When you and your partner experience obstacles such as anger, money problems, or lack of physical or emotional intimacy, the ability to communicate is vital. These tips will aid in communicating more effectively with your partner and make your relationship stronger, more honest and open. These tips can make a difference between a productive conversation and an unnecessary argument.
1. Don’t Reply. The hardest part of being a good listener is fighting the temptation to offer your opinions while your partner is speaking. They are taking a courageous step to initiate a discussion about your relationship problems and you want to focus on being the listener and on your loved one’s message. If you are upset by what your partner says, reserve your response until they are finished speaking. Any words or gestures to show your opinion is not allowed, and that includes inappropriate body language, facial expressions, signs and grunts! After all, a healthy relationship is wanting your partner to extend the same courtesy to you once it is your turn to speak.
2. Don’t go on and on. We are all guilty of delivering lengthy monologues to our partners. Unbeknownst to us, our partner may be tuning us out. To help our partner listen actively, important relationship advice would be to deliver your message in bite-size, manageable pieces. If you have the habit of delivering monologues, give our partner a breather to make sure he or she understands you.
3. Use Calming Words. Conversation Inserts are more than random additions to discussions, they are positive statements incorporated into a message to your partner to make sure you infuse positivity to any talk with your partner. When you and your partner are embroiled in a heated discussion, and neither of you have an exit strategy, throw in a Conversation insert and warm up the conversation by shifting into a more positive tone. Conversation inserts will not solve your problem, but they will deflate the tension in the conversation so you and your partner can return to the discussion with cooler heads. It will help to enter discussions with a more positive frame of mind.
4. Speak for yourself. Talk about your thoughts, feelings and concerns; not your perceptions of the Listener’s point of view or motives. Try to use “I” statements, and talk about your own point of view and feelings, “I was upset when you forgot our date night,” is an “I” statement. “I think you don’t care about me” is not.
5. Don’t’ be vague. Provide your partner information; the specific behavior, the context in which it occurs, how you feel when it happens and the opportunity to correct it. This is highly preferable to the typical alternative—a vague description of the problem that, when blurted out, can sound like character defamation.
When difficult issues come up use these 5 tips that can prevent misunderstanding and escalation of an argument. This relationship advice will help you assert your needs and feel heard and help to create a healthy relationship.
If you are interested in learning more about communicating better in your relationship, the Relationship Suite can help. Our counselors are experienced in helping couples work through communication issues that may negatively affect your relationship. Contact us today to set up a complimentary consultation.
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