Whether you are in a long-lasting, positive relationship or one in which you struggle to meet your partner eye-to-eye, there is always room for improvement. No relationship is or ever will be perfect, but you can perfect the art of learning about one another with a little effort. If you desire to improve the way you connect to your partner then look no further! Though the following tips are not an exhaustive list of ways to improve communication, but they are, as a group, definitely a good starting point!
1. Actively listening
There is a vast difference between hearing your significant other and actually listening. Hearing is the physical 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 with words. The more intently you listen to your partner, the more you will understand.
2. Being open and honest
If you are looking to improve communication, you have to be willing to communicate about everything! There is no rule that says you must divulge everything to your intimate partner, however being honest about thoughts and feelings can go a long way toward opening the door for a better connection. Secrets from one another about vital parts of the relationship can cause disruption and, in some cases, spell the end of the relationship. Be fully honest with your partner about how you feel about certain behaviors; being honest up front can eliminate the risk of frustration building toward anger or resentment.
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 what about those things that are not so good? An important 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 important 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 important 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.” Dedicate the best of your time to the person you love – after all, are they not deserving of the best?
5. Continue learning
Lastly, know that a relationship is constantly 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 talk to your significant other; learn how to better understand 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!