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 bring 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 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 mind 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 on 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 technique 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 related to clarifying what’s your partner topic. Before you want to interrupt, be sure to ask your partner permission. If you disagree with the topic or 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. You are not really listening when you listen to make a response. Why? Because your mind busies thinking about what you need to respond when your partner finishes talking.
You will be more focus to voice out your argument or tell them a story from your side. Most likely you don’t really care about what your partner saying and he/she also will be on the defensive state.
Otherwise, if you do listen to understand what your partner is saying, you will prioritize to hearing what they want to say. This kind of listening that you need, to communicate effectively in your relationship.
3- Ask a question 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 issue 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 in 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 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’s sound 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 about 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.
As 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 put 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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