Relationship Problems – 4 Communication Tips for Couples that Can Help
Communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. Without healthy, effective communication, your connection with your partner will suffer.
Not everyone has the same communication style – and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you and your partner can’t find ways to connect with each other and be clear about your needs, wants, opinions, and concerns.
But, if you’re struggling to find common ground when it comes to communication in your relationship, there are a few tips that can help.
1. Practice Active Listening
Communication is a two-way street. While it’s important to work on what you say, it’s just as essential to focus on listening. That doesn’t mean just “hearing,” but actually listening to what your partner is saying every time they talk.
Active listening can make a big difference in your conversations. When your partner knows you’re really paying attention to them and valuing their thoughts, they’re more likely to open up. They’re also more likely to actively listen to you, in return.
As you listen to your partner, make eye contact. Don’t let anything else distract you. Ask questions. Repeat words or phrases for clarification, and pay attention to their nonverbal communication, too.
2. Keep Discussions Calm
When was the last time you ever accomplished anything in your relationship through a heated argument?
Arguments and disagreements can be healthy, but only if you’re willing to keep calm as you work things through with your partner. Even if you’re just having a discussion, it’s important to stay calm and not let your emotions get the best of you.
If you feel like you’re having a hard time staying calm during a conversation, let your partner know. It’s okay to step away for a few minutes to clear your head.
3. Use “I” Statements
When you’re having relationship problems, it’s easy to place the blame on your partner more often than not. You might say things like “you always…” or “you never…” but when you start a phrase that way, you risk a few things.
First, your partner might simply tune out. No one wants to feel attacked all of the time, and ignoring those statements is a defense mechanism.
Alternatively, they might feel the need to verbally defend themselves, which can create more arguments.
Instead, focus on “I” statements. Tell your partner how things make you feel, rather than placing blame. It will lower their defenses and might make them realize how their actions are affecting you.
4. Acknowledge Common Ground
One of the biggest mistakes couples make – especially when there are relationship issues – is forgetting they’re on the same team.
Even when you and your partner aren’t necessarily getting along, it’s important to find common ground and remember the things you agree upon. You might not have the same way of doing things. You might even have differing opinions. But, at the end of the day, you share the same goals.
Keeping that in the back of your mind can help things to feel less overwhelming and will make you more willing to work with your partner rather than against them.
While these communication tips can have a positive impact, it’s never a bad idea to reach out for additional help if your relationship is struggling.
Therapy can help you address underlying issues within your relationship and offer even more effective tips and solutions for better communication. Getting to those “root” causes will give you a starting point to work with and can help to rebuild your connection from the inside out.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about couples therapy. Communication issues don’t mean your relationship is doomed. If you and your partner are both willing to put in the effort, you can enjoy a stronger connection with just a bit of help.