silence, instead of thinking what to say next. Active listening is reiterating what your partner is saying instead of judging them. The goal of active listening is to understand your partner.
2. Be honest with each other
Texts and phone calls are convenient but if you want to communicate with your partner effectively, take time to talk with them face-to-face. Technology as a means of communication works well for keeping in touch, but talking with them in person is a better tool of communication.
Honest communication is essential for a smooth relationship. Speak up about your feelings – whether good or bad. When you agree or disagree, let your partner know. A lack of honesty can confuse your partner. Honesty will make it easier to communicate more clearly and avoid miscommunication. Do not bury your thoughts just to please each other. Whatever or however you are feeling in the moment, be sure to tell your partner in all honesty.
3. Be mindful of what you say
Learn how to be vocal about expressing your love for your partner. On the other hand, practice tact when saying something that may be hurtful or distressing. Your choice of words can make a difference when trying to get a message over. A single wrong choice of word can be taken the wrong way and misinterpreted by your partner.
Ways to be mindful include avoiding the use of extremes such as always, never, all the time. These will only heighten conflict. For effective communication, speak in a first person manner: use ‘we’, instead of pointing fingers and using ‘you’.
4. Understand non-verbal behavior
Not everything your partners want to say can be expressed through words, and so it is important to pick up non-verbal cues your partner may be sending you. Communication is not only what you say, but how you say it, and what you do.
Non-verbal communication can be through the tone of voice, touch, eye contact, gestures, facial expressions, and other movements. Looking out for these behaviors will help you understand what your partner is trying to say and their overall mood – elation, disappointment, anger, or excitement.
5. Respect and compromise
Effective communication also warrants respect – respect for your partner and what he/she has to say. When you are talking to each other, express and maintain respect. Take responsibility for your wrong actions and own up to your faults. When the people in a relationship show respect for each other, conflicts are more easily solved.
Instead of trying to win or proving you are right, arrive at a compromise that is amenable to both parties. Remember, the goal of communication is to resolve any issues and come to an understanding. The conversation should always end with a compromise or resolution to the problem.
6. Avoid making communication mistakes
There are several communication no-nos you should avoid as much as possible. It is easy to do and say these things when we are in heated arguments or in conflict.
- Giving each other the silent treatment or cold shoulder
- Walking away and disengaging from the conversation
- Bringing up the mistakes of the past
- Discussing more than one issue at a time
- Raising your voice during an argument
- Disrespectful and violent words and actions
While many couples think seeing a couples counselor is not warranted, seeking the expert opinion of psychologists can help you communicate effectively with each other. Communication is key to a happy and healthy relationship and we at MindShift Psychological Services are more than happy to help. We will guide you in your journey to communicating effectively as a couple.
Contact the nearest MindShift Wellness Center near me today and schedule an appointment, or check out our website to see the services we offer.