Remember how easy everything seemed when you first got together with your partner. It felt like you had so much to discuss and easy flowing conversation could go on for hours without even realizing it. But often, the longer you stay a couple, it seemingly gets more difficult to communicate. Maybe it’s because you already know so much about each other, or it could be because of work, kids, and other worries are occupying your mind. The following article suggests some communication tips to get your relationship flowing once again.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
As we get older, with it comes more responsibilities. Balancing work and family obligations is stressful. It’s easy to misdirect that stress and blame others for things that aren’t always in our control. It might feel better at first to put the blame on your partner’s shoulders, but the truth is, in a relationship blame only serves to distance you. So here is a communication tip to keep in mind: in every conversation there doesn’t always have to be someone “right” and the other “wrong.” Often times it’s just a matter of perspective.
Keep it Calm
During or after an argument, it’s easy to say something out of frustration that you don’t really mean. You can’t completely eliminate arguments from your relationship. They are going to happen from time to time, and in some cases are even necessary. But what you can do is control the way you communicate during and after an argument.
While it’s tempting to want to discuss issues as they’re occurring, sometimes the best option is to step away and come back when emotions aren’t as heated. If an argument escalates, take a 10-minute break before returning to the conversation.
It’s All About Respect
Great communication is based in respect. Nobody wants to feel like they are being talked down to or ordered around. So how do you show respect? One of the best ways is to actively listen. Show that you actually care about what your partner is saying by making eye contact and staying engaged. So here is another communication tip to keep in mind: you don’t always have to agree, but if your partner is opening up to show you how they feel, you need to respect that vulnerability.
Stand in Your Partner’s Shoes
Communication revolves around being able to see your partner’s perspective. If you are coming up against a communication roadblock, try to take a moment to try to understand what your partner is experiencing. This helps you be less defensive as you communicate.
Take Turns Communicating
Remember a kid in school how you had to raise your hand before you spoke. It was a tool to keep order in the classroom and to set up an environment where when someone else was speaking everyone else was listening. It would be ridiculous to suggest that you need to raise your hand before speaking with your partner. Instead, utilize the idea behind this approach. Don’t interrupt. Know that there will be a turn for you to speak, too.
This often isn’t as easy as it seems. When communication gets heated, you both want to express yourselves and waiting for your partner to finish can feel almost impossible. If you are struggling with this consider working with a licensed therapist. Your therapist can keep your communication on track, offer additional communication skills, and act as a mediator while you and your partner take turns communicating.
Communicate Your Appreciation
When you first started dating you were always saying nice things to each other. Maybe you’d even buy each other gifts for no reason at all. But as our relationships age, sometimes the communicated appreciation gets taken for granted.
Remember this communication tip: make sure you are taking time to show how much you appreciate your partner. Even something as simple as a “thank you” can show how much you care. It’s so easy to focus on the issues that aren’t working in your relationship, but appreciative words and gestures helps to foster a more positive mentality.
Confirm What You Heard
What your partner says and what you actually hear aren’t always the same. Sometimes the meaning gets misconstrued. Your partner might mean one thing and you take it as something entirely different.
Take a moment to confirm what you heard back to your partner. A “I’m just making sure….” or an “I’m understanding that you mean….” statement can go a long way in making sure there is no confusion in your communication.
These communication tips are essential in all relationships. In fact, healthy and open communication might be the greatest contributing factor in keeping your relationship strong. If you are open to actively listening you’re already halfway there. Use the above tips to continue to improve your communication and watch the good things it will bring your relationship.