We hear the phrase “communication is key” all the time. But why do we often forget this golden piece of advice throughout our ups and downs in our relationships? Do we fear that the other person won’t understand us? Or maybe some of us have too much pride to admit our feelings all the time. Regardless, we’ve all been there and none of us are perfect. However, when it comes to communication in our relationships, there is always room for improvement.
Relationships are built on love, trust, laughter, emotion, and many other things. One of the most important being: connection. We all need belonging and connectivity and, more importantly, we need them in a positive way. By nursing positive communication in our relationships, we feel stronger and our happiness is enhanced. When our partner is speaking, we should be listening to understand, rather than listening to reply. This is a powerful statement that many couples fail to adopt in their daily lives. Many relationships are destroyed because of the lack of understanding when the other is expressing their feelings and thoughts.
Good constant communication doesn’t just show up on your doorstep overnight. In order to have a healthy relationship, we need to practice it every day. Doing so can remove many unnecessary problems such as your partner thinking the complete opposite of what you spend hours trying to express. We should spend less time decoding the message and more time listening and understanding.
So how should we improve our communication? Below are some simple habits we can start adopting to make for a better healthy relationship:
Think less, listen more: Often, when another person is talking we spend more time thinking about our reply rather than the actual message. What am I going to say back to this? How can I defend myself from this? Think less about your response and more about the root of the conversation.
Judge-free zone: Yep you heard me. No judging here. It’s easy to let our judgement cloud our listening process. It becomes habit for us to pay more attention to the words rather than what’s behind them. Try to go into a complete judgement free zone when listening to your partner.
Positive emotion/feedback: One way to practice good communication with your partner is to always follow up with a positive statement. This reinforces your desire to truly be supportive and understanding. Statements such as “Tell me more about it!” and “I’m glad you told me this” are examples of positive feedback. Avoid cold and passive statements such as “Oh” or “Ok but…”. Even if you don’t feel positive about the situation, practicing positive emotion provides for a healthy mind.
These habits can play a big role in the way you and your partner communicate. Take time to practice these in your everyday life, not just during a conflict. Encourage each other to always speak up and reassure the other that you are fully devoted to not just listening, but also understanding.