When it comes to relationships, we all know communication is key. However, communication between couples can sometimes be a tricky road to navigate. This article dives into the details of what it means to communicate, why it is so important as well as how to effectively communicate with one another.
What does communication mean?
As human beings, the way in which we send and receive information to each other is mostly through verbal communication. The ability to express our thoughts, feelings, experiences, opinions as well as our needs and wants to our partners, as well as to truly listen and respond are the most fundamental ingredients to a successful relationship. However, this is not always as easy as it sounds because not only is it important to express and respond but how we do it is equally as important.
Why is communication in a relationship so important?
Communication between couples is vital as it allows each person to know what is really happening for the other rather than assuming things. When we can express ourselves in a clear, calm, and honest way as well as to really listen without interrupting and respond to our partners in a respectful way this creates a greater sense of connection as a couple. In addition, the ability to communicate effectively when there are disagreements and/or conflicts strengthens and deepens relationships.
How to effectively communicate with your partner
Express yourself openly, honestly, and calmly
Communicating our feelings, thoughts, ideas, opinions can sometimes be difficult, especially when emotions are running high. When it comes to important conversations, rather than just bringing something as soon as possible, it can help to think about an appropriate time. A time when both you and your partner are most relaxed and have time available, as this creates a positive environment. Also, if possible think first about what it is you want to say, how to say it, and what you are wanting from the conversation, as this can help to express yourself calmly, clearly, and openly. Of course, this is not always possible and that is ok, it’s more important that you and your partner are trying and are doing it some if not most of the time.
Listen to your partner
As you may have guessed, listening is a primary skill in any kind of communication and assists communication between couples. Whether it be in simple conversing or with deeper discussions or in disagreements, listening is a skill, and it can be improved over time. While your partner is speaking, try not to think of rebuttals or your own point of view, but rather immerse yourself into what they are saying, taking into consideration their feelings and opinions. By really listening you allow the conversation to take turns between yourself and your partner and try to avoid talking over each other as this creates an experience of not feeling heard, valued, or acknowledged. If you are unsure about something your partner has said, ask them in a calm voice to reiterate and explain in-depth rather than jumping to your own conclusions.
Utilise and observe non-verbal communication
Partners often communicate non-verbally using body language in conjunction with verbal communication. Body language can provide a great level of insight into how your partner is feeling. You can even observe and adjust your own body language to create a more open and comfortable conversation. Closed off body language, like folded arms and looking away, can be a sign of frustration, hesitation, or anger. Whereas positive body language like smiling and nodding is a sign of undertanding. If your partner is displaying negative body language during a conversation, try not to critique them on this but instead, observe how they are feeling. This will, in turn, help you to both have a more effective and pleasant conversation.
Respect your partner’s point of view
It is important that a point of view and feelings are respected. This applies even if you don’t fully understand or agree with them yourself. There are many factors that contribute to a point of view, opinion, or feeling about something. Some examples of these factors include their parent’s opinions, childhood experiences, education, and adult life experiences. Seek first to understand and see their point of view, as this can be very useful in the long term. When it comes to resolving an issue, communication between couples should involve both people focusing on understanding each other. Each conversation may not have the outcome that you had imagined, and that’s ok. If you both understand and respect each other’s ideas, thoughts and needs, there is bound to be a suitable compromise available.
Be patient with your partner and yourself during a conversation. Sometimes expressing our emotions and opinions in a clear and accurate way isn’t always easy. So, keep this in mind and be as patient as possible to reach a mutually agreeable outcome. Remember to breathe and stay calm.
Above all else, remember why you love your partner. This will inspire and motivate you to understand your partner more deeply and reach a positive conclusion. Keep in mind that no one is perfect. All types of communication, even arguments, are a normal part of a healthy relationship. Your efforts to listen, respect, and understand your partner will pay off in the long term. This will in turn, help you grow closer together.
If you would like support and/or guidance through your relationship Karen Potter can assist. Contact Karen to find out more today.