In relationships, communication is about connecting and using written, verbal and physical skills to meet your partner’s needs on the one hand. You offer your partner the necessary support and understand their point of view in every scenario.
On the other hand, it allows you to explain to your partner what your needs are and what you are experiencing. This is done with utmost respect and patience, not arrogantly and hurriedly lest the purpose is defeated.
Communication is a vital key in a relationship. For the cycle of communication to be complete, there must be the receiver and the transmitter. Every relationship started with communication and it will be kept alive by effective communication.
Remember if your spouse or your partner didn’t give you the right signal or signs that he or she was interested in you, the relationship would never have happened. Same way if the right messages are not effectively communicated in the right manner the relationship may not last so long.
Dr. Lisa Berkman suggested that the extent to which one can maintain intimate relationships determines how they can protect themselves against biological, environmental and interpersonal assaults.
Good communication skills need to be developed to maintain such relationships. A productive, caring and supportive relationship is built by developing effective listening skills. Listening emphatically is key if you are to demonstrate an understanding of your partner’s point of view.
Naturally, your partner will get deterred once there is the feeling that you don’t always grasp the messages they are passing across. It is a clear indication you don’t understand them and it regularly calls to mind if the relationship should be in the first place and if yes, how long it will take for that itch to be done away with.
When it comes to expressing yourself, it’s necessary to understand the level of your partner’s grasping abilities. Your partner may not be with you on the same page on a matter or point you are trying to pass not necessarily because they want to object or want to be defensive.
It could be they simply don’t understand what you are communicating. They could also understand it wrongly or get the wrong message you never intended.
When you are aware of their ability in understanding situations and reading meanings, you won’t take offense but rather patiently explain yourself, sometimes repeatedly, especially when everyone is tensed. This isn’t a gift, it has to be developed. In today’s post, we would be exploring how to communicate in a relationship.
Symptoms Of Poor Communication
Lack of communication in relationships could cause the relationship to be epileptic or get to the dire condition of total breakdown. There are some red flags to watch out for that can help determine the communication health of your relationship. Here are some of those symptoms:
1. The Feeling That The Other Person Is Not Listening
When you realize you constantly feel your partner isn’t listening to your needs and messages, it’s a sign the communication patterns between you two should be double-checked.
2. Constantly Arguing
You normally will have arguments in your relationships but when it becomes a norm, your communication health is seriously breached. You both have to treat it with urgency. Lack of understanding has been known to be a major cause of arguments. Proper communication will bring about proper understanding.
3. Acting Defensively
Either you or your partner constantly acting defensively means one person is always attacking offensively. You both have to be honest about it. The person guilty of constant attacks should make amends. If it continues, the relationship could sink because you are probably communicating in the wrong way.
4. The Feeling You Both Have Nothing Substantial To Talk About
This is often a result of accumulated hurt and anger often due to lack of understanding that emanated from poor communication over a period of time. Both partners may have taken themselves for granted and ignored one another over a long time.
The endpoint of any relationship is when partners don’t seem to find themselves interesting anymore. At this point, either partner may already have someone they are interested in. Cheating may have started and trust completely broken.
Don’t ever let your relationship deteriorate to the extent you have nothing substantial to talk about. It’s very difficult to build it back from this stage but not impossible. It’s best to avoid it completely. Intervene in the relationship now by learning how to communicate in a relationship before it gets to this level.
Other signs you are having poor communication with your partner are low self-esteem and lack of confidence. When with your partner, you are not sure of what your partner will say to you neither do you trust your self to say the right words to them. You may end up offending yourselves.
This brings about low confidence because everyone is scared of letting out. One should be free with his or her partner and expect them to accept you for who you are.
We have established the importance of communication in a relationship and also highlighted some signs of poor communication. Next, is how to communicate in a relationship.
How To Communicate In A Relationship
To communicate better with your boyfriend, girlfriend or with your spouse, there are certain communication habits you have to incorporate into your relationship. These habits look simple and casual but they can make or mar any relationship. How to communicate in a relationship:
1. Develop Good Listening Skills
There’s a huge difference between listening and hearing. You can be hearing but not listening at all. Listening to your partner when they communicate with you means you can hear the subtle intonations in their voice that lets you understand how they actually feel and you can decode emotions they are trying to communicate.
Listening to your partner makes them feel valued and understood. This will only result in a stronger and deeper bond between you two.
