Learning how to communicate better in a relationship can be life-changing in a really positive way. When you successfully share your ideas and feelings with your significant other, your relationship becomes deeper and more meaningful.
Trust is built as the relationship grows, creating a safe and healthy emotional environment for both you and your partner.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, learning better communication skills will help your relationships thrive. Let’s take a look at how to communicate effectively in a relationship using these three key ways.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say (In a Kind Way)
You may have heard your mom say that to you growing up. If so, she understood the first step in communicating effectively. There are many barriers to communication. Communicating in a passive-aggressive way is a big roadblock in plenty of relationships.
Placing hidden meanings in your words assuming your partner will successfully decode them is asking for trouble. A more effective alternative is to share your thoughts directly but in a kind way.
Instead of saying, “You never….” try saying “Lately, I’ve felt that….” When you reword your thoughts truthfully using ‘I’ or ‘me’ you’ll sound less accusatory and, in the end, give your significant other a better chance to hear your heart instead of your anger.
Communication in Relationships and Listening
Often when we hear the word communication, we think of the person talking. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of communication is “A process by which information is exchanged between individuals.” For communication to successfully take place, then, the message must not only be given but heard as well.
Let’s face it. Listening is a learned skill that doesn’t come easily for most. Sharpening your listening skills shows your significant other you care and that you love them.
In her Psychology Today article entitled, “6 Surprising Ways to Communicate with Your Partner,” F. Dianne Barth L.C.S.W. shares the following about listening as a communication form:
“Knowing that you are being heard is one of the experiences most likely to cement a feeling of connection to another.”
If you’re in an argument, let your partner finish what they have to say (yes, that can be really hard)! Think about how they’re feeling. Remember, you don’t have to agree with everything that’s said. Sometimes, no matter how in tune you are with your partner, you’ll still disagree.
Better Communication by Awareness of Body Language
So much of understanding how to communicate in a relationship is learning to effectively do so without words. Your body language, interest in conversation (or lack thereof), and acts of kindness speak volumes to your significant other.
If one of you are upset, hold their hand or give them a hug. That physical touch communicates you care and love them as a person.
Also be careful of signs of tension like crossed arms, rolling eyes or obviously unhappy glances. It’s important to minimize actions like these because they can break down any relationship.
Still, some of these “negative” cues can become positive if you learn to pick up on them early. For instance, you may realize through your significant other’s body language that now isn’t a good time to talk about a frustrating topic.
You can give the person you love adequate space and resume the conversation at a more opportune time. You can also pick up on those negative cues and work to influence them in a positive way. Just be careful how you do that so it doesn’t come across as insensitive or sarcastic!
Learn How to Communicate Better in a Relationship Through Counseling
Another great way to improve your communication is to consider couple’s counseling. Whether you just want to improve an already happy relationship or there are some struggle points, your therapist is trained to help you using evidence-based methods.
Even the best of relationships don’t thrive in a vacuum. A third party can help you figure out challenges that are difficult for just the two of you to resolve.
The OC Relationship Center is here to help you improve your relationships through better communication. That may need to happen in a romantic relationship, parent/child relationship or be best suited for individual counseling.