It is often said that communication is the key to realising better relationships be it within the family unit, with friends, workmates or with a lover. We must however acknowledge that communication can either break or make a relationship. This is especially so where a romantic relationship is concerned because in most cases the essence of communication is often lost. The most popular myth about communication in relationships is that when you talk to your partner, you are automatically communicating.
While talking is with no doubt a form of communication, the concern here should be if you really are communicating. If you and your partner are always discussing how your day was or how work was, then you are really not communicating but covering an aspect of the communication and leaving out other important things that could strengthen your relationship. Better communication starts with one person making the effort to improve, which often encourages the other to take the initiative as well. This article has outlined tips on how to communicate with your significant other in a more open, honest and rewarding manner.
Listen and remain focused: The key to successful communication is to listen and pay close attention to your partner. Do not interrupt when he is trying to make his point and do not get defensive. Be patient and hear him out. Listening will enable you to reflect on what your partner has said and you will be in a better position to respond. Listening does not mean always agreeing with what your significant other is saying but basically appreciating his point of view and trying to understand where he is coming from. Listening boils downs to acknowledging each other’s opinion and finding a mutual solution that pleases both of you.
More often than not, couples tend to bring up past conflicts when dealing with current ones. And this often clouds the current issue and makes finding mutual understanding impossible. Try as much as possible not to bring up past issues. Stay focused on the present issue understanding one another and finding a solution.
Be honest: This entails opening up about your feelings and anything that your partner might need clarification on. Being honest means expressing your feelings when your partner annoys you; do not result to sweeping your feelings under the carpet and pretending that all is well. Piling your feelings will only result to resentment towards your partner and can eventually result to a break up. Being honest saves your relationship the unnecessary arguments that might result when a lie is discovered later. Also, when your partner opens up to you, do not turn judgemental or critical; appreciate the fact that he has opened up in the first place and reciprocate by being honest as well.
Read the nonverbal communication: Who said communication is only verbal? Communication is also reading the nonverbal signs, like body language, tone of voice and eye contact among others. You can for instance tell your partner’s mood by paying attention to his body language or eye contact. Learning to communicate better means that you need to learn how to read the nonverbal signs and try to understand what your partner is communicating. Reading your partner’s nonverbal signals takes time and patience, but the moment you are able to, the more attuned you will be to what your partner is communicating.
Take time out: Sometimes tempers get heated and it becomes difficult to continue a discussion without it turning into an argument. If you feel you are starting to get angry or sense your partner is, take a break and only resume when you cool off. Communication also means knowing when to take a break in order to control your emotions. However, you need to ensure that you finish the discussion. If you both approach the situation with a constructive attitude and willingness to see each other’s point of view, you will make progress towards finding a solution to the issue. Unless it’s time to give up on the relationship, don’t give up on communication.