Couples are often surprised to learn that communication issues are the true reason why their relationship is floundering. Constant bickering, failure to meet expectations, and concerns that go unheard, can all generate hurt feelings that interfere with the love you share. It is also common for couples to lose sight of each other when their busy lives result in conversations regarding general topics, like what to eat for dinner. Fortunately, our relationship experts are eager to share their favorite tips that will help you to improve your relationship by learning how to communicate effectively.
Avoid Thinking About Your Next Response
In relationship counseling for couples, one of the first things people learn is the importance of truly listening. While you may think that you are listening to your partner, the truth is that most people spend half of their attention on planning their response. Or, you may be distracted by only one part of what they say. During your next conversation, try staying truly focused on what your partner is saying. You will likely be surprised by how much information you would have missed if you had been thinking about other things.
Practice Restating Their Point
Reflecting your partner’s feelings is one of our favorite relationship communication tips. Although you don’t want to overuse this method, simply rephrasing what your partner just said will allow for more clarity while making them feel heard. This strategy also forces you to really listen to what is being said, and it gives your partner the opportunity to clear up any potential misunderstandings right away.
Focus on a Specific Topic
Sure, date night conversations may jump all over the place as you catch each other up on work, the kids, and your interests. However, serious issues may need to be discussed in planned conversations that deal with only that one topic. Relationship counselors online will often try to stick with working on one issue during a session. This allows both of you to delve deeper as you share your feelings and work on a resolution. Making sure the conversation doesn’t veer off-topic also makes it possible to avoid falling prey to negative communication tactics, such as bringing up the past.
Pay Attention to Body Language
Effective communication involves so much more than just the words that you say. Couples therapists recommend being aware of how your partner may perceive your tone of voice or facial expressions. For example, crossing your arms in front of you makes you appear closed off or angry. Yet, sitting next to your partner conveys the idea that you are on the same team. Being aware of how your body language influences the conversation will ensure that you project the right impression.
Be Specific About What You Want
Sometimes arguments arise due to misunderstandings about the desired outcome from the conversation. For example, you may simply want to vent about something that happened at work, but your partner begins to offer advice that makes you feel insulted. To avoid this, try leading into your conversation with cues for your partner. Saying that you just want to get something off your chest will let them know you’d rather vent, while saying that you need their help will then clue them in that you are asking for advice.
Whether you are in a new relationship and still learning each other’s communication style or have tired of rehashing the same issues for years, making an effort to improve the way you talk to each other pays off in a deeper level of understanding. Our relationship experts here at Cuppls have even more healthy relationship tips that can help you begin to truly listen and share your innermost feelings. While it does take time to change old patterns, learning to communicate in online couples therapy will transform your relationship.