If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you’ve no doubt learned that effective communication with your partner isn’t something you master quickly or all at once. Relationships are complicated. Even the best ones have opportunities for misunderstanding and hurt feelings because you and your partner share life together and life is messy. Communication is an art.
I’ve written about couple’s communication elsewhere, but here are some ideas for improving the quality of your communication with your beloved:
- Think before you speak. What’s your intention in addressing a concern with your partner? What outcome do you want?
- Talk. Sounds pretty simple, but how you say something can speak more loudly than the words you use. Sarcasm, blame and criticism can take a conversation in a negative direction very quickly. So can the wrong tone of voice. If the conversation is likely to be difficult, consider making a soft start: “Is this a good time to talk?” or “Honey, there’s something we need to discuss.”
- Listen. Easy to forget this step! Listening is easier if you avoid distractions – having a conversation while watching TV, answering email or texting someone else. Give one another your undivided attention – particularly if you’re talking about something easily misunderstood or likely to push each other’s buttons.
- Respond. Communication is a two-way street, with who is talking and who is listening alternating. If the relationship has a pattern where one person’s speaking is met with defensiveness or silence by the other, the relationship is in trouble.
Finally, be mindful that communication in itself may not be complete until action is taken. In successful relationships, each partner is influenced by the needs of the other.
I needed this advice. It’s great to try and be sympathetic in relationships so that you can really feel where your partner is coming from. consequently, I learned the hard way 🙁
It’s the second time when i’ve seen your site. I can understand a lot of hard work has gone in to it. It’s really good.
I’m reading Living with a Funtional Alocoholic right now and have found a lot of useful information. My husband was drinking at home and then said he was going to the local bar for a couple beers and asked if I mind… I said yes and then gently talked to him about the amount of drinking he’s been doing and that I was afraid and concerned. I didn’t tell him he couldn’t go but he got very angry and hasn’t spoken to me in almost 2 months. Not speaking is his M.O. but this is the longest it’s ever lasted. I am a ghost in my house. I’ve started going to Alanon and reading books such as this for enlightenment and help. Thanks!