Good communication is essential to any healthy relationship. Yet, even the most solid relationships will encounter disagreements or conflict at some point. It could tear the relationship apart if not appropriately resolved or if both partners don’t communicate in a healthy, loving way.
However, when both partners practice a healthy communication style, the conflict will be easier to deal with, leading to a more robust and healthier partnership.
Here are five ways to communicate better with your partner or significant other.
1. Listen Actively, Without Interrupting
One of the essential aspects of effective communication is listening actively. In a relationship, knowing that you are being heard strengthens your connection with your partner. So when your partner is speaking, it’s not enough to acknowledge that you are listening—as with nodding your head or saying “yes.” But it would help if you also showed that you understand what is being said by your partner.
You show your partner that you understand what they are saying with a smile, or you can reply with “I understand.”
Alternatively, active listening also entails asking permission to interrupt the conversation for clarification or disagreements. An example is asking, “Sorry, can I ask you a question? When you ask for clarification, do without accusing your partner of lying.
2. Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Behavior
Studies show that fifty-five percent of communication is non-verbal. Therefore, next time you’re communicating with your partner, remember communication is much more than what you say. Pay attention to your partner’s non-verbal behavior:
- Eye contact
- Facial expression
- Tone of Voice
- Clenched jaw
- Balled up fists
It’s also important to note the way you show your non-verbal communication. For example, you may need to be aware of how you communicate messages of disrespect, anger, or frustration. However, your partner may react to these non-verbal cues accordingly.
3. Learn to Speak Your Partner’s Love Language
One of my favorite books is The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. According to Dr. Chapman, people speak five primary love languages. They are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. But, of course, not everyone communicates love in the same way, and people have preferred ways of receiving love.
Truly understanding your partner’s primary love language and speaking that language will help create a strong bond in your relationship. In addition, you’ll better understand each other’s needs and know how to make your partner feel appreciated. Ultimately, you’ll both be happier in the relationship.
4. Watch Your Tone of Voice
It’s important to know that how you say something is as important as what you say. Studies have proven that 38 percent of communication is how you say it—referred to as your tone of voice. Your tone of voice can create a bond, intimidate, anger, or inspire.
Communicating in a relationship is often easier when both partners show positive emotions. A positive tone of voice can help conversations flow more smoothly. It also allows both partners to feel more comfortable and at ease with one another, especially in difficult conversations.
Here are a few points to help ensure you use a positive tone of voice when communicating with your partner:
- In a disagreement, opt for “I” statements rather than ‘you’ statements. Express your feelings instead of pointing blame or surfacing your partner’s mistakes. You can do this by starting with “When this happens…I feel this….”
- Your body may tense up when you are stressed, frustrated, or angry. Your words and how you say them may come off as you feeling agitated. The best thing you can do is to relax.
- Remember to speak slowly; this will help give your partner time to understand what you’re trying to say. Speaking slowly also gives you time to carefully choose your words and make sure you speak with a positive tone of voice.
5. Say “I love you”
Many partners only say “I love you” when times are happy in a relationship. However, expressing love for your partner should not depend on the situation or atmosphere.
Each time a partner says, “I love you,” the brain releases bonding hormones. These bonding hormones can make you and your partner more trusting and amenable, even when both sides are frustrated, angry, or disappointed in the other. Knowing that you are loved makes all the difference, even during an argument.
How do you prefer to communicate with your partner? Which communication tip from this list will you try first? Please do let me know in the comments below.