How to Communicate Effectively With Your Partner
If you are - or have ever been - in a relationship, you will agree that there are many things that wait to break you apart. However, nothing is responsible for as many failed relationships as poor or even non-existent communication. Some fights can be avoided simply by communicating more and better. But this can be hard to achieve although it's crucial.
You may think, well, communication=talking and that's easy. But in reality, there is more involved than simple verbal effort. The biggest obstacle is the fact that men and women communicate differently. This is important for both partners to understand.
Here are some things that should govern your communication as you sort out the many problems that you are going to face together.
1. Do Not Blame the Other Person
"Speak your mind", almost everyone has come across that piece of philosophy and it is true. It is synonymous with being frank and being true to yourself. But, there is a certain way you have to do it, especially when it comes to the way you point out the other person's mistakes.
The key is to say whatever is bothering you without putting too much weight on your partner. This can be as simple as restructuring your sentences. For example, instead of saying "You are always ignoring me..." say "I usually feel ignored." You always have to use words that put the lightest burden on your partner. If you can, maybe even take a little responsibility for it. Certain words and speech structures make your partner feel cornered and attacked. The only next move when in that position is to become defensive and that is how ugly fights start.
2. Never Compare Your Partner to Another Person
Examples are a great way to get your points across. However, when it comes to trying to work out problems in your relationship, comparing your partner with other people that you think are better can be damaging. No one likes to be seen as inferior and your partner will get into a defensive mode which will only result in fights.
3. Keep Calm and Organised
What you say is just as important as how you say it, and the best way to make your grievance known to your partner is to be as calm as possible. One sign of maturity is the ability to table matters together and calmly bring out any problems you may be facing. It's important that you go through your thoughts and organise them in a way that your partner is best going to understand. Of course, you cannot foresee how the whole session will go, but so long you stay away from outbursts, your communication will be more fruitful.
4. Mind the Body Language and Voice Tone
As earlier said, most people think communication=talking, but it goes beyond that. Effective communication involves reading the tone of voice and body language. Pay attention to each other’s gestures and facial expressions to get the message in the context it was meant to be communicated.
When sorting out a problem, use body language that suggests you are open and relaxed. This will make your partner come out more openly and honestly knowing they are not under attack and needn't defend themselves.
5. Do Not Demean Your Partner
Always stick to the subject of your conversation. Using insulting remarks about your partner's abilities, character, or any flaws they might have will certainly push the solution away. It might be tempting to refer to some of your partner's shortcomings to support your stance on an issue but this does more harm than good.
6. Never Refer to The Past
Your partner will certainly make mistakes, as will you. The only way around this is by talking things out and forgiving them where necessary. But, as more problems come up, it might be tempting to refer to a past mistake. Sometimes, it may not even be out of malice but an honest way of trying to get a point across. Digging up past issues will only make your partner think you were never over their mistake and deep down you still resent them for it.
7. Don't Bottle Issues Up
Sometimes, people choose to 'ignore' certain issues thinking this will promote more peace in the relationship. It might be alright if it's a one-time issue and you are sure you have actually let it go. However, bottling repetitive issues up will sooner or later lead to a destructive outburst that will do more harm than the good you'd hoped to achieve.
It Takes Learning
Different people communicate differently as you and your partner spend more time together, you will understand each other better. Effective communication requires effort by both parties and if this is not done as well as should be, you relationship might be at risk.
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