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How to communicate with your partner, effectively.

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Communication is a prerequisite for any healthy relationship. We’re familiar with the fact that communication makes relationships work and where two people in a relationship have not mastered the art of communitating with each other, they are bound to fail. Open, honest and good communication is an essential part of a healthy partnership. Effective communication with your partner can be challenging. To understand your partner and to be understood by them takes time effort and attention.

People think that verbal communication is the only form of communication in a relationship. However, body language, understanding and trust all contribute to an effective communication between partners. Effective communication requires practicing the skills of listening and the expression of thoughts and feelings. It is much more than talking, as communication consists of verbal messages (what you say), contextual issues (how you say it) and emotional tone (why you say it).

LISTENING

Listening is the single most important communication skill as it is the best way to understand your partner. A good listener does more than just hear words; they interpret emotions, behaviors, and respond appropriately. But, how does one become a good listener?

A good listener pays attention to his/her partner’s words and feelings, the action of which sends a clear message: ‘You are important to me.’ It shows caring and increases the likelihood that your partner will continue sharing their feelings. When listening to your partner, encourage them to talk about what they find important. In the event that you do not agree with their statements, continue to listen without judgment or placing blame. Remember that good listening does not include defensiveness, therefore, do not use this as an opportunity to attack your partner. Good listening can be the key to defusing current and preventing future problems that could arise in a couple’s relationship.

Listening requires that you pay attention to the tone of voice, facial expression, eye contact, and physical gestures of your partner. It is important to focus on nonverbal examples of feelings as well as the spoken words. It is easy to be careless and assume

that you know what the other person means. Some pretend to listen while doing something else, while others clearly display that they have zoned-out mentally. In order to break these habits, you cannot focus on what to say next or make comparisons to what your partner said in the past. Give them your full attention and take time to think before you respond.

It may be difficult to change poor listening habits, but it is possible. Improving communication is worth the effort as listening to your partner is probably the best way to show care and concern.

AS SPEAKERS

Using negative words, phrases, and body language often causes misinterpretations and discourages good listening. When speaking, it is important to use positive (or neutral) words, phrases, and body language to encourage open and attentive listeners. Many assume that their partner knows their needs, feelings, and opinions even though they’ve never actually been verbalised. All too often, that’s just not the case: having the expectation that your partner can read your mind sets both of you up for negative results i.e hurt, disappointment, misunderstandings. Do you want to avoid this common communication mistake? If so, the solution is simple: State your thoughts as clearly, honestly, and positively as you can.

Don’t avoid talking about something because you are afraid of what your partner will think. Focus on how something is affecting you. Try not to blame or criticize your partner while you are expressing yourself. Don’t use statements like ‘Unlike you, I…’,

or ‘It is because of you that,’ such statements will undermine any efforts at healthy communication.

HEALTHY COMMUNICATION

Consider the following points for healthy communication:

  • If something is bothering you and you want to discuss it with your partner, try to find the right time for it. Discuss it when you and your partner are calm and not stressed.
  • Communicating face-to-face should always be preferred over communicating via texting or emails. These nonverbal mediums can lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
  • Be honest with your partner and yourself. Admit when you are at wrong and apologise instead of making excuses.
  • You need to consider your body language when your partner is discussing anything with you. Give full attention and make an eye contact with them while communicating. Avoid using the mobile phone or watching the TV when your partner is trying to communicate with you.
  • If your partner does anything which hurts you or makes you angry, share that with them. If you can’t, then try to forget about it instead of holding a grudge.

Open communication helps in building trust and making your relationship healthier and happier. Healthy communication helps in maintaining relationships easily.When both partners are familiar with the thoughts and feelings of each other, it is the sign of openness and freedom in the relationship. Communication is the only way to understand the person you are interested in and pave the way to maintain a healthy relationship.

In good times and bad, couples need each other. Good communication does not mean that your family won’t have any problems, or that your partner will always like what you have to say. Good communication means the chances of solving problems are much higher if you and your partner can express yourselves openly and freely with each other.

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