Communication is the act of transferring information from one person to another. It sounds simple, but communication is actually a very complex subject, especially between couples. Lack of communication in a relationship creates distance and brings problems.
Because when partners don’t communicate enough, they can’t express their feeling to solve the problems. Which is can bring negativity and misunderstanding, and eventually lead to conflicts.
Why do relationships fail due to lack of communication?
Let me give you one situation.
Today is your important day, and you’re expecting your partner to give you a call. But he didn’t remember to call you. At the same time, you didn’t want to call or text him for a reminder because you already upset with him.
Meanwhile, your partner assumes that your silence means that everything is fine.
See? Both of you are on the wrong page. You tend to make an assumption than telling your partner your true feeling. This is not okay because it can lead to misunderstanding. Misunderstanding creates a negative feeling, while a negative feeling creates a negative reaction. Lastly, it may end up with a breakup.
Importance of communication in relationships
Communicate effectively in a relationship is the key to positive social interaction. After all, humans are social beings, we relate to each other to nourish our minds and soul. Our mind and soul condition correlated with the relationship.
A lack of communication will lead to a negative relationship, which is can deplete our minds and souls’ energy.
In a nutshell, the quality in any relationship basically comes down with the quality of the communication. Learning to communicate effectively in a relationship can reduce stress and conflicts, at the same time, it makes your relationship healthy, happy, and successful.
7 Ways to improve communication in a relationship
The good news is, it’s never too late to improve how you communicate with your partner, even after you’ve been married for 20 years. Here is the list that can give you a better idea of how to communicate with your partner.
1- Learn to be an active listener
Everyone wants to be heard when they talk, it gives you a feeling of connection to one another. Give your partner a chance to talk or voice out what they want to share with you. Whatever the case may be, hear them out. If not you’ll never know the root of the problem.
One of the listening skill techniques is called “active listening“. This listening technique is not only acknowledged what your partner said with a nod of your head. But also understand what is being said.
Understanding means that you actually engaged and interested in what your partner communicating (in a proper way, I will discuss more about this below). Don’t just sit silently for the sake of listening, do involve interruptions for clarification or even disagreements.
Ask a question if you don’t understand. Ask something that clearly relates to clarifying’s your partner topic. Before you want to interrupt, be sure to ask your partner’s permission. If you disagree with the topic of conversation, wait until they finished talking before you expressed your disagreement.
2- Listen to understand instead of listening to respond
Most of us didn’t realize that we are usually listening to respond. We’re are not really “listening” when we listen to respond. Why? Because our mind busies thinking about what we need to respond to when our partner finishes talking.
By doing this, you will be more focused to voice out your argument. You want to tell them a story from your side. Most likely you don’t really care about what your partner is saying. So your partner also will be on the defensive state.
On the other hand, if you do listen to understand what your partner is trying to say, you will prioritize yourself hearing the input. This kind of listening is what you need if you want to communicate effectively with your partner.
3- Ask questions and don’t assume the answer
When you communicate with your partner, try not to labeling or interpreting them. If you really not sure about something, ask them. Don’t afraid to ask any question, each question can give you better information and clarify what they are telling you.
Give them a chance to talk or explain the situation clearly. An argument usually comes from hidden emotions. Control your emotion and express them in a non-judgmental way.
4- Don’t accuse your partner
If you having any issues with your partner, be conscious and don’t start to blame your partner. Blaming your partner means that you start attacking him/her. Believe me, they will pick up on that and start being defensive, and nothing can be gain if this happens.
5- Use the word “I” rather than “YOU”
Have you ever realize that it’s easy to using “you” when you talk with your partner especially in an argument. As an example, during the argument you will start with:
“You make me do this, do that…”
“You never help me with housework..”
“You didn’t ….”
Instead, you can try to start the conversation with the word “I”, which is to describe your feeling. You’re not criticizing your partner’s behavior, you just simply share your own emotion and reaction. As an example:
“I feel hurt when…”
“I am sad…”
“I feel like we …”
“I was hurt…”
It actually tackles the same issues in a softer way. By doing this, your partner will be less defensive and hopefully, it’s can improve your relationship.
6- Be patient
It sounds simple, but it’s actually not that simple. Agree?
When you communicate with your partner, try to give your partner some space for them to share their own opinion. Don’t simply interrupt the conversation. Because when they are not ready to listen, your message will not be heard, regardless of how well you communicate.
Let’s go back to point no. 2, understand what they are trying to say first, then have your turn. You both deserved to be heard.
Plot twist, what should you do if your partner love to interrupt your conversation? Be patient, relax, do not try to over-talk that person or triumph over how you never interrupt. Instead, be courteous and allow them to speak, eventually, they will respond likewise.
If they are not, point out to them that they are interrupting the communication process.
7- Focus on the solution, not the problem
Every problem is like a big door, and a solution is key to open the door. Find that key, not complain about how big the door can be.
“We cannot solve our problem with the same thinking that created them.” – Albert Einstein
Most of the communication issue occurs is simply because of one or both of them more focused on the problem rather than coming up with the idea on how to solve the problem.
As an example, you have a conversation with your partner to express the fact that they like to wasting money on unnecessary things. If you just complain about the problem and attacking them because of their “bad habit”, you’ll get nowhere.
Try to change it for something like this, communicate your idea for a solution with an attempt. Maybe you can start the conversation:
“Well, perhaps we could try to….”
“What if I did this …, and you did….”
“Would you love to try….”
Softly offer a solution rather than directly ask them “You need to stop wasting money!” are way better. You’re showing him/her that you care about them and your relationship.
In a conclusion, good communication can improve your relationship. It can bring your relationship to a whole new level. BUT, it must go both ways! If you’re the only one who puts all the effort to be a good communicator, and your partner doesn’t, it’s simply won’t work.
You need to know when to throw the towel. If your partner was not willing to give an effort to solve the problem, how do you suppose to solve the problem?
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