Effective communication is crucial for a successful relationship. It is not only a way to express concern; when done properly, it also conveys your love, commitment and trust for one another. Healthy communicating takes place frequently and openly. It may be challenging when in the moment, but it’s important to learn how to communicate if you want to create and maintain a serene relationship.
The goal of communicating is to be happy, not to be right.
1. Make time. Communication should be treated as an ongoing necessity in every relationship. Simple exchanges about the course of your day, feelings and thoughts are vital for relating and staying in tune with your partner. These frequent acts of connecting demonstrate compassion and promote unity.
2. Aim for face-time. In the era of advanced modes of digital communication, many couples have forgotten the value and intimacy of face-to-face interaction. When you need to discuss difficult topics aim to have the dialogue in person, rather than through text message, e-mail or social media. Face-to-face dialogue prevents a possible misperception of feelings and tones.
3. Stop distractions. When it’s time to communicate with your partner shut out anything that disrupts your role of listening. Silence cellphones, power off TV’s, laptops and video games. Getting away from these distractions will show your partner that your relationship is not an option, but a priority that requires consideration and effort.
4. Mind your body and your tone. Body language and tone express a message of their own. A raised voice, cutting eye, folded arms, or slumped posture can shut down the lines of productive communication. Make sure your body language is open and inviting. Make sure your tone is empathetic and gentle.
5. Use “I” statements. Communicating with your partner is not an opportunity for you to attack them. “You never help me with dinner!” versus “I sometimes feel overwhelmed when you don’t help me with dinner.” Utilizing “I” statements will help prevent the use of an accusatory tone and impact how your partner interprets your views. Speak with, not at.
6. LISTEN! Contrary to popular belief, talking does not constitute constructive communication – LISTENING does, and it is by far the most important tool for effective communication. Listening is not hearing. Hearing refers to sound. Listening is concentrating on the message, the delivery, and body language – verbal and non-verbal observation. Receive, restate, and clarify what your partner is saying before communicating your points. There is always a solution for those who listen.
Written by Brianna Colbert, MA, LLPC.