Good listening doesn’t necessarily mean you must agree with all your partner says or that you change your mind always to please them. It will, however, help you both to arrive at common points of understanding that makes conflict resolution quite simple.
2. Understand Your Partner’s Non-Verbal Intimations
Actions generally speak louder than words from our mouth. Most of our communications are transmitted by non-verbal signals. Such intimations include our postures, the tone of our voice, facial expressions, eye contacts, holding of hands, etc.
When you properly understand your partner’s non-verbal cues, effective communication, especially in marriage, becomes easier. You will be able to know what your partner needs at every given point and respond accordingly. It is interesting to note that positive emotional intimations towards your partner make them feel loved and happy.
When however you send negative cues or not even take any interest at all in your emotions or that of your partner, the connection between you two gets damaged. This ultimately causes a breach in communication and your relationship suffers as a result.
3. Don’t Make Your Partner Guess What You Need, Tell Them
Most of us feel embarrassed, vulnerable and ashamed when it comes to telling our partners what we really need from them.
It is enough that some partners don’t get enough time to spend with one another. Adding to this, making them guess what we need or want is another hectic exercise that doesn’t always end well. This though happens to both gender, is peculiar to the ladies.
If you are in a relationship with a man and you want to communicate effectively, you have to understand that your partner is not a mind reader. How to communicate better with your boyfriend is something every lady in a relationship should work towards.
There is always this temptation to want to assume since we have been with our spouse for so long, they should understand the meaning of everything we do, even when we cough for instance. That’s what everyone wants in their relationships but it takes years and decades of building to achieve that.
Your partner may sense something isn’t right but they may not pinpoint it out outrightly. It isn’t healthy to assume they should know what you want and that they should also know what to do. This could work out times but if it is not stopped, it could ruin your communication patterns and ultimately your relationship in the long run.
Instead of allowing resentment, dissension and anger to build up when your partner gets it wrong regularly, develop the habit of letting them know exactly what you want.
Going forward, there are a couple of things to do that will help us know how to communicate in a relationship and also develop relationship communication skills.
Whether you are married with a spouse or you are into a romantic relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend, there are certain communication skills you have to learn and imbibe into your union.
You can talk to your partner about them too so that the burden of trying to build healthy communication patterns won’t rest on you solely. It will take conscious efforts from both of you to make them work. They require patience, practice and forgiveness whenever any of you break the rules.
These skills may be used in conflict resolutions, having honest conversations about yourselves or just normal everyday routine lifestyle. They should be incorporated into your union.
Here are a few skills to develop if you want to know how to communicate in a relationship.
Expressing Yourself (When You Are The Transmitter)
1. Talk Face To Face
As much as possible when trying to communicate important messages that bother on your relationship, it’s best to do so talking face to face. This is to avoid misinterpretations and miscommunications.
Chats, texts, emails, letters and phone calls are all good but they may not completely be helpful in terms of relating the messages one is trying to pass. This now becomes a challenge in long-distance relationships. However, video calls can be put through rather than just settling for the chats which are the case these days.
For effective communication one has to notice the gestures and sometimes unconscious reactions from your partner’s body as you speak. That way, you understand yourselves better and also learn how to communicate in a relationship.
2. Do Not Attack
Whatever the situation may be or the cause of concern you have to try to not start conversations with your partner on the attacking note. There are times even when we mean well, we find ourselves coming out very harsh.
The rule of thumb is that after reading this piece you should be the one to tame such conditions and not be the one coming through with it. Avoid using words that could sound offensive to your partner. For instance, the use of ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ or ‘you’ in conversations with your partner is very important.
3. Be Conscious Of Your Body Language
There are times our body tends to be faster than our words. We are saying some things but our expressions are totally different. You may have been hurt or let down and find yourself apoplectic. You have to compose yourself to be able to communicate effectively.
Remember this is about having a healthy ending, not trying to prove a point. All these are skills which takes time but are necessary for healthy communication in a relationship.
4. Be Honest
A relationship will thrive when partners agree to be always honest towards one another. While expressing yourself, it will be self-destructive to say only things that make you the hero and your partner the villain. It’s great to always admit openly before your partner that you may be wrong and apologize when you realize you made mistakes instead of making excuses.
