Learning to communicate effectively with each other is one of the best things you can do for your relationship. Effective communication makes it so much easier to understand one another and make sure each person’s needs are heard, validated, and acted upon. Good communication also helps cool down fights and gives you both a mature, useful framework for dealing with any problems that arise.
There’s a lot of information out there to help you learn to communicate better as a couple. If you have the inclination it’s well worth investing some time in reading books, digging deeper into this blog, or even signing up for some couples therapy sessions if communication is becoming a real issue in your relationship.
There are also plenty of quick and easy tips you can follow to boost your communication so your relationship feels smoother and tensions are more easily diffused. Why not try out our quick and easy tips for effective communication between couples?
1. Own your feelings
It’s so easy to get angry at your partner for what you see as their flaws, but good communication always starts with owning your feelings. Be honest with yourself about what you feel, and why. Look for underlying stresses that might be making you feel more irritated than usual. Take responsibility for your feelings and ask what you can do to help yourself get past them, instead of putting the sole responsibility on your partner.
2. Switch off sometimes
You’ll be amazed how much better your communication gets if you just switch your phone off from time to time. Try setting aside one night or afternoon a week where you both shut your phones off, close your laptops, and just focus on being together.
3. Be kind
A little kindness goes a long way in a relationship. If things are tense, don’t fight fire with fire. Instead, look for opportunities to speak kindly to your partner. Try telling them the things you love and appreciate about them, and thanking them for the little things they do on a daily basis.
4. Set aside time to talk
If you know you both need to talk, set aside a time for it. Pick out a time when you know you won’t be interrupted, and remember to check in with your partner about whether it’s a good time to talk. Give each other your undivided attention instead of cramming in important talks during dinner or while driving to the grocery store.
5. Take turns stating your feelings
Just twenty minutes spent taking turns to express your feelings can work wonders for your communication. Again, you’ll want to find some real uninterrupted time and make sure you won’t be disturbed. Set a timer and let each person talk for a set period without interruptions. Really listen to what they say and follow up with some questions to help clarify if you need to, then ask them to do the same for you.
6. Appreciate the effort they make
It’s so easy to slip into focusing on what your partner doesn’t do, especially if you’re feeling rushed and stressed. Get into the habit of focusing on the positive things they are doing. If you’ve had a fight and they extend an olive branch, take it. If they make an effort to resolve a problem or support you in some way, acknowledge it and thank them for their help. If your partner feels appreciated and validated, they are more likely to be open to communication and compromise.
7. Learn to negotiate
The art of negotiation is the most important key in any relationship. You’re not competing, after all. You’re a team, and for a team to move forward, both members need to compromise sometimes. Of course there are some things you need that you really can’t budge on, and that’s ok. But there are other things that you could let go, or learn to compromise on. Always try to put the good of your relationship above being right.
8. Show respect to your partner
If you promise something to your partner, follow through on your promise. Listen to what they say and show attention and care towards their needs and concerns. Think twice before talking about them to other people, and definitely avoid the urge to complain about them behind their back. You’re choosing to share your life with this person – they deserve your respect.
9. Leave the past in the past
If you and your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye, it’s important that you focus on the current problem and avoid bringing up the past. So many couples use disagreements as an excuse to bring up past hurts and open old wounds. This doesn’t achieve anything and it leaves you both feeling hurt and frustrated. Leave the past in the past and keep your focus on what is happening right now.
10. Even a note or text matters
Part of good communication is simply letting your partner know that they’re on your mind, and that you care about them. Text them throughout the day to find out how their day is going, and let them know they were on your mind. You can even go old school and leave them a note.
Good communication isn’t a one time thing – it’s an ongoing process of learning to communicate more clearly and express yourself, while listening to your partner’s thoughts and needs. Weave these communication techniques into your daily life and your relationship will definitely benefit.