It takes two to tango? everyone knows that. So why do we insist on not acknowledging that when it comes to communication? Without talking about things there is no way we can reach a middle ground on any issue, yet many couples are afraid to communicate with each other for fear of ‘damaging’ their relationship.
Here’s how you can improve your communication as a couple.
Most people listen with the intent to respond. You need to learn how to listen with the intent to listen. It’s a skill many people have no mastered. If you’re already thinking of a reply while someone else is talking, you’re not really listening to what they are saying, so learn to put aside your thoughts for a few moments while you actually consider what it is they are saying, and what they mean by it.
2. Put aside your opinions
When listening to someone’s point of view during a heated conversation, it’s hear what they say but not really absorb it as we’re so caught up in our own opinion. What you end up hearing is what you ‘want’ to hear, and is not necessarily what they actually said. Tackle this by absorbing what was said, and possibly repeating it to them, to make sure your understanding of what they said is not clouded by your own opinion.
3. Be honest
A strong relationship requires honesty, and it is a key factor in developing strong communication channels. It may be uncomfortable to reveal the darkest parts of yourself to someone else, but it allows you to move forward as a couple, on the same page.
4. Non-verbal clues are important too
The more you get to know each other, the better you will recognize the non-verbal clues you give off. Learn to recognize what actions like lack of eye contact or folded arms means, and you will be able to pick up on the sub-text of the conversation much better.
5. Stay focused
Don’t bring older issues into a conversation that has nothing to do about them. When you sit down to talk about something, try and keep all conversation centered on it. This is not the time to bring in the fact that your husband has never picked up his towels off the floor? unless that’s what you’re discussing to begin with. Otherwise you’ll keep going in circles and end up frustrated with the lack of progress in reaching a resolution.
6. Try to keep emotion out of it
It’s easy to get emotional when talking about life-altering decisions, but once one partner gets emotional, the other one will too. And emotional people cannot make rational decisions. Try and keep emotions out of difficult conversations by focusing on the facts.
7. Be willing to back off
There are times when you will not agree on something. Instead of forcing one person to admit they were ‘wrong’, sometimes it is better to value the relationship more than a ‘win’ and just back off. You will not agree on everything, and it is better not to force some issues.
Communication is about more than just talking. When communicating, both parties need to be aware of each other’s feelings and try and listen to what is being said before responding. Try and get on the same page with open communication and you will see your relationship thrive.