Communication is vital to having a healthy relationship
Relationships are hard work. Communication is vitally important to any relationship, particularly romantic ones. If communication breaks down, then it becomes difficult to resolve problems, and if problems are not being resolved, then the relationship becomes endangered. It’s a vicious cycle. To prevent this from happening to you, here are 10 easy tips on keeping the lines of communication open in your relationship.
1. First and foremost, you need to be open and honest about what it is you’re looking for and what it is you want. That means you have to be honest not only with your partner, but yourself as well.
2. Do not assume. Don’t assume that your partner knows what you want. Men, especially, have been known not to take hints very well. You must be direct with your requests. You cannot expect someone to read your mind.
3. Instead of complaining about what you don’t like, try another approach. Rephrase your complaint so that you’re sharing what it is you like or what you would enjoy your partner doing. For example, instead of saying, “You never help me clean up the house,” you could say, “It would make me so happy/much less stressed if you helped me keep this place clean.” Communication becomes even more important when dealing with conflict situations. Disagreements can turn into full-blown arguments with neither one of you fully understanding where it went wrong, which leads me to my next tip.
4. Listening is an essential piece of the communication puzzle. Listen to what the other person has to say and practice the technique of mirroring. Mirroring is something I learned about in one of my own couple’s counseling sessions — you repeat back to the other person what it is you heard from them. This helps the other person see that you are paying attention to what they have to say and it also provides you the opportunity to make sure there are no misunderstandings or misinterpretations on your part.
5. It is important to get rid of your need to be right. If you are so focused on trying to prove your point in a communication situation, then you are not paying attention to the other person’s point of view.
6. Be empathetic. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This may help you better understand where he or she is coming from.
7. “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you.” This is not true; words do hurt. If you are angry, take a few minutes (and a few deep breaths) to calm down before you start spewing words and calling names that you will possibly regret later. Not only will you keep yourself from hurting someone else, you will have a clearer mind and will hopefully be better able to express yourself in the situation.
8. Try not to be judgmental. If you are too critical in your relationship, you may leave your partner feeling as though he or she cannot come to you in times of need or when they need comforting.
9. Social media has become a pervasive aspect of our daily lives. With this in mind, you should not use social media, email or texts to discuss major issues regarding your relationship unless it is the only way you can communicate. Reserve time to talk face to face when communication is needed concerning important relationship matters.
10. Try to refrain from being defensive when communicating with your partner. It might be hard to hear certain things about yourself, but if you resolve to be open minded you may learn something that could possibly benefit you and your relationship in the long run.