No relationship begins with perfect communication skills, but taking the time to learn how to communicate with your partner can save much time and stress, keeping your relationship healthy and happy. Once the Honeymoon phase is over, couples tend to bicker more. If a relationship is formed from 1 or two poor communicators, the end results can be dismal, resulting in resentment, anger, or even a breakup.
While learning how to communicate can be difficult, there are some simple principles that you can begin to implement in your relationship that will begin to improve your communication skills. Sit down with your partner (or send them this article to discuss later), and go over these guidelines together to ensure that both parties are being heard, accepted, and loved correctly.
1. Don’t Panic. Get ready to grow.
Some people immediately panic at the first sign of an argument. Panicking because of a disagreement is not good, it shuts down our ability to apply rationale to the situation, and our emotional wall goes right up. In any relationship, there will be items that partners will disagree on, argue about, and have to sort out.
Take a deep breath, and look at the situation as an opportunity to learn more about your partner’s needs. Know that once you get past this disagreement, you will have the knowledge and skills that you need to love each other better. A calm mindset, rooted in love for your partner, is where you should ground yourself at all times – but especially when you do not see eye-to-eye. An argument is really just an opportunity to learn more about each other’s needs, it is always an opportunity for growth.
2. Speak out of Love, Not Anger
We should be able to express any of our feelings, desires, or needs in a loving way. No matter what you need to say, there is a way to phrase it that will effectively communicate your thoughts without offending your partner and making their guard go up. When our guards are up, it’s extremely difficult to grow together. It’s important that both parties feel brave enough to be emotionally vulnerable, trusting their partner not to hurt them. Never abuse this trust, and always speak out of love, even if the message is less than wonderful.
Instead of getting angry and yelling, try to explain the reasons behind your anger, while assuring your partner that his or her love is your number one priority. For example,
“It makes me feel unsupported when you hang out with Bob even after he said untrue things about me to the rest of our friends. I love you so much, and if anyone did that to you, I would not want to be friends with them anymore. I want you to always feel loved and supported, and I expect you to look out for me in the same way.”
After you express your feelings, you have to really listen while they express their feelings in return. If it’s not what you want to hear, don’t freak out. Keep communicating until you both understand each other. If you have a tendency to speak out of anger, try writing down your feelings and rephrasing them. We often speak out of anger when we are really just hurt and sad.
3. Offer solutions
There’s no reason to argue about an issue unless you are going to look for solutions. Always remember that it’s you and your partner against the problem, not one of you against the other. If you are just arguing with each other to argue, nobody will win. The goal should be to find a solution. When you clearly state the problem, and you both brainstorm solutions until you find a compromise that works for both parties, you both win!
4. Give Positive Feedback
Our words matter so much, and it’s vital that we say the right things in the right way to grow a healthy relationship. Giving your partner lots of positive feedback will build trust and will make them feel loved, so when you do have some less-than-positive feedback to give them, it doesn’t hurt as bad or scare them as much.
Sometimes we get caught in a cycle of only sharing negative feedback and not appreciating or acknowledging each other for the various little positive things that happen all the time. These little daily things make up our relationships, they are the reasons why you are with each other, the literal reasons that you love each other!
Spread the love multiple times a day. “You look so handsome today.” You can say that 7 days a week, who gets tired of hearing positive feedback? “I love when you cook for me, thank you so much”, “You’re such a good listener, I love you”, “You are so intelligent, and I’m so grateful we can have such in-depth conversations together,” “Thank you for taking out the trash earlier, those little things mean so much to me,” Let them know what you appreciate about them.
It’s easy to try to make your partner happy by taking them special places, buying them gifts, and other grand gestures, but at the end of the day, these will not save a relationship. Small, positive affirmations can really make a foundation of love and adoration for each other, and it won’t matter if you’re in Paris or on your couch at home.
6. Ask How You Can Help
If you can sense that your partner is frustrated or unhappy, you can’t just ignore it and hope that the problem goes away. Ask them what is wrong. Ask what you can do to help, even if it has nothing to do with you!
If your partner is struggling at work, you may be able to help them by ensuring that they have a nice meal every evening, or maybe they would like to talk to you about the details of the problem but are scared to ask because they don’t want to bore you. Especially if your partner is not a good communicator, you must ask them to share their thoughts, feelings, needs, and opinions with you, or else they won’t. They will just hold all of that in and get increasingly frustrated or resentful, leading to a blow-up down the road. It is their responsibility to try to communicate better, but it should be your goal to assist them as much as possible.
Learning and practicing good communication is not easy, but knowing how to effectively communicate in your relationship is an invaluable skill. Once you are communicating in a healthy way, you will actually grow closer to one another during hardships and disagreements, and you will learn how to love each other better on a daily basis.
Be forgiving and loving while you learn to communicate with your partner. Nobody is perfect, and we will say things that hurt each other sometimes. A simple apology and a verbal reminder that you did not mean to hurt, only love them, can heal many wounds.