Connecting as a Couple: Essential Communication Skills to Keep the Relationship Healthy
In any relationship, conflicts are inevitable. At one point or another, it is likely that you’d disagree on something. You might not be aware of it but how you communicate can help determine if you get to resolve your issues or if it will fester and ruin the relationship for good.
That being said, the importance of brushing up on your communication skills cannot be overemphasized. Effectively connect with your significant other by taking the following tips to heart:
Stop and give the other party your full attention
You’ve probably heard or read about this relationship gold nugget numerous times. True, it is hard to actually stop and listen when you are so passionate about the discussion and so “in the moment.” In other words, when you are knee-deep in an argument or serious discussion with your significant other, listening to the other party is most likely the least of your concerns.
Many people are so afraid of not being heard that they just keep talking. Ironically, said behaviour will make it more likely that you won’t be heard. That being said, rather than formulating answers in your head, consider it best to listen and give your partner your undivided attention so you will better understand where they are coming from.
Force yourself to hear what your partner has to say
So you’ve stopped talking and forced yourself to listen. However, your head is most likely still swirling with all the things you would like to say. As a result, you can still end up not hearing what your partner is really saying. Fortunately, there is a technique called reflection which can help you “force” yourself to really listen.
Basically, the technique is really simple. All you need to do is rephrase what the other person said. However, you have to make sure that you don’t do it too much. Otherwise, it would seem like you’re mocking your partner rather than exerting an effort to fully understand what they’re trying to say.
Be honest and open with your significant other
If you have difficulty opening up to others, communicating well with your partner can become truly challenging. However, you have to remember that for a relationship to thrive, you need to be open and honest. Little lies can turn to big ones. Pretending everything is okay even when you’re not happy is not alright. And giving your partner the silent treatment is useless and will not achieve anything.
At all times, be open and honest with your partner. Let the other person know what it is that’s on your mind without censoring anything. It would also help if you lay your cards on the table and not sugar coat anything. While you are risking being vulnerable, you are also doing something that will benefit the relationship in the long-term.
Pay attention to your partner’s nonverbal cues
For communication to be truly effective, you need to make sure what you are saying is congruent with your nonverbal cues. For instance, your significant other might find it hard to believe you are willing to listen and ready to understand when your arms are folded and your facial expression is stern.
Learn how to accurately read into your partner’s nonverbal signals. It will take patience and time but the more you do it, the more attuned you will be to what they really want to say. For example:
- Lack of eye contact can mean they are not ready to talk about something or they are not interested in what you have to say.
- An aggressive and louder tone can mean the other party is emotionally charged up and more involved. It can also suggest they don’t feel like they are heard or understood.
- If your partner turns their back on you, it can mean they are closed off or disinterested
Communicating effectively in a relationship will entail a significant degree of self-awareness and an objective understanding of the other person’s personality and communication style. If you feel like you are not getting through, it might be high time to rethink your communication style and tailor it to match your needs and that of your partner’s.