Communication is a big part of relationships but it can be the source of many heartaches and issues in a relationship.
In a recent on-line article, 10 Steps to Effective Couples Communication, Psychology Today maps out a road any couple can follow. You just have to be facing the right direction!
- Get comfortable – find a place that helps you feel at ease and is more neutral. Having a possible contentious discussion in bed, for instance, is not optimal.
- Give your partner your full attention – turn off all technology, make eye contact, and lean toward your mate to show you are interested.
- Look at your partner and make eye contact – no need for a stare down, but you want to avoid looking beyond your mate or at as if you’re distracted.
- Open up with an “I” statement that takes the pressure off your partner – this is a way to show responsibility for your own feelings rather than caving into the temptation to blame your mate.
- Ask an open-ended question that invites your partner to share – questions like “Tell me more about …?” or “What else happened …?” rather than “Did you like …?” that invite a yes/no answer.
- Don’t interrupt – as difficult as it might feel, wait for a natural space in the conversation to say what you would like to say, while remembering that listening is not waiting to talk.
- Reflect back to your partner what you think he/she is saying – without repeating back word for word, let your mate know you have heard the core message. Doing this might just give you a different perspective.
- When the two of you are in the room, realize there is a third party with you – your relationship – when speaking to one another, remember that words matter. You may not only be hurting your partner, but also hurting the relationship.
- When you and your mate are trying to solve a problem, communicate your ideas with ease – for example, proposing an idea by saying, “I’m wondering if you’d be open to the idea of …” or “What do you think of this idea?” can be heard much better than a strong piece of advice.
- Keep the communication flowing – be present to your mate by proving you hear him or her. If you need clarification, ask for it.