When it comes to relationships, author Roy Bennett said it best in The Light in the Heart. In the book, he provides some simple tips for better communication: “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity.”
Whether you and your partner are struggling to connect or you want to strengthen your bond, Seeking’s Guide to Upgrade Your Conversations will encourage you to keep your communication channels open. Based on science and psychology, these trusty tips for better communication can help bring couples closer together. As long as you’re both willing to take your dialogue to the next level, you can get through the rough patches and come out stronger than before.
7 Tips for Better Communication with a Partner
Good communication skills are more about listening than speaking. To build a solid union, Dr. Angela Wiley from the University of Illinois recommends exploring the emotional layer of communication. Her studies suggest that healthy communication results from interpreting the emotions behind what your partner is saying and responding with care.
This means putting your phone away, making eye contact, and not interrupting each other, according to Dr. Suzanne Degges-White with Psychology Today. In her experience, effective couple communication is all about making sure you’re hearing the message that your partner is sending.
Validate Your Partner’s Feelings
Research from Dr. William J. Chopik at Michigan State University suggests that your emotional well-being is directly related to your partner’s happiness. And this sense of satisfaction is associated with validation of each others’ feelings.
It all starts with one person expressing their feelings — which isn’t always easy in the first place. Once the emotions are out there, the other person can dismiss or validate their partner’s feelings. Showing your partner empathy for their vulnerability opens the door to improved communication.
Clarity comes from careful listening and compassion. When you show an effort to understand beyond words, your partner does the same. This supports honesty and creates a safe space for both of you to get on the same page.
Psychology Today offers some tips for better communication between couples. These include:
- Repeat what you think your partner is trying to articulate
- To avoid putting words in their mouth, use phrases like “What I hear you saying is…”
- Focus on the overall message
- Don’t get hung up on specific words
- Practice empathy for your partner’s emotions
Misunderstandings are the root of miscommunication. To avoid them, simply ask your partner questions. But, as Dr. Degges-White points out, not just any question will do. Focus on open-ended questions that spark dialogue.
Dr. Wiley also agrees that questions allow you and your mate to get to know each other better. It also fills in the blanks when there’s information that you don’t have during the conversation. Sometimes, we’re so close to the issue that we forget what others don’t know. By asking questions, you’ll remind your partner that you need a complete picture of the situation.
Take Your Time
Healthy Psych’s article on the mind and relationships invites couples looking into tips for better communication to take a “time out” when arguments get heated. While this method is mostly used with children, all it entails is giving each other space to manage your anger.
Once you both feel in control of your emotions, it’s easier to resume a productive conversation. For couples, experts recommend letting the other person know that you need a time out and deciding on a time when you’ll regroup. When the time to return to the conversation comes, assess your emotions and determine if you’re ready to pick up where you left off. If one of you isn’t, simply extend the time out but make sure you give the argument closure.
Express Your Own Feelings
While listening is key, it’s also important to bring your own feelings to the table. How you communicate your emotions is also important. Dr. Degges-White invites couples to use language that indicates an awareness of their own thoughts and actions.
As Dr. Chopik’s analysis points out, there is a symbiotic connection between partners’ health and happiness. Expressing your emotions leads to personal well-being and this, in turn, results in increased health for your partner.
Keep the Communication Channels Open
In a situation of conflict, it’s easy to forget all these tips for better communication and resort to negativity. Some counter-productive attitudes include:
- Negative interpretations
All of these attitudes close the communication and make it difficult to connect. The result is negativity and the eventual end of the relationship. But, if you’re both determined to make it work, these suggestions help open the communication channels.
Follow These Tips for Better Communication Skills Between Partners and Upgrade Your Conversations!
By upgrading your conversations, you and your partner will reach another level of intimacy. One that comes from a place of partnership and mutual understanding. And this is when things get really good between two people!
Seeking believes these tips for better communication are the natural extension of an honest relationship. For more dating stories, advice, and tips, be sure to check out the rest of the Seeking Blog. Ready to join the fun? Create your free Seeking profile today!
American Psychological Associate. Happy couples: How to keep your relationship healthy. https://www.apa.org/topics/marriage/healthy-relationships
Bennet, Roy. The Light in the Heart. https://thelightintheheart.wordpress.com/page/8/?fbclid=IwAR18AksD8zMUBqgiOFUpTWMD5F3oxURW9y20vvnK4TJOudRKOtqgGDrFti4
The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues. Connecting as a couple: Communication skills for healthy relationships. https://www.theforumjournal.org/2007/03/03/connecting-as-a-couple-communication-skills-for-healthy-relationships/
Healthy Psych. Psychology Tools: How to Take a “Time Out.” https://healthypsych.com/psychology-tools-how-to-take-a-time-out/
Health Psychology. Happy You, Healthy Me? Having a Happy Partner is Independently Associated With Better Health in Oneself. https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/hea-hea0000432.pdf
Psychology Today. 10 Steps to Effective Couples Communication. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201605/10-steps-effective-couples-communication