To have a healthy relationship you must consider how to improve communication in a relationship. We all know that communication in relationships is essential as it can make or mar any relationship.
As human beings, we all have a strong need for connectivity and belonging and that is what relationships provide us with. Not to forget that these relationships don’t exist in a vacuum.
They exist between two emotional persons who bring their own experiences, history, and expectations into it. Thus, trying to communicate effectively with your partner becomes a noble cause for a better relationship.
Communication, here, is important because it gives us a voice and allows us to be heard. It’s paying attention, getting your point across clearly, understanding your partner, validating their perspective, and getting through to each other constructively.
No matter how long you have been together, even small misunderstandings become mountains when your communication is deficient.
If you discover your relationship isn’t quite what it was in the past, improving your communication may help bring you closer with your partner. Here are some steps to help:
1. Create Safety
Before you work on learning how to improve communication in a relationship, you need to understand the concept of safety in communication. Nothing prevents communication like the fear of having our words used against us.
We like to feel safe talking about whatsoever, letting down our guards, and showing our authentic self, including our hurts, fears, and longings, without receiving a negative response or pushback. This is what safety in communication provides us with. By this emotional safety, we feel free and open to exchange ideas.
We feel safe to share dissatisfaction about something our partner did, share our insecurities, and feel safe to have a conversation without it escalating to a full-blown argument, or to make us feel belittled and ashamed.
When a relationship is devoid of a solid base of emotional security, heightened insecurity and mistrust becomes routine in the relationship, avoiding and withdrawing from conversations becomes the order of the day. Thus, creating room for misconceptions and a collapse of the relationship.
2. Find The Right Time And Way To Approach Your Spouse
If something is bothering you and you would like to have a conversation about it, choosing how to communicate with your spouse is a great deal.
Ask yourself these questions; ‘how can I deliver my message so that the probability of my partner actually hearing me is the highest? What would be the best way and time to talk about this issue?
Think about how you will begin the conversation. A few intros you might want to consider are; “I’ve been thinking about…”, “what do you think about…”, “I’d like to talk about…”, “I want to have a better understanding of your point of view about…”.
While you want to tell your spouse everything, it is wise to find the correct time to do so. If it doesn’t seem to be the right time, hold on until you find a time and method that is most appropriate.
You don’t want to bring up something important when your wife just walks in the door or when your husband slips into bed after having a long day at the office. You want your partner to feel considered and comfortable when you have big conversations.
Somethings that may be rejected if you express it now maybe actually heard or considered by your partner if you bring it up at a different time. You may want to ask your partner when might be a good time to talk or you’ll try to diplomatically find a quiet time.
When you both feel comfortable and relaxed without any distractions, to explain to your spouse how the lack of communication makes you feel and the negative effects it has on your relationship.
Think about what you want to say ahead of time so you can convey your feelings respectfully and honestly. Avoid talking about serious matters or issues in writing. Text messages, letters, and e-mails can be misinterpreted. Talk in person so there aren’t any unnecessary miscommunications.
Also, focus on one issue at a time. Let’s say that your partner spent a significant amount of money without consulting you, so you decide to talk about the money.
In addition, you talk about how he/she is not paying attention to you nowadays and how the house has become untidy. That’s not a great move! Learn how to improve communication in a relationship by keeping it simple and staying on the topic.
3. Be Open And Honest With Your Partner
When you consider how to improve communication in a relationship, openness and honesty should also be put into consideration.
No two persons are perfectly alike and every relationship takes a willingness to be open-minded, hence great communication anchored on honesty is necessary.
Some people have never been very open to others in their life. Some people might not even know themselves or know much about their own real needs and desires. But to be in a relationship is to take a step towards opening up your life and opening up yourself. If you can’t open up to your partner then know that you are not mature or ready yet to handle a relationship.
Being open and honest means truthfully talking about things you may never have talked about with another before in life. Or to talk about anything or problems in your relationship with all sincerity.
Pretending everything is alright isn’t alright, little lies turn into big fat lies, and nothing can get better if your partner doesn’t know anything is wrong.
You can be sure of nothing else; not the other person’s thoughts, feelings, or perceptions, the only thing that you and your partner each needs to bring to the conversation is something that each of you can be sure of, that is; your own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.
Take ownership of your feelings and thoughts, say what you mean, and make your needs clear. Speak your truth as much as you can, with love and gentleness. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it’s the key to a healthy relationship.
When we express ourselves to the people we love, fewer things go unsaid. We become more used to explain concepts and ideas in a way that our partner would understand which in turn leads to trust, creates an avenue of knowing each other, and prevents conflicts from being toxic.
Talking to your spouse honestly and openly is one sure way on how to communicate effectively with your spouse.
We sometimes assume that communication is all about making yourself heard but this is only half of it. It is also just as important that you listen to each other.
People often think that they are listening, but are really thinking about what they are going to say next when the other person stops talking; “that’s not true, that’s really annoying me”. But until you have listened to your partner, you know almost nothing.
Listening is a skill that needs to be learned and developed. Listening is a very vital tool if you want to learn how to communicate with your spouse without fighting.
Just because we hear doesn’t mean that we are listening. Only when we listen with an unconditional interest in understanding the person who is talking to us, can we truly get to know that person?
