You’ve probably heard people say ‘communication is key’ so often you’re already sick of it. And while the saying is absolutely true, there is such a thing as unproductive communication. Sometimes, you communicate with your other half, but you’re not doing it the right way, which can lead to even more problems. It’s perfectly fine to have arguments and clashes, but if it’s happening way too often, there’s probably a hiccup in how you communicate. At the end of the day, you must figure out a way of communication that works for both of you. That’s why, in the rest of this article, we’ll share some of our best tips to improve communication in your relationship.
Why is Communication so Important?
All parts of a relationship are impacted by communication. A connection is strengthened by clear communication and understanding on both sides. Poor or unhealthy communication can permanently harm a relationship. As you try to prevent negative feelings brought on by poor communication, you start communicating less and less.
As you notice a decrease in communication, you may start to feel alone or isolated. Alternatively, you may begin to feel anger towards your partner. If you feel like your relationship is on the verge of disintegrating due to poor communication, it would be best to turn to the professionals and try couples counseling.
Recognize Poor Communication
Before you can improve communication in your relationship, you first need to recognize the problems and harmful methods of communication. The following are some of the most frequent signs of poor communication in a relationship:
- Sweeping things under the rug. Avoiding fights altogether won’t help. Ignoring problems just gives them time and room to develop into something more significant in the future.
- Passive aggression. Instead of confronting a dispute head-on, passive aggression is a means of releasing repressed rage. You might not even be aware you’re doing this! However, if you’re making fun of something your partner does that frustrates you or giving them the silent treatment, you’re guilty of this too. And although it may feel rewarding at the time, it won’t benefit you in the long run.
- Aggressive speech. As we said, passive-aggressive speech isn’t healthy and can lead to many problems in your relationship. However, straight-up aggressive speech is even worse. This includes raising your voice to control or dominate the argument. Moreover, it also included accusing or criticizing your partner.
Be Open and Honest
Make your demands and sentiments obvious by saying what you mean. Refusing to engage in a dispute may seem deceptively secure and comfortable, but it doesn’t replace trust in a partnership and won’t improve your communication skills. Stepping back from a disagreement is only ever necessary to produce a brief cooling-off period. It is a temporary solution to a persistent communication problem. When you argue with your spouse, you must have faith that both of you will have your opinions heard and accepted.
When you feel your partner isn’t being open and honest with you, know when you can call them out. Figure out if that can be a warning sign of something else. For example, if your partner has been struggling with addiction in the past, and they’re suddenly becoming very distant, it could be one of the signals to watch out for. If you decide to approach such a touchy subject without consulting an expert, ensure you do it without any judgment and accusations.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
One of the most integral steps to improving communication is to actively work on communicating more. Instead of asking simple, everyday yes-or-no questions, you need to start asking open-ended questions to feel closer to your partner. When discussing your relationship, ask questions that leave enough space for the other person to say what’s on their mind. This will make them feel heard and appreciated.
For example, instead of asking, “did you have a good day at work,” try praising it as “how was your day at work?” This will leave room for your partner to get into details they otherwise might’ve missed. However, don’t be alarmed if you don’t receive full answers straight away. If your spouse doesn’t always share, try to be understanding. We all have various emotional limits that we impose on ourselves. Therefore, be aware of and respectful of their emotional boundaries, and they should do the same for you.
Recognize Your Partner’s Nonverbal Cues
If your spouse responds, “My day was okay,” but their demeanor comes off as annoyed, unhappy, or furious, there may be another emotion they are experiencing but are not yet ready to express. Speaking words is only one aspect of communication; another is how we say them. Our tone and attitude can reveal much about us, sometimes even more than the words alone.
However, reading nonverbal cues doesn’t come easy to everyone. The ability to recognize those nonverbal signs is a talent. Start by examining your significant other’s body language, including their eye contact and shaking or fidgety hands, as well as their facial expressions and hands. Check their posture and pay attention to their speech.
There is always space for development in communication, even if you and your spouse do it frequently in ways you both find enjoyable. Asking your spouse how they are doing on a frequent basis might be useful. Do they feel supported and loved? Where are the chances for each of you to grow? A solid connection may be cultivated by regularly checking in with each other and practicing healthy communication.
Relationships can be a lot of work. But they shouldn’t just work, and they shouldn’t make you miserable. Sometimes when you’re in a bad relationship, no matter how much you talk, you won’t be able to fix your problems. On the other hand, a happy relationship can always become even better and healthier if you improve communication in your relationship!
Guest article written by Amy Baker