When it comes to most things, communicating makes them better. A problem at work, an issue with the haircut you’ve just had, a disagreement with your Mon? Talk it through.
Even when it seems like the most difficult and least tempting thing to do, I promise you it makes things better. So when you consider how much of an impact your relationship can have on your life, it is vital that you learn to communicate with your partner.
Nothing good has ever come from second-guessing, making assumptions, keeping things in or misunderstanding someone.
Of all the relationships I’ve helped, so much of what I advise is first about finding ways to communicate and then issue, or issues, in question can be so much more easily addressed.
Firstly, here is what communication isn’t;
– A big deal
– A competition
– Always about the ‘big stuff.’
So how can you do it better? It feels so good when you and your partner can communicate effectively, and you can become so good at doing it that you don’t realize that what you’re doing is helping you as much as it is.
Here are six tips for tweaking your communication skills in your relationship;
1) Size doesn’t matter
Chatting through your theories of ‘Game of Thrones’ or having a debate about which is your favorite dried herb in the spice rack may seem pointless, but it goes a long way.
It can make you as close to your partner as those big in-depth chats we have from time to time.
An American psychoanalyst named Harry Stack Sullivan developed what he called ‘detailed inquiry’ in which he suggested a relationship therapist gather details and information about every aspect of their client’s life, from their preferred order at McDonald’s to the reason they chose briefs over boxers.
Knowing this stuff about your partner makes you closer because nearly nobody else will know that.
So if you don’t entertain the small stuff, you are missing out – plus how do you hope to talk about the big things if you can’t chat about who would be better in bed between Wilma Flintstone or Betty Rubble?
2) Open your ears
It may sound so obvious, but the need to felt heard by your partner is vital. But more than that, it is the need to felt understood. Anyone can nod and smile in the right places, but try saying things that take your listening to ‘active listening.’
That is, saying things like ‘baby, just so I know I’ve got this right, what you’re saying is…’that hadn’t occurred to me but thank you for making it clear. I understand what you mean’. If you feel the need to interrupt them, be sure you ask if it is OK to do so, ‘sorry may I ask you a question?’ Goes such a long way.
3) Touching is touching
Communication isn’t just verbal. Part of a useful conversation with your partner is the physical elements of the exchange. This doesn’t mean sex. It means holding a hand as you talk, it means touching an arm when you make the critical point you are trying to get across. Physical contact creates a closeness that words can’t always achieve.
4) Find your way to do it
However it comes out, it is essential that it does come out. In an ideal world, everyone would be comfortable and confident enough to tackle big issues as and when they come up and without much hesitation.
But this is not always so straightforward for a lot of people. So if you find that channels of communication with your partner are opened up by emails or notes on the mirror after a shower, then do it. Whatever if takes to get the conversation going.
The voice messenger facility on What’s App is an excellent tool for communication as you are still verbalizing your thoughts, but it’s less intense than a phone call and allows for your true feelings to emerge more easily.
WARNING: conversations may be started in whatever way you find works for you, but they should be concluded face to face. A text message is saying ‘I’ve taken $6000 from the savings for a holiday with the girls’ isn’t cool.
5) Every day is a school day
This goes such a long way. Which sounds better?
Scenario A) You fight because he came home and finished off some work, but you thought you were going to the gym together. He thought you weren’t going until later so he got out his laptop without saying a word and it made him look like he forgot. You were sick of him forgetting about plans you’ve made, so things got heated.
Scenario B) last time you made evening plans the time was unclear so this time you make it obvious when you think you’d be going to the gym. In return, he sends you a text before he gets home to say he’s got a few bits to finish before he can clock off correctly for the evening.
Yes, B sounds better than A. So when A happens, remember it so you can do B next time.
6) Big chats don’t need to be about the serious stuff
‘We need to talk’ sounds like something big is about to go down. But talking doesn’t have to mean great heavy chats.
Taking time to compliment your partner, or acknowledge their role in the relationship will mean the world and makes talking a more regular part of what you two are about. ‘I know I’ve been a bit distant of late while all this stuff has been going on at work, but thank you for your support it means a lot.’
By making statements like this, you will feel closer as a couple and talk becomes less stressful when it is about more potentially heated topics because you are familiar with communicating.