Communication is a skill that every couple needs. Communication covers everything from how you handle conflict to how you talk to each other about your needs, or even how you make decisions about everything from money to vacations.
Couples that have great communication between them fight less, or when they do fight, they find it easier to get things resolved. There’s less chance for resentment or misunderstandings to build up, and in general their relationship runs more smoothly.
Communication is not an innate skill. It’s not like having a flair for music or cooking. Good communication is something that can be taught, and learned. So if communication in relationships isn’t your strong point, don’t worry. By following just a few easy tips you can dramatically improve the communications in your relationships.
If you’re ready to communicate better with your partner and enjoy more understanding and less conflict in your relationship, why not start with some of our easy tips to improve communication in couples?
1. Agree on a list of banned words
Do you find yourself defaulting to “maybe we should get divorced?” when things get rough? Does your partner often threaten “maybe I should leave?” Or perhaps one of you has fallen into the trap of purposely attacking a potentially hurtful topic. It’s not pleasant, but we’re only human and we all fight a little dirty sometimes. However, if you want to improve communication in your relationship, try setting up a list of banned words and issues that you both agree not to drag out in the middle of a fight.
2. Let your partner know what you need
So many miscommunications come from simply not letting your partner know what you need. Neither of you are mind readers, and you can’t be expected to know what the other person requires. If you need to know when they’re going to be home late, say so. If it’s important that they should not make any plans for the both of you for the next four Fridays, then let them know. If you could use some extra support with chores or running the household budget, ask for what you help. Directness goes a long way to improving communication in a relationship.
3. Ask instead of assuming
Many misunderstandings can be saved if you ask questions instead of assuming. For example, if your partner is less into holding hands and kissing than usual, don’t assume they’re no longer attracted to you. It could just be that they’re very tired. Or perhaps you want to book a vacation and you’re assuming that they’d like to go where you’d like to go – but maybe your idea of a dream vacation is their idea of hell! If you don’t know something, or you’re worried about something, just ask. You’ll stave off plenty of arguments and get into good communication practices, too.
4. Spend time together
It sounds obvious, but one of the best ways to improve communications is by simply spending time together. Make date night a thing. Set aside regular time to go out, have fun, connect, or even just stay in and have a romantic meal. Ask your partner questions about their life and hopes and fears and feelings, and really listen to the answers. The more time you spend getting to know each other, the better you’ll understand how your partner thinks and responds. This is true no matter how long you’ve been together. People are always changing and there’s always more to discover, so keep the lines of communication open and never stop getting to know each other anew.
5. Regulate your own emotions
So many fights get started because one of you is mad at how the other made them feel. Now we’re not saying you shouldn’t bring up issues that hurt or worry you – of course you should. But it’s also important to regulate your own emotions, and not fall into the trap of making your partner responsible for them. Take care of your own emotional needs and take responsibility for making sure they are met. That way, you’ll be able to approach your partner from a much more equal, honest and mature place.
6. Be respectful of your partner
Respect is key to good communications. If you treat your partner with respect, it helps foster open and genuine communications. Treating them with respect means things like keeping your promises, checking in with their feelings, asking before sharing any personal information about them, thanking them for what they contribute to your relationship, and listening to their concerns with kindness and empathy. In short, treat your partner the way you would want them to treat you. Let them know that you respect them as a person and value their place in your life.
Improving communication in couples doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes a few small changes are enough to cause massive improvement and make your relationship a happier, healthier place.