It is well known that communication is the foundation of any strong relationship. When partners can communicate effectively, they are better able to understand each other, resolve conflict, and build intimacy.
However, communication can be difficult, especially when partners have different communication styles or when they are dealing with conflict. If you’re looking to improve communication with your partner, here are some tips:
- Understand your own communication style. What is your natural way of communicating? Are you direct or indirect? Do you prefer to talk about your feelings or do you tend to bottle things up?
- Learn your partner’s communication style. How does your partner prefer to communicate? Are they direct or indirect? Do they like to talk about their feelings or do they prefer to avoid conflict?
- Find a common ground. Once you understand your own and your partner’s communication styles, you can start to find a common ground. This means finding ways to communicate that work for both of you. Think about how your different, or even similar communication styles might keep you stuck? Speak to your partner about the differences in your communication styles and think together about how you can move past any blocks these may create.
- Be respectful. Even if you disagree with your partner, it’s important to be respectful of their opinions and feelings. This means avoiding name-calling, insults, and other forms of verbal abuse.
- Be present. When you’re communicating with your partner, avoid distractions such as your phone or the TV. Make eye contact and give them your full attention so they know you are listening.
- Listen actively. Pay attention to what your partner is saying, both verbally and non-verbally. If you are unsure, ask questions to clarify what they’re saying. You can check you understand by reflecting back what you’ve heard to make sure you understand. This will show genuine interest in and concern for your partners needs.
- Use “I” statements. “I” statements are a way of communicating that helps to avoid blaming or accusing your partner. Instead of saying “You always do this,” try saying “I feel hurt when you do that.”
- Be open to feedback. If your partner gives you feedback, try to listen without getting defensive. Ask them to explain what they mean and how you can improve your communication. Be willing to make changes based on their feedback. If the feedback is difficult to hear ask for 5 minutes out to gather your thoughts and process what is going on for you before resuming the conversation.
- Be willing to compromise. No two people are exactly alike, so it’s important to be willing to compromise. This doesn’t mean giving up on your own needs, but it does mean being willing to meet your partner halfway.
- Seek professional help if needed. If you’re struggling to improve your communication, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. A therapist can help you learn new communication skills and resolve any underlying issues.
Improving communication with your partner takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. When you can communicate effectively, you’ll build a stronger, more fulfilling relationship.
If you are looking for a therapist to support you and your partner then you will find one here on our UK Counsellors Directory, Click here to search.