One of the foundations of a happy and healthy relationship is communication, and when there is a lack of it, things can start to fall apart pretty quickly.
As a coach specialized in love and relationships this is a topic that I work with on a daily basis in my one on one coaching sessions.
Learning how to improve communication in a relationship is something that will serve you for the rest of your life, and it’s also something that will help you in your daily interactions with your colleagues and anyone else you might encounter on a regular basis.
So many of us grow up without learning the necessary communication skills that help preserve our relationships, but many of us also fall out of good habits as time goes on.
This can be for any number of reasons, so in today’s article, I’m going to explain where improper communication skills come from and more importantly, what exactly you can do about it!
The loss of effective communication skills
Isn’t it interesting how sometimes it feels like in the beginning of a relationship, you have no problem expressing yourself and being on the same page as the one you love?
You always understood each other, and both of you felt secure and confident enough in the relationship to communicate in a way that made both of you feel heard… but as time went on, you started to feel a sense of frustration when it came to the communication department.
For many of the people I work with, the communication that used to be so strong has turned into something very brittle. Let’s take my client Kristen for example.
She’s been with her boyfriend, Patrick for almost four years now. When they started dating, they both saw the world through rose-tinted glasses and it felt like they were in synch in every way. They intrinsically understood each other and communication flowed effortlessly.
With time, however, the relationship started to experience a bit of turbulence, which in turn made both of them feel pretty uneasy. This uneasiness turned into a mental block that made it hard to communicate, which of course didn’t help things at all.
Kristen explained that it felt like she was walking on eggshells and didn’t quite know how to open communication with Patrick. She was afraid of saying the wrong thing or getting frustrated and blowing up at him. The problem of course was that there was an accumulation of issues that had been left unresolved, and communication was going to be the key for fixing them.
It was going to be important to set healthy boundaries, but also to do some work to re-establish a bond between them that made it easier for them to express what they needed from each other. Over the period of a few weeks,
Kristen started to implement the tools that I’ll be going over momentarily, and she has already seen a positive shift in the relationship. Mastering good communication skills is the key to reinforcing a relationship, especially when it has started to fall apart.
We always need to remember that no one can read our minds, so if there is dissatisfaction in a relationship, the two partners need to work together to voice the problem, address and solve the problem as a team.
So you might be wondering how the loss of communication skills happens exactly. Well, it usually happens when we get comfortable in relationships and assume that everything is just going to work like clockwork.
So we lose track of positive habits and stop making a conscious effort to maintain communication, and then before we know it, we need to figure out how to improve communication in a relationship.”
That said, for some people, communication was never really their strong suit…
So whatever profile seems to apply to you the most, let’s take a look at some proper communication techniques that will be sure to get you positive results!
How to improve communication in a relationship: The best tools
When it comes to how to communicate better in your relationship, the first thing I want to bring your attention to is the importance of empathy. Being able to put yourself in your partner’s shoes is going to serve you a great deal, and it’s going to reinforce the foundation of your relationship.
You’ll be able to anticipate the types of things that might bother them or make them unhappy, and you’ll be able to take action in a way that creates space for open communication.
That said, another thing to keep in mind is the importance of listening to what your partner has to say so that you can find solutions; not so that you have something to reply to so that you can win the argument. This is one of the most common issues I see when people are struggling with good communication skills.
Instead of really trying to understand where their partner is coming from, they become argumentative and just wait for the perfect statement to use to help them make their point.
So it’s crucial to show each other respect. The more you listen to your significant other, the more he or she will listen to you.
A good way to reinforce the fact that you’re actively listening to your partner is to repeat what they just said back to them. “I understand. What you’re saying is that we haven’t been spending enough time together lately. I totally know what you mean, so let’s fix that!”
It’s also very important to learn how to admit when you’re wrong. I know that we all suffer from issues with pride from time to time, but showing humility to your partner will make them see that you’re willing to be open and vulnerable with them, which in turn will make them feel more inclined to be honest with you.
These simple communication techniques can make a world of difference in your relationship.
