It comes as no news to you that communication is the foundation of a solid relationship, I know. That’s why you’ve gone out of your way to do some research the best couple communication exercises so that you can communicate more effectively with the one you love! It isn’t always the easiest thing and we often wind up in situations that could have been easily avoided if we had just known how to properly communicate what we wanted to say…
But that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world if you’re struggling with communication in your relationship a bit. Like anything, it can be learned and you can lay out a more solid foundation for your relationship. Because so many people ask me for couple communication exercises, I wanted to dedicate today’s article to the topic.
We learn different styles of communication as we are growing up, so it’s really not that common for couples to come across issues in this department.
The key to success lies in accepting to change your ways and working as a team to set up new patterns in your relationship. So let’s take a look at the best ways to improve communication between you and the one you love with a couple communication exercises!
The importance of communication in a couple should not be underestimated
When two people can’t seem to get on the same page, their relationship can quickly start to be undermined. It can feel like they aren’t even speaking the same language at times, and the more this happens, the further apart they will drift.
A common phenomenon that I see in the couples coaching sessions that I do is that one or both people involved inadvertently assume that the other person can read their mind. Something will have upset them, and they choose to not bring it up to their partner because “They should just know.”
Sure, if you’ve been together for a long time there are certainly some things that your partner should know how to anticipate. There are things that he or she should know to avoid if there has been a history of it you being upset by this action, but at the same time, assuming that a person “should just know” is pretty much a recipe for disaster.
The result is usually that frustrations get bottled up and end up exploding later on down the line when something trivial triggers them. This leaves the person who was upset feeling even more frustrated that it had to come to that and things wound up in a huge fight (again), and the other person is left feeling stupefied and caught off guard by the sequence of events. So, of course, the two of them are going to drift further apart.
It’s also true that a lot of people struggle with stress and anger management, and are more prone to blow up at their partner. This is something that definitely needs to be worked on so that you can preserve the friendship and complicity between the two of you. The more that this is undermined, the harder it will feel to communicate in a relationship.
In order for a relationship to have the right foundation for proper communication, both partners need to feel secure and confident that they are in a safe place where they can speak their mind. The moment a person starts to feel like they have to walk on eggshells, there is a problem.
Now, I know you’ve come to this article to find some couple communication exercises, so let’s get started!
Couple exercises for communication that you can start doing today
One of the common issues I take note of in my one on one, or couples coaching sessions is that everyone is so busy all the time. We have so much on our plates, we have so many responsibilities, our To Do list is a mile long, and it often feels like we don’t have time to nurture communication in our relationships. Oftentimes, we don’t even realize that that’s how we’re viewing the situation, but we subconsciously just don’t allocate time to our relationship because we just don’t feel like we have the time to make it a priority.
Well, I’ve been a love and relationship coach for quite a few years now and I can tell you that not making time for the relationship will cost you.
This actually reminds me of one of my clients, Lisa, who reached out to me about a year ago. She is a very successful insurance agent who lives in NYC, and she contacted me when she and her husband of fifteen years were on the verge of separating. He was overwhelmed by his job, he wasn’t happy with the way things were in his life, and he was closing himself off from her. The worst part was that when he did open up to her, he would blame her for things that weren’t her fault. She had no idea how to get him to talk to her about what was really going on so that they could find solutions together.
With time, she learned that he was unhappy with his life and felt that this relationship was becoming too much of a burden. He wanted time and space and didn’t know how to express that, so of course, when he didn’t get time and space, the tensions rose.
Lisa was convinced that she had already lost her soulmate and her best friend by the time she reached out to me, but she still was holding on to a glimmer of hope. I explained to her that she was not in the crisis that she thought that she was in; this was actually an opportunity to revamp the relationship and make it better than ever. The key was going to be working on his communication skills while they worked on working through the issues he was dealing with.
Her husband did not hate her, he just hated where he was in life and needed to work on communication and conflict resolution.
Like anything of value in this life, relationships require time and maintenance, and this brings me to my first piece of advice.
Couples activities for communication: Catch-up night
When it comes to communication exercises for couples, it’s important to note that sometimes you’re going to need to impose a time for yourselves when you’re going to be together and talk. So you can designate a “catch-up night” two times a week, for 15 to 30 minutes where you just fill each other in on what has happened in your independent lives during the week. The more you do this, the more natural it will feel to open up to each other about what you’ve had going on, what you felt, what you did, so on and so forth.
It’s all about creating new patterns in the relationship.
Communication exercises: Reflective listening
Another one of the exercises that we give our clients who are working on improving communication in their relationship is called “reflective listening.” It’s quite simple and it consists of paying attention to what your partner is telling you and then repeating it back to them.
“I understand. So what you’re saying is that you’d like for us to spend more time together.” That way, your partner feels heard and understood and you two can work together to find a solution to the issue at hand.
Communication and relationship building activities: The 15 minute rule
The hardest time to communicate properly is when one or both of you are upset. The next time an argument occurs, I encourage you to incorporate a 15 minute rule in which the couple separates for 15 minutes to really think about their stance regarding the issue, and then they reconnect and talk.
Giving yourselves a moment to take a step back, analyse and cool down can really help you to communicate better, even when tensions are running high.
Then give each other 3 to 5 minutes to really express themselves without being interrupted. You can even use a timer here.
Mirroring each other can help communication
This might sounds strange to you but people feel more connected to those who have the same mannerisms as they do. This can actually help your relationship if you mimic your partner’s body language, if you mimic their tone of voice (especially when it’s calm!), and their pace of conversation. By mirroring your partner, they will subconsciously feel relaxed and connected to you.
It’s a subtle thing, but it can make a pretty big difference in the atmosphere that you set.
Write each other notes
Another thing to try is writing each other notes during the week in which you are free to fully express yourself. This way, your partner can read the note several times before responding, and this can allow for you to feel heard without it transforming into an argument.
This is great for anyone who feels like they seize up or struggle with confrontation.
In addition to this, pay attention to the words you choose to use. Many people inadvertently use the word “You” very aggressively, and it makes their partner feel like they have to get defensive.
“You never want to hang out with me anymore!” Vs. “I miss spending time with you.” This little thing can make a world of difference. So if you’re talking about how to improve your relationship, don’t lead the conversation with words like “You” and “Have to understand.” Words like this suggest that your partner is at fault and is being criticized, which can easily give rise to an argument. Instead, try to explain how certain actions or situations make you feel.
Communication exercises in couples can transform your relationship
To summarize what I went over above, the best thing you can do to improve communication in your relationship is to practice active listening and work to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Designate specific times to catch up and discuss things, and don’t neglect speaking what’s on your mind. Just make sure that your words and your body language aren’t creating a hostile environment.
So pay attention to your tone of voice, the words you choose, your body language, and the pace of conversation. Both of you need to feel heard and understood and you can both work to create an environment where that happens naturally.
As always, we are here to help so please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us by clicking here. Each relationship is unique, so we can work together to create a custom action plan with tailor made couples communication exercises for you. Join the Happily Committed Project and transform your relationship in a meaningful way. To take it a step further and boost the attraction between you and the one you love, I encourage you to check out the product we’ve designed to help you do just that. To access it, all you have to do is click here!
I sincerely wish you all the best in life and love,
Your coach when you’re looking for the best communication exercises