There is a vast difference between hearing your significant other and actually having effective communication in a relationship. A hearing is a natural way your ear takes in information, and your brain processes it into a message.
Listening, while it encompasses hearing, is much more. It is the active engagement with another person with body language, position, tone and volume of voice, and words.
Another aspect of active listening that many people tend to overlook is paying attention to the non-verbal clues.
Body language, tone of voice, inflection, and eye contact, are only some ways your partner might be communicating with you through non-verbal clues.
Crossed or folded arms signify a more defensive approach, i.e., your partner might be less receptive towards your advice. A lack of direct eye contact can be a sign of guilt or the intent to hide something from you.
2. Being open and honest
For improving communication in a relationship, you have to be willing to communicate about everything!
Secrets from one another about vital parts of the relationship can cause disruption and, in some cases, spell the end of the relationship.
Be entirely honest with your partner about how you feel about certain behaviors; being honest upfront can eliminate the risk of frustration building toward anger or resentment.
Talking about your feelings is going to have a significant impact on the health of your relationship.
So, how to communicate effectively in a relationship? Find shared moments by talking about what interests you and your partner.
The spectrum includes everything from seemingly mundane to pleasant and not so enjoyable experiences in life.
3. Talking about the good and the bad
It is easy to talk about all of the good things your partner does and says – but how to communicate in a relationship about those things that are not so good?
How to communicate better with your partner? By not allowing unresolved conflicts, unspoken resentments to build up, and snowball into longstanding grudges.
A vital relationship communication skill to develop is the ability to sit down with your partner and discuss the good and the bad. Take time each day to talk about the things each of you enjoyed about the other.
Being encouraging and uplifting brings new life to the relationship and allows each of you to know what it is that your partner loves about you.
Conversely, it is also essential to talk about the things that did not go well or could be improved. By knowing what your partner appreciates and dislikes, you will be able to grow together rather than apart.
4. Giving your partner your time
No one likes to be rushed, but no one wants to be slowed down by someone either. It is essential to spend quality time together in order to continue moving forward in the relationship at the same pace.
Each person must be invested in the other for this to happen; if only one person is engaged in growing within the relationship, it will soon become stagnant.
Giving your loved one the best portions of your time can encourage growth and satisfaction in the relationship.
Be careful not to give your partner time that is half-invested; the times when you are tired, cranky, frustrated, or upset, though often made better in the presence of your partner, are not the times you should dedicate to “quality time.”
Wondering how to communicate better with your spouse? The simplest way to communicate effectively is to allocate quality time to your spouse proactively.
Dedicate the best of your time to the person you love – after all, are they not deserving of the best?
5. Minimize emotions and add more humor
Don’t get us wrong we do not mean that you do not address your emotions during a conversation with your partner.
However, we all can agree that it can be challenging to discuss pressing matters when you can’t keep your emotions in check.
The idea behind discussing a severe issue with your partner must be to find the best possible solution, but if you are emotionally compromised and feeling vulnerable, your ability to remain rational will subside.
Similarly, adding humor to a conversation is not intended to avoid a serious discussion. Humor allows us to release the frustration and reminds us that fighting the issue is more important than fighting one another.
6. Continue learning
Lastly, I know that a relationship is continuously growing and changing.
There will be times when you and your loved one do not seem to be growing toward one another. There will be times when trying to communicate with the other person seems to be a very daunting task.
Be careful not to expect perfection from your partner, and always be open to learning.
Learn new ways to communicate better with your significant other; learn how to understand better the ways your partner feels loved; learn how to be patient and not be quick to anger; learn to read a situation and know if it is time to talk or to wait.
Being open to continued learning can allow the relationship to blossom and flourish. Just as people grow and change, relationships go through the process of growth and change, too!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.