So I encourage you to talk to your partner in terms of their interests. By that I mean, encourage your partner to talk about themselves so that you can get a better feel of what kind of things they want and need in this relationship in order to feel happy. The more you know about how to make them happy, the easier it will be to adapt your approach when you need to have more serious conversations.
A good segue into one of these conversations is to open with a question to which your partner will definitely say, “Yes.” Find agreements and you will start to build a consensus, and once you’re on the same page, it will be much easier to breach a touchy subject.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’ve got something that you want to make happen in your relationship, your partner will be more likely to be on the same page if they feel that the idea came from them. The more your partner feels that the idea came from them, the more likely they will be to accept your bids or requests.
How to communicate effectively when you want to breach a subject with your partner
When I’m working with clients who are working on learning how to communicate effectively with their partners, one of the things I highlight first is the importance of empathy, like I explained above. But it definitely goes further than that.
In most arguments, the unspoken truth is that a person worries that they’re not good enough or that their partner cannot relate to their pain, and this is why it’s so important to foster a relationship where both people feel heard. So, if something is on your mind, it is very good to bring it up and to encourage your partner to do the same. The more you bury things away deep inside of you, the more likely they will be to boil up and explode later on when something else triggers you. Communication is definitely something that is developed over time and it must be maintained.
Now, when there is something on your mind that warrants a conversation with your significant other, the best thing to do is to adopt a positive mindset right away. Being positive and having positive intentions is absolutely crucial, and your partner will sense this.
If your partner is coming to you with an unpleasant conversation, another thing to keep in mind is that people tend to criticize their partners in the areas in which they have the greatest emotional needs.
So if you two can listen to each other with the intention of really understanding each other, you will give each other the blue print to help fill a void. Allow each other to talk a lot. Don’t condemn, criticize or complain, but rather confirm the validity of their emotions.
Be compassionate with each other. Remember that women talk about their problems to build an emotional connection and not necessarily to hear solutions, and men often argue for the right to be independent while women argue for the right to be heard.
How to improve communication skills when you’re upset about something
Controlling your emotions and communicating effectively is usually hardest when you’re just straight up mad about something. If something happened that upset you on a deep level, it comes as no surprise that it would be difficult to have a calm and collected conversation about it with your significant other, but the more you are able to do this, the better your relationship will become.
When something triggers you, start to train yourself to take a step back and not react right away. Our knee jerk reaction is usually to become defensive, but if you’re able to step away from the situation and take a moment to cool off, you’ll be able to approach it in a much more productive way. It’s also very important to practice detachment and understand that we can’t expect our partners to think and act the way we would or the way we would want them to.
Communication is key to getting on the same page and understanding how to respect and make each other happy, but sometimes a moment of distance is needed in order for there be room for effective communication. It’s also important to remember to not hold grudges or keep tabs on each time your partner did something that upset you.
In addition to that, there are so many things that we don’t think about when it comes to how the other person is feeling. For example, people who vent or complain often already know how to handle their situation, but they’re searching for a shoulder to lean on. They’re often just looking for someone to see and appreciate their struggle.
Improving communication skills in a relationship in the longterm
At the end of the day, it’s all about being a team. Don’t play the blame game or else your partner is going to shut down. Listen to understand each other; not to try to win an argument. It’s always helpful to feedback what your partner is saying to you to acknowledge that you got it. Make sure that you respect one another and can admit when you’re wrong.
Them more empathy you have, the easier it is to make each other feel important, heard, and understood, and when you’re in the heat of negative emotions, it’s always ideal to take a step back and cool off a bit.
Listen to each other with intent and make it clear that you’ve taken stock of what each of you are saying. Enter into each conversation with a positive and productive mindset and always be compassionate.
Improving communication in a relationship doesn’t happen overnight, but the more you make a habit out of the tools that you’ve found in this article, the more your relationship is going to experience a positive shift. To take things a step further, I also encourage you to check out our new product specially designed to help you boost the attraction between you and the one you love. To access it, just click here.
As always, we are here to help you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for one on one guidance by clicking here. Join the Happily Committed Project and learn how to transform your relationship in a meaningful and dignified way.
I sincerely wish you all the best in life and love
Your coach when you wan to know how to improve communication in a relationship