When you’re in a relationship, it’s important to communicate with your partner. The more you communicate, the better your relationship becomes and the stronger your love for each other grows. We all know this, but we don’t always follow through on it. Let me be the first to admit that my communication skills could use a little work—but they’re not as bad as they used to be! I want to share some tips that will help you improve your own communication skills so that you can have better conversations with your partner and grow closer together as a result:
Listen, even if you think you have all the answers.
- Listen to what your partner is saying.
- Listen to what your partner is not saying.
- Listen with an open mind, not a closed one (your brain, not your heart).
- Listen with your heart, not just with your ears.
- Listen with all of the senses, not just hearing and sight (touch, taste, smell).
A good conversation requires both parties listening well: listening without pre-judging or projecting; listening because it’s important to know another person’s point of view–not just because they’re right or wrong in their opinions but because you care about their feelings; listening because it keeps you connected emotionally through the process of sharing intimate thoughts and feelings; and finally listening because it makes them feel valued as a person–as opposed to being treated like an object that needs fixing or improving upon.
Of course, none of us can know what someone else is thinking—not even our partners. That’s why it’s important to avoid making assumptions about your partner’s motivations, feelings, and intentions.
Here are some examples of things that you shouldn’t assume about someone:
- They know how you feel about something
- They want exactly what you want in a situation
- They are as invested as you are in whatever conversation/task/activity/etc. is going on right now
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
Asking for clarification is one of the most important parts of a good conversation. It’s important to ask for clarification when you’re confused about what your partner has said. For example, if you don’t understand what they mean by “She doesn’t like me,” it’s okay to say something like, “Can you clarify? I’m worried that she might not be comfortable with my presence.”
It’s also helpful to ask for clarification when your partner says something and you want more information or additional examples. If they say, “I had a bad day at work,” asking them how long their day was or what made it difficult can give both parties some context through which they can better understand each other’s experiences—and in turn, themselves!
It’s okay if asking someone if they need help understanding their experience makes them feel self-conscious—but make sure that this doesn’t stop them from communicating with you in the future!
Check your intentions.
When you start a conversation with your partner, ask yourself:
- Am I really listening to what my partner is saying?
- Am I really trying to understand the point of view of my partner?
- Am I really trying to help my partner by asking questions or offering advice?
- Am I really trying to be kind and compassionate toward them in this conversation?
These questions will help you check your intentions before starting a difficult discussion.
Learn from past mistakes and try to avoid them.
When you’ve made a mistake, don’t hide it. Instead, be honest and tell your partner what happened. That way they’ll know that you’re human too!
If you feel like you need to apologize, do so as soon as possible. Apologies can make or break a relationship; if done correctly, they can help to end the fight before it begins (or worse: escalates).
Communication is key to a healthy relationship.
Communication is key to a healthy relationship. But it’s not something you can do once and walk away confident that things will be OK from then on. Communication skills are like any other skill: they need to be practiced and sharpened over time. And when you communicate with your partner, you need to remember that communication isn’t a one-time event—it’s an ongoing process of learning about each other and strengthening your bond together as a couple.
In order for this process of learning and strengthening your communication skills with each other to take place, there are certain things that need to happen during your conversations:
In the end, the most important thing to remember is that communication is key. It’s important to listen and understand what your partner says, but it’s also vital to take time out of your day to talk about issues without making assumptions that could hurt others. No matter how far down the rabbit hole a couple can travel when attempting to communicate just remember you are only one thought away from feeling the love that is at your core. Get back to that place and communicate from that place in your heart. We hope these tips helped you improve your relationship with others!