While it is easy to tell people that the key to any healthy relationship is communication, it may be a bit more difficult to explain exactly how to communicate. If you are unsure of how to use the key of communication, opening the door to healthy communication will not be a simple task.
Being a good communicator has a lot to do with expressing yourself in a healthy way that allows who you’re speaking to, to hear you in a clear and comprehensive way. When we talk to our significant other, we ask questions to discover how they’re feeling and what they’re experiencing. A good way to understand what our significant other is truly feeling, is by asking open-ended questions. It isn’t always easy for some people to share their inner-feelings and thoughts, however, we can make them feel more comfortable by asking questions that present an opportunity to share more if they choose. Instead of asking yes or no questions, like “Did you have a good day?’, try more open-ended questions like, “How was your day?”, in doing this, it creates a space to allow your significant other to express themselves if they choose to.
Communication is not just about the words we say, but also in how we say them. When communicating with your significant other, your tones and attitudes will give more meaning to how we feel than the words we are actually saying. Notice the facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice of your significant other when engaging in a discussion that seems heavy or is having a noticeable effect on them. By picking up on these nonverbal cues, you will be able to discover how to communicate better with your significant other and vice versa.
Don’t Try to Read Their Mind
As much as we wish we could read minds, we should not have to go to such lengths to hear and understand our significant other. If you are unsure of how your significant other may be feeling, ask them. It is better to directly ask, rather than assume how someone is feeling just by looking at them. It is not fair to expect your significant other to read your mind or know how you’re feeling without explicitly communicating to them. In trying to understand how your significant other is feeling, effort goes a long way in showing them that you care about what they are thinking and feeling. It is never healthy to say you’re okay when you are not, then getting angry with your significant other later, for not figuring it out. Remember, being direct is always more efficient than being passive-aggressive.
It Takes Two to Have a Conversation
Relationships should be about two people having an equal say about the things they are feeling and thinking. As you and your significant other communicate with one another, be mindful of how many times you’re using “I”, “You”, or “We”. If the conversation is mostly about yourself, it isn’t much of a conversation. Be sure to include your significant other in the conversation, by asking how they feel about the topic or what their thoughts are. Both people in any relationship should feel heard and comfortable enough to share what’s on their mind. If you feel that your significant isn’t allowing you to speak up or get a word in, it’s important to let them know.
Finding the Time to Talk
It is common for two people to feel that they are skilled at openly communicating and being transparent with one another, however, the more time you spend with and around your significant other, you may come to find changes that need to be made in order to effectively communicate. Talking out the things that truly matter to us affect the way we function in our relationship and is not always an easy task. When an argument happens, we may go days or weeks without actually addressing the specific issue we have, this is why it may be beneficial to set aside a specific day and time to talk through issues that are bothering us.
Tell Your Partner What You Need From Them
Being direct with your significant other about your needs, can prevent unnecessary disagreements or space for miscommunication to grow. The importance of keeping one another informed on your wants and needs is reliant upon you and your significant other’s willingness to be open and honest about the things that matter to you. If you ever feel that you need to vent to your significant other about something on your mind and you would prefer if they just listen and be present with you, it would be beneficial to inform them of that. Making your significant other aware that you would just like support for the time being and no advice, could alleviate any unwanted pressures or stress to fulfill a need that needn’t be filled.
If none of the above appear to be improving the quality of the relationship between you and your partner, maybe it’s time to explore outside help. Seeing a counselor can help facilitate healthy communication between the two of you and offer a non-bias point of view. Don’t be afraid to get help and you truly want to see your relationship grow and flourish.