Be present in the discussion, try to feel what your partner is experiencing, turn off, or put down any distracting technology and dedicate yourself to listening to what your partner is communicating. They should truly feel that they have your full attention and that they are your number one priority.
Take note that it is difficult to listen and be fully present, aware, and mindful when you are angry and stressed or are working on the things that take time away from the relationship, hence it is good to practice the skill of “Active listening”.
By this, we mean a form of listening in which you acknowledge not only that you are listening- as with a nod of the head saying “uh-huh”, okay, but also that you understand what is being said.
It involves paying full attention to your vis-à-vis, not your own thoughts, not interrupting your partner (but if you must, be sure to ask for permission. “Sorry, can I ask you a question?” is a reasonable way to do it), and no judgment.
An active listener listens to what their partner says, rather than get defensive without understanding the partner’s point of view or where they are coming from. Active listening is a must-know on how to improve communication skills in a relationship.
Knowing that your partner listens to you gives you confidence in the relationship and is likely to cement a feeling of connection to your partner.
So, instead of going into a conversation ready to unleash some thoughts and advice, go into it ready to listen, because that’s a key on how to improve communication in a relationship.
5. Never Assume
Assumption is no way to communicate. It is the mother of all screw-ups and mistakes and can sabotage our relationships. It doesn’t just kill the relationship but hurt the heart of the person who is involved. It’s easy to get worked up in your head about something, but never actually reach out to the other person.
Over time, we assume our partner thinks the way we do, believing that our significant other will be able to understand our needs or desires without having to say them out. Then, if those unspoken needs aren’t met, we become offended.
Just because something seems obvious to us doesn’t mean it’s clear to them at all. We often assume that we’ve communicated thoughts, feelings, needs, desires, etc effectively when most of the time we really haven’t.
Instead, we give hints and use blaming; “she didn’t call me tonight, so obviously she’s not interested”, “ he should know I’d prefer a red velvet cake”.
As much as we want to be mind readers, we aren’t and shouldn’t have to be. It’s your responsibility to tell your partner what you want and need. It is not his or hers to figure out.
Talk about everything; your expectations as an individual and as a couple, your immediate needs, financial status, your priority, your current situation, and so on. Be specific and clear about what you think, feel, want, and expect. Ask questions, and don’t assume that you know the answer.
Communicate with words and not telepathy because that’s how to improve communication in a relationship and that’s one of the 9 intimate habits of couples who are strongly connected.
Communicating without assumptions is one way on how to communicate better with your spouse.
6. Pay Attention To Non-Verbal Cues
This is one important clue on how to improve communication in a relationship. By non-verbal cues, we mean how one’s body language contributes to the process of communicating feelings and reactions. It is absolutely different from assuming.
Non-verbal communication is not a negative form of communicating. On the contrary, it can be very helpful in trying to understand what a person is saying.
It includes eye contact (or lack thereof), nodding, how far away you are when you talk to someone else, the tone of your voice, its inflection, etc. Just a change in tone and inflection in one or two words will change the course of the conversation.
Sometimes, what a person is saying does not coincide with what he or she is communicating non-verbally. If your partner says “my day was fine” but their tone sounds irritated upset or angry, then there may be something else that they are feeling but not yet ready to communicate.
Look at their facial expressions and hands (are they trembling/fidgety?). Learning your spouse’s non-verbal cues is one way of improving how to communicate with your husband.
Learning how to communicate better means that you need to learn how to read these signals as well as hear what the other person is saying.
7. Address Conflict
It is vital to note how to improve communication in a relationship when there is conflict. Good communication includes fighting and making up. As intellectual beings, we are prone to clashing with one another. After all, two people can’t be expected to agree on everything, all the time.
The key is not to avoid conflict but to learn how to resolve it in a healthy way. Little digs can build up; if there are things that seem to keep bothering you over and over, say it. Don’t make little comments, they are immature and they will slowly corrode the relationship.
It’s better to discuss them and free yourself of that frustration than keep them bottled up. When addressing conflict, it is important to skillfully talk about the issue.
Even when we mean well, we can sometimes come across as harsh because of our word choice. Experts say that how you say something is as important as what you say.
Using “you” can sound like you are attacking, which will make your partner defensive and less receptive to your message. As such, don’t use extremes.
Accusations such as; “you really messed up”, “you never…”, “ you always…”, don’t add any value to your argument. No one wants to be labeled negatively or to be condemned.
Use the “I” statement instead and make them about yourself and your feelings. Instead of telling your partner how awful he is, express your own feelings: “I feel frustrated when this happens”.
It’s less accusatory, sparks less defensiveness, and helps the other person understand your point of view. Once you mention your hurt and feelings and your partner sincerely apologize, let it go.
Don’t bring up past issues. Admit if you are at fault and that you aren’t always perfect and apologize when you make a mistake instead of making excuses. You will feel better and it will help strengthen your relationship.
Thanks for the read! I hope these tips help someone out there. And that with it, you’ve learned at least a few ways to improve communication in a relationship.
Which of these tips would be the most valuable for you to remember? Do you have some other ways to improve communication in a relationship? Feel free to leave a comment below!
Also, you can check out 10 Silent Relationship Killers That Can Ruin Even The Strongest Marriage and 10 Tips For A Successful Marriage for more resources. Sending you all Love and Light, enjoy!
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