9 Practices to Improve Communication in Your Relationship
It’s no secret that healthy communication plays a vital role in the health of your relationship. Whether you’ve been with your partner for one year or ten, there’s always room to improve communication in your relationship.
Below are nine practices to help you improve the communication in your relationship.
1. Stop making passive aggressive comments.
Nothing kills healthy conversation like passive aggressive comments. These comments can quickly make a conversation hostile. It’s important to address conflict early so you can prevent pent-up anger toward your partner.
Passive aggressive comments present themselves as jokes. You may joke about your spouse taking forever to get ready in the morning. Although it is “just a joke,” these comments can erode any progress toward healthy communication.
2. Learn how the other person communicates.
Take time to learn how your partner prefers to communicate. Do they actively avoid confrontation? Do they do better with face-to-face conversations?
Learn how and when your partner communicates. If your partner is a night owl, you might not want to have important conversations first thing in the morning. It’s important to consider their own rhythms when judging the effectiveness of your communication.
3. Openly communicate needs to your partner.
Lots of arguments start because of miscommunication. If you aren’t openly communicating your needs to your partner, he or she has no way to know exactly what you need. It isn’t reasonable to expect your partner to read your mind.
If you’re bothered by a certain behavior (like the fact they’re always late), communicate that concern openly. Tell him or her why being on time is so important to you. When you let them know what your needs (and wants) are, they can act on that information.
No matter how well you know your partner, neither of you can always know what the other is thinking. Communication is still important years into the relationship.
4. Learn to be present in conversations with your partner.
With so much technology at our fingertips, it’s easy to become distracted. Take some time to set aside all distractions and focus on conversation with your partner. Communication isn’t just about telling your partner what’s on your mind. Instead, it’s a two-way conversation where you must both talk and listen.
There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Could you give me one minute to send this message so I can give you my full attention?” This is a sign that your relationship is both healthy and a priority. It’s better to wait a minute and give full attention to your partner than to only half listen to what he or she has to say.
5. Don’t say things you’ll regret later.
Arguments with a partner are never about who “wins” the argument. If you say something mean in the heat of an argument, no one has “won.” Instead, the critical words spoken can do serious damage to your partner.
When you argue, make sure you’re using words that communicate your point of view without tearing down your partner. Name-calling, profanity, baseless accusations, and critical words have no place in your relationship’s communication. Learn to express your feelings without being unnecessarily inflammatory.
6.Talk to your partner throughout the day.
Talking to your partner throughout the day isn’t just for the honeymoon stage of your relationship. Send small messages throughout the day to let your partner know you’re thinking about him or her.
You might ask them how work is going or send them a picture that made you think of them. This open communication allows you to build healthy lines of communication with your partner. Messages throughout the day are also a great way to build anticipation for longer conversations later on.
7. Eat meals together.
There’s something special about eating meals together. Put away your phones and turn off the TV during your mealtimes. Allow this to be a time to sit and talk to your partner while enjoying a meal.
Although these conversations may often be about mundane things, they’re a great opportunity to discuss important topics.
8. Never stop learning about your partner.
Learning about your partner isn’t just for the start of a relationship. You should continue learning about your partner throughout the relationship, even after you’ve been together for several years.
Our Conversation Starters Cards for Couples is a great way to guide those conversations. Even if you’ve known your partner for years, these questions can help you get to know them even better. The conversations sparked by get-to-know-you questions can help you gain a deeper understanding about who your partner is and what they like.
9. Invest in date nights.
It’s important to spend time doing something fun with your partner. Find activities you can both enjoy and spend time doing them. It may not be possible to have frequent date nights, especially if you have small children. However, your relationship’s communication will drastically improve if you spend leisure time together.
Date nights don’t have to be expensive or flashy. They can be as simple as getting takeout and watching a movie at home. Dates can break up the monotony of daily life and enrich your relationship.