Communication is essential in any interpersonal context, whether it be with co-workers, friends, or family, but it is one of the most, if not the most, essential building block of a healthy and strong relationship with your partner. It’s important to remember that it is a two-way street and as much as you want to be heard, your partner will want you to listen. Many problems begin when we don’t take responsibility for our communication.
Sometimes it is hard to acknowledge your significant other’s point of view when you have one of your own, and making the effort to really listen and try to understand them is not only a true sign of respect, but can also keep things from being bottled up and coming out negatively in the future. We all have opinions which we are incredibly stubborn about, however when disagreements do occur; the common response is to become defensive. It is this defensiveness which subliminally tells our partners that they can no longer go to us with their issues. This will, in turn, cause undue anxiety for your partner as not being able to be as open as they want to be with their significant other can harbor resentment and create a lot of unaddressed friction.
Not all conversations are going to be easy and it’s dealing with those difficult ones which will lead to the strongest bonds. Avoidance of issues will not only prolong them, it may actually intensify their meaning in a relationship. This will signal to your partner that whatever it is that you don’t want to talk about is actually an issue you are struggling with. Again, since it is a two-way street, your partner will want you to want to come to them for emotional support. It’s that feeling of being a team and being able to handle any situation together that reinforces positive validation of the relationship.
It’s been said many times before, but one of the easiest ways to show you are listening is to pay attention to the little things. Those are the intimate details of your partner’s life that they will only usually share with you. Taking notice and addressing these and other minute details in conversation signifies that you have internalized and made them a priority in your life. Furthermore, take interest, but also know when to give your partner space. There are more ways to communicate with your partner to let them know you understand them than by talking. Sometimes it is best to let a conversation sink in than to try and force it. Confronting them when they are not ready is a surefire way to ensure that they will be defensive. Instead, either ask or wait for them to come to you. Finally, remember to be open and available to your partner if you want them to feel safe and secure.