When there is an issue with communication in a relationship, its entire foundation can start to get shaky.
As I am sure you are well aware, proper communication between two people in a relationship is a fundamental element that will help the relationship withstand the test of time and when there is a blockage, tensions will start to rise.
If it’s particularly bad, it can even start to feel like you two are speaking two different languages to each other and you don’t know how to get back on the same page.
I work with people who are struggling with this issue on a daily basis, so I think that this topic warrants its own article. We are rarely taught proper communication in romantic relationships, and many people grow up in families where they don’t necessarily learn it either.
So people often wind up in relationships where they have the best intentions in the world, but they somehow can’t seem to communicate with the person they love, and the relationship starts to fall apart.
So my goal is to give you some pointers on how to fix communication in a relationship so that you can strengthen your bond and make sure that your relationship will withstand the test of time.
There are so many things that you can start doing today to build new patterns that will help you in the long run, so it’s great that you’ve gone out of your way to read up on this topic. Your future relationship will thank you for it, so let’s get started!
The importance of Communication in a relationship
A lot of people come to me because their relationship is on the brink of ending because they just don’t know how to talk to each other without things turning into an explosive fight.
And it’s important to note that no communication at all is the end or the slow death of any relationship, but you CAN change things.
So many people make the mistake of subconsciously thinking that their partner can read their minds, and they get upset when they do something that doesn’t resonate with what they were expecting.
Learning proper communication in a relationship is something that takes time and when it is established in a way that doesn’t quite work, you need to work together to hit the reset button and lay out a new foundation.
That’s where we can help! I was just working with a client, Gabriel, who couldn’t seem to express what he was trying to say his to girlfriend and it kept leading to fights.
He is someone who has a rather closed personality, and he explained to me that he had always been the type to just bury his feelings away when something was bothering him. So of course, when an issue would arise in his relationship, he would choose to sweep it under the rug instead of address it with his girlfriend, Lianne.
The things that were bothering him, like how she would still talk to her ex from time to time, or the fact that she would leave the dishes in the sink, started to accumulate in his mind over time.
The result was that when another thing that bothered him would happen, no matter how big or how small, he would blow up. Lianne was then left confused because his reaction to the issue at hand would feel disproportionate. As Gabriel and I began working on how to fix communication in his relationship, I had him start to train himself on speaking up when something that bothered him had recently happened.
Not always in the exact moment, if he was too upset, but we wouldn’t let more than a day pass without him defusing the issue with Lianne. This also helped her to learn how he operates and what she can do to anticipate avoiding issues.
They are doing really well today, and he has told me that opening up this channel of communication has started to bring them closer than ever before. It feels like they’re a team now, rather than two people coasting along, trying to get on the same wavelength.
So let’s take a look at some of the tools I share with clients in these types of situations so that you can start to transform your relationship as well.
How to fix communication in a relationship: The keys to success
There are a couple fundamental elements of Communication in marriage: How to build and protect it healthy communication in a relationship that everyone can benefit from. As I was saying in the introduction to this article, not everyone has the reflex to incorporate these things in their relationships but when they begin doing so, they notice that there is a huge shift in the dynamic and it is very positive!
The key to fixing communication in your relationship lies in empathy.
It’s so easy to want to get your point across and inadvertently ignore your partner’s side of the story. I often see that when two people are having an argument, they don’t listen to understand; they listen to have something to bounce off of with a retaliation and I can tell you right now that this isn’t going to get you very far.
But I can also tell you what will get you far!
Establishing good communication can be done by leading by example. If you make a conscious effort to take the high road and not engage in unnecessary hostility, you can start to create a shift because your partner will start to match you. You two can then focus on rebuilding the friendship and the bond between you, and you’ll start to feel like teammates instead of opponents!
How to fix lack of communication in a relationship: Putting yourselves in each others’ shoes
First things first, if there is an issue at hand, I encourage you to start training yourself to listen with intent. What does this mean?