5. Find The Right Time
Whenever you have something that bothers you and you want to talk to your partner about it, it’s expedient to find the right time to talk about it. Try to get the right time when you both are free from stress and not distracted. Mood matters a lot too. You should be in the best position to understand the necessary mood for your partner to have certain conversations with you.
If you notice you are really pissed off and angry, try using the 48hours rule. After 48hours, tensions must have doused and you will be in better conditions to express yourself in such a way you won’t be misunderstood.
If after 48 hours you are still hurt, you still have to consider saying something or forget it altogether. Always remember your partner can’t read your mind, so if you don’t speak up when upset they have no way of knowing.
Some partners have a way of expressing non-verbal messages to make their partners realize they are annoyed with them. Such expressions are easily picked and noticed but depending on the state of mind of your partner, they could react, neglect it altogether or counter react.
Here are a few tips worthy of note in communicating when angry:
You should take a break when you realize you are angry. If it’s a conversation, you should take a short break before continuing the conversation. Give yourself some time to cool off by hiking, watching TV or engaging in any other activity. This in itself won’t get things solved but it can stop things from getting worse.
Muse over what just happened after you are no longer upset. Think of the chain of events that led to you getting angry in the first place. Always make sure you trace the root. It’s either you or your partner.
Some causes could have rippled from places of work or interactions in the course of the day, but that’s secondary. The partner who allowed the situation to accumulate into such a state of getting you angry should be identified.
Have a chat with your partner about what happened politely. Tell your partner your observations and what you feel caused it.
Listen to your partner and hear their side of the story. You both have to express yourselves in a healthy manner to communicate effectively.
Listening To Your Partner (When You Are The Receiver)
Developing listening skills is as important as learning how to express oneself in a healthy way. Your partner will talk more openly and honestly if you are a good listener. Here are a few tips on listening skills.
1. Allow Your Partner To Speak Without Interruption
Sometimes you want to correct impressions immediately and chip in some point while listening to your partner. That may not be necessary since at the end of the conversation you will eventually address all that. Patience is what you should exhibit at such points.
2. Express Genuine Attention And Interest
The level to which you express attention and interest is the level to which your partner will be open towards you and be sincere as well. No one wants to be ridiculed and not taken seriously. Showing attention is a sign you respect them.
3. Avoid Gestures That Could Distract Your Partner
Such gestures include tapping of feet or fingers, flipping over a book or papers, etc.
4. Maintain Good Eye Contact
Do this only if it’s culturally accepted in the region. Eye contact is one way of assuring your partner that you are all ears. Your eye contact shouldn’t be distracting as well. It shouldn’t get your partner to start having other ideas.
The listening time isn’t the best time for admiration. Your partner could get disoriented and even discouraged once it’s clear you are not getting the message.
5. Your Posture Should Be Relaxed And Non-Defensive
When you give the impression you are boiling inside due to what you just heard from your partner or that you have become weakened because you heard what you didn’t expect, it makes your partner draw back into their shelf and start preparing for your imminent attack.
You may not hear what they intended to speak and even when you do, you may not hear it properly. This could escalate to other issues. Hence, your posture matters.
6. Try To Eliminate Any Barrier Or Source Of Noise That Could Interrupt Effective Communication
You may want to mute your phone or any sound system that could hamper your listening. Sometimes we miss the essence of a discussion due to slight distractions that were not taken into consideration.
7. Be Always Conscious Of The Tone You Use In Responding
When it comes to resolving conflicts, you should be prepared to hear out your partner even though they use a harsh tone or make unpleasant remarks while expressing themselves.
For sure everyone will prefer someone who would rather speak politely to them but sometimes tension can overblow some situations. When that happens, you should be the water that quenches the fire and stop the tension from escalating. Always be wary of the threat of using a harsh tone to reply to your partner.
8. Be Prepared To Take Some Time Out If You Are Getting Angry, Before Replying To Your Partner
If it’s in an eatery or public environment, you can ask to use the convenience. Sometimes, you may take a walk with your partner or engage in one activity or the other while trying to ease the tension before replying to issues.
Don’t be pressured to answer when you are tensed and then thereafter pay the price for not doing it properly. It could cost you your relationship.
Want to make your relationship work? Knowing how to communicate in a relationship is key. Mastering the art of effective communication will definitely reduce your bad days and light up your countenance even when your partner behaves otherwise.
Little wonder it is always said that knowledge is power. It gives you mastery over situations that would have thrown you off balance.
Pin this for later!