They say good communication is at the heart of any strong, healthy relationship. Alongside trust, loyalty, respect, and love, communication is a key ingredient for moving any romantic relationship forward and keeping it alive.
Read on for 13 tips that’ll help you and your partner learn how to communicate effectively, and make your relationship stronger.
1. Recognize bad communication patterns.
Communication is hard work. Instead of denying bad patterns, do your best to familiarize yourself with them so that you’re able to recognize when they happen, why they happen, and how to best deal with them.
Here are some signs to look out for:
Passive-aggressive talk is commonly used as a way of expressing boiled up feelings and hidden anger towards one another in a “passive” way, instead of addressing the actual issues and having a direct confrontation or conflict.
Passive-aggressive communication usually takes the form of cynical comments, digs about the other’s decisions, cracking jokes at each other’s expense, punishing each other for something by giving the silent treatment, and more.
This is one of the most immature ways to deal with conflict in the relationship. It certainly isn’t a healthy way to express your frustration, and does no favors to either partner.
While it might give you some feeling of satisfaction or triumph in the moment, it’ll only breed resentment in the long run.
Many couples fail in their communication by simply avoiding conflict altogether, thinking it will be better for their relationship – which isn’t effective in the long run, either.
The more you avoid discussing a certain issue, the more space it has to build up into something a lot more serious down the road.
Of course, this doesn’t mean starting a fight each time something isn’t right, especially when in public. Be mindful of your environment, but don’t let conflict build up.
Another common communication mishap is using aggressive speech when communicating with one another. Becoming openly hostile, offensive, and even defensive when communicating is a sure-fire sign that you’re creating a toxic communication pattern (find out if you’re making your relationship toxic, and how you can stop it).
It can be really hard to eradicate the bad habit of hostile speech, which includes raising your voice, criticizing, blaming, dominating the conversation, and refusing to listen.
2. Take time to process your feelings beforehand.
One of the best tips you can follow when you want to communicate effectively with your partner is to simply process your feelings first, especially when they’re quite strong in the moment. This does wonders for communication because it leaves the emotion out of it.
Deal with whatever it is you’re feeling, and only then address the issue at hand. Don’t be affected or led by your emotions.
Never go into a conversation angry or frustrated because chances are you will say something you don’t mean or something hurtful.
If there’s something really important you need to speak to your partner about, take a quick walk or listen to some relaxing music first. Then, address it kindly and respectfully. You’ll always get more out of the conversation with this approach.
3. Choose the right timing.
There are so many factors that impact communication between partners in a romantic relationship, and something crucial to be mindful of is the surroundings and timing of when you need to communicate with your partner.
Effective communication is all in the timing and how you use your words. If your partner is clearly distracted or busy with something else, there’s little to no point in trying to strike a meaningful conversation; it won’t get you far.
Choose the right time to talk to him, and ensure he isn’t on his phone. Then ask for his undivided attention and state why it’s important that he listens to you.
4. Communication goes both ways.
Both partners need to listen to one another, and both partners need to feel like they’re being heard. It’s an opportunity for both of you to speak your minds, not for one party to have a monologue, leaving the other partner no opportunity to contribute.
Keep an eye on your communication patterns, especially when it comes to the ratio of speaking and listening from both partners.
When you listen to your partner, consider how good (or bad) you are at doing it. Are you just half-listening, waiting for your turn to speak again? Or, are you actively listening, and really hearing what’s being said?
5. Focus on the resolution.
Effective communication starts and ends with a goal, and whatever it is you uncover in the process will make you grow and improve. But, in order to do this successfully, you need to focus on a resolution, and finding a compromise.
The focus of communication is to come to a mutual understanding, not for one partner to win against the other. More often than not, reaching a resolution requires some level of compromise.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you and your partner are a team – even if you fight. That means showing each other respect and understanding, being able to apologize, and often being the bigger person.
6. Make time to talk.
One of the hardest things about relationships, especially in long-term ones, is actually finding the time to talk about non-mundane things.
If you find that all you discuss is what to cook for dinner, who’s doing the grocery shopping, or any other daily chores that need tackling, you need to set aside time for meaningful discussions.
You need to make each other a priority, and show the effort that you put in to making the time to talk. It ensures you’re on the same page and listen to each other’s realities, and it’ll be really rewarding down the road.
7. Avoid bringing up the past.
Put a focus on the future, and focus on positive things. Avoid bringing up negative events from the past just to prove a point or to win an argument. It really isn’t worth it!
It’s easy to fall into the trap of recalling past mistakes, especially in the heat of the moment – but it surely won’t do any favors to your communication.
8. Be straightforward.
Don’t anticipate that your partner can read your mind. It’ll just lead to both partners being disappointed.
Your partner can’t read your mind, just like you can’t read theirs – so you shouldn’t expect each other to read into subtle hints, or into any nuances in your voice intonation (which is definitely something that all men hate in relationships).
Be straightforward with each other, and it’ll do both of you a big favor. You’ll save yourselves from the mishaps of misunderstanding and miscommunication.
9. Don’t get defensive.
One of the hardest things to do when communicating about a difficult topic, facing criticism, or receiving constructive feedback, is not getting defensive.
For your relationship to succeed, both of you need to be able to hear each other’s arguments and complaints – without instantly getting jumping down each other’s throats trying to defend yourself.
Set your ego aside for a bit, and talk it out calmly.
10. Connect often throughout the day.
One of the nicest ways to improve communication is to simply go out of your way to connect, especially on really busy days.
- Leave your partner little notes for him to find
- Text him randomly during the day just to say you love him.
- Ask how he is on a daily basis
Show that his happiness and wellbeing are your number one priority. It’s the little gestures that really count!
11. Give each other space.
Two people in a relationship are rarely identical when it comes to thinking, communication and expressing their thoughts. So, if you have a lot to say on a topic, but your partner is staying quiet, it may be worth giving him the space to mull things over.
By understanding each other’s boundaries and needs, you’re setting yourselves for success in communication.
12. Show up.
If your partner is trying to reach out to you, make sure you’re there to meet him. He might try to get your attention during the day for numerous reasons, whether it’s conversation, affection, support, or play.
Each of these times is an opportunity to connect with one another, and to give each other time, affirmation and attention. When your partner seeks your attention and you give it to him, he feels cared for and seen.
13. Don’t stop flirting.
Communication isn’t all serious talk, planning and conflict resolution; it’s also about having fun with one another – and making sure you remember how important flirting was at the start of your relationship.
Especially when one of you is feeling a bit down or stressed, having that flirty feeling can always help cheer them up.
The Bottom Line
Miscommunication can lead to feelings of mistrust and lack of intimacy, while quality communication is essential for understanding each other and growing stronger together.
When two people communicate effectively, they can face any challenge – because ultimately, they can talk everything through. It’s what differentiates average couples from power couples.
If you find that your long-term relationship seems to be becoming mundane or routine, try spending more time together. There are plenty of unique date ideas that’ll help put a spark back into your relationship.