Well, when you listen with intent, you set yourself up for understanding what your partner is saying, where they’re coming from, and what is in your power to change. If you approach the situation with the mindset of “This will help me to understand how I can do things differently to improve our relationship” you’re going to set yourself up for success. Like I said, it’s so easy to put up your defenses and just try to defend your point of view, but the more you are able to practice empathy and understand what your significant other is feeling, the easier it will be to defuse the argument at hand.
So when you want to know how to fix communication issues in a relationship, don’t be defensive. Don’t feel like you need to reply right away. Give yourself the time to digest what your partner said and remember that if you listen with intent, you’ll see that your partner is giving you the blueprint to help them fill a void. So make sure that you develop empathy and strive to see their reality from their frame of reference.
By the way, something that I always tell my clients who want to know how to fix communication in a relationship is that people tend to criticize their significant others in the areas where they feel a great emotional need…
How to fix communication problems in a marriage: Validate their emotions
When it comes to how to fix bad communication in a relationship, don’t condemn, criticize or complain. Instead, work on affirming the validity of their emotions. This is especially important because your partner won’t listen to you until they feel that you understand them. In most arguments, the unspoken truth is that your partner actually feels that they are not good enough for you or that you cannot understand their pain.
So let’s say you’re arguing about something. Let your partner talk and make a conscious effort to listen. Then validate what they’re saying to you by acknowledging a specific emotion, and justify the emotion they’re feeling. It’s a simple exercise actually:
Summarize your partner’s point of view, and validate what they just said to you by saying, “I totally understand…” Repeat back to them what they just told you so that they can feel heard and see that you understand what they wanted to get across. Making your significant other feel appreciated when you want to learn how to communicate effectively is one of the absolute best gifts you can give to them.
Improving communication in marriage and relationships: Being compassionate
After all these years of working as a relationship coach, I’ve noticed a few patterns like the fact that many times, men will argue for the right to be independent, and women will argue because they want to feel heard. It’s very important to be compassionate with your partner, especially if you two are having an uncomfortable conversation. In addition to that, keep in mind that man women will actually talk about their problems to build an emotional connection and not necessarily to hear solutions.
So, many times, people who vent or complain already know how to handle their current situation; they’re just looking for someone to be there and validate what they’re feeling at the moment.
When it comes to communication in relationship, show your partner that you care about them to open their heart to you and start to communicate again. If you shut them down whenever they try to communicate with you, it’s going to create a negative pattern that’s only going to create more of a divide between you.
So encourage your partner to tell you what they’re feeling and what they would need in order to be happy. When they do, you need to do more than just show the you hear the words that they are speaking to you and you have to make them see that you are connecting with the emotions they are feeling. Don’t let them feel that you’re taking them for granted and make sure you love them like you know you could lose them.
Make sure don’t keep tabs after arguments and that you let go of resentment. Don’t live in the past and work together to create a gratifying future for yourselves. You can do this by giving them genuine compliments on a regular basis and by being careful to not think of your relationship as a problem that needs to be resolved. Remind yourself why you are together!
Communication in a marriage or a relationship can be fixed!
If you’ve gone through the trouble of finding and reading this article in its entirety, then you are someone who is willing to put forth the effort to fix communication between you and your partner.
You’ve just got to keep these elements in mind so that you can implement positive changes in your relationship starting today:
- Prioritize empathy and making sure that your partner feels heard and understood
- Listen to understand, not to react. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain, and don’t have unrealistic expectations of your partner being able to read your mind when something is bothering you
- When your partner is expressing something to you, make it clear that you’ve understood and validate what they’re feeling
- Be compassionate with your significant other and don’t take them for granted
- Give them genuine compliments (often!)
- And just be mindful of your body language and tone of voice. We can be so much more aggressive than we realize, so just keep your eyes open.
We are also here to help you every step of the way. Each relationship is entirely unique so I’m sure you have individual questions. To work with me or a member of my team, all you have to do is click here. Join the Happily Committed Project and learn how to transform your relationship in a meaningful and dignified way. In addition to this, in order to boost the attraction between you and the one you love, I encourage you to check out our new product specifically designed to help you do this!
I sincerely wish you all the best in life and love,
Your coach when you want to know how to fix communication in your relationship