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4 Steps to better communication

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Communication savvy

If you want your relationship to work, you have to communicate (and not just in the bedroom). Being able to talk openly about how you feel and address any concerns you have, makes for a much stronger relationship. Check out our tips for communicating more effectively with your partner.

Couple talking on the couch.

1Listen to each other

Taking time to listen to your partner means more than just nodding and smiling as they talk. Drop what you're doing, make eye contact and give the other person your full attention. You can't fully concentrate on what someone else is saying if you're texting or checking email at the same time.

2Set aside time to talk

It's so easy to get so caught up in the stress of everyday life that you never actually sit down and talk to your significant other. Rather than let too much time lapse between real conversations (i.e. about more than just who forgot to get groceries), set aside some time each day to talk. Head to a coffee shop or favorite pub so you're out of the house; a fresh setting often stimulates conversation.

3BE sure to ask questions

Good communication means your conversations aren't one-sided. Really engage with your partner by asking questions that will help you understand how they're feeling or what they're trying to get across to you. Stumped on what to ask? Check out these conversation sparking questions:

  • What was the biggest challenge you faced this week?
  • What are you most proud of doing this year?
  • If you could give your 16-year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
  • If you could trade lives with any celebrity for a day who would it be and why?
  • What would the perfect day consist of for you?
  • If you could go anywhere in the world for an all expenses paid dream vacation where would you go and why?

4Don't be a know-it-all

It can be frustrating to talk to someone who thinks they know everything about whatever it is you're telling them. Good communication means listening and asking questions without taking over the conversation with your own opinions. It's okay to offer advice, but it's counterproductive to do all the talking.

Common conversation killers

Does it feel like it's been weeks (or even months) since you talked about more than housework with your guy? There could be a few reasons your dialogue has dried up.

Not enough time: You don't need hours and hours to have long, drawn out discssions. Set aside 15 minutes at the end of the day to play catch-up. Check in with each other, talk about how you're both feeling and at least make sure that you spend some time (even a small amount) talking each day.

Boredom: When you get in a rut - either personal or a relationship rut - it can feel like there's nothing to talk about. Solve this problem by trying something new together. Take a class, sign up for a sport or even take a weekend roadtrip somewhere you've never been. The excitement will spark conversation and boost your bond.

Stress: Stress can be a major conversation killer. If you can't stop thinking about work or the fact that you're behind on a major project you may not feel like talking. But discussing what's bothering you can actually help. Even if your partner can't help solve whatever issue has you freaked out, he can offer support. You'll feel better (and less stressed) having voiced your concerns and who knows, maybe your man can offer a fresh perspective.

More relationship advice

How to make more time for each other
How to deal with conflicts in your marriage
Do your relationship homework

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