Here are some rules you should definitely add to our own rulebook to understand how to fix communication in a relationship and how to further improve it.
Ways to improve communication in a relationship
Know your dealbreakers
Every relationship has its ups and downs.
No matter how close you are, there will always be a disagreement or a fight about something. Much of good communication in relationships is knowing how to get through those fights.
However, it’s also a good idea to know your deal breakers, the things you can’t make yourself look past. That way, if one comes up, you’ll know that for the sake of your own boundaries, it’s time to move on.
Your dealbreakers might be violence, infidelity, or something else. Just be honest with yourself, so you know what can be solved, and what cannot.
Listening is a much-overlooked part of any fight. One of the ways to communicate effectively in a relationship is to listen to understand, and not with the intent to reply.
It’s easy to get caught up in what you want to say, and so you just wait for your turn to speak, or even just talk or shout over each other.
No one really gets heard and it’s hard for anything to get resolved. Instead, practice the art of listening during a fight. Sometimes resolution doesn’t come from getting your point across, but from learning to understand what the other person’s point actually is. When you understand them, it’s so much easier to find a resolution that genuinely works for both of you.
Leave the past in the past
Dragging up the past, while you communicate with your spouse, is a sure way to turn any fight ugly and leave one or both parties feeling wounded and resentful.
Whether you are currently single or you’ve been married for years, make a new rule right now: Leave the past in the past during a fight. No matter what your partner has done over the years to upset you, leave it all at the door when a conflict arises.
Focus on the issue at hand, and nothing else. Otherwise, your partner will feel like their mistakes will be held over them forever.
Know your true feelings
Here’s a powerful insight on how to communicate better with your spouse.
Sometimes we’re not really fighting about what we think we’re fighting about.
Maybe on the surface, you’re angry that they didn’t load the dishwasher, but really you’ve been boiling with tension ever since they told you that they’d decided to move for a job without telling you. When you feel angry at your partner, take a moment to check in with your heart and gut and be sure that what you’re angry about is the real root of the problem, so you can tackle the true cause.
Timeout to cool-off
Taking time to decompress after a heated argument is important for a relationship. One of the tips to communicate better in a relationship is taking an effective time-out.
Conflict with your partner can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Having a conversation immediately post that can lead to further fights.
Take some time to cool off and get things into perspective.
Taking a pause during a fight to prevent it from escalating into something worse, is how to improve communication in a relationship and diffuse unpleasant couple conflict.
Cultivating a small habit like this helps in improving communication in relationships.
Be willing to accept your mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes and there is no shame in owning up to your faults.
One of the ways to communicate in a relationship is by taking ownership of your mistakes.
Even when you’re in the midst of an argument with your partner, and realize that you might be wrong, don’t hesitate to accept it.
Often people make the mistake of going on arguing even when they themselves realize that they are on the wrong end of the spectrum. Accepting your shortcomings or oversight will not only cut short the argument, but it will also help in improving communication in relationships in general.
Don’t expect your partner to know your feelings, be vocal
After years of togetherness couples often get complacent about their need to communicate.
They assume their partners to know what they intend to say and how they feel. This gap creates the problem of a lack of communication in relationships.
It is important to understand that no matter how long you have been together, the importance of communication in relationships can in no way be diminished.
So, how to communicate better?
Express what you feel and what you want to say explicitly. Your partner will not know what you want to communicate unless you express it vocally.
Have the right conversation at the right time
As a married couple, it is a good practice to share everything about your day with your partner, but it should be done at the right time.
Suppose there is a leak in the kitchen and your partner has just come back from work, do you tell him about this right away? You shouldn’t.
Let him take a shower, change into comfortable clothes. When he is all relaxed and ready to watch TV, then tell him about the leak.
Had you told him right when he entered home, he would have been irritated by this information. Now that he is in a relaxed state of mind, he will receive this information in a better way.
Set some communication rules that work for you and use them to keep your relationships healthy now and in the future.
Building and honing relationship communication skills will help you develop a deep and positive relationship with your spouse. Regardless of how long you have been with each other, you should never stop looking for ways to improve communication.
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.