If you and your partner are currently dealing with mixed signals and constantly crossed wires, we’re here to help. Read on for some simple strategies aimed at helping you communicate better and more effectively.
It may seem strange to see a tip telling you to talk less in a list of strategies aimed at helping you communicate better, but the first step toward improved communication is to listen to what your partner is saying. And we don’t just mean sit still while they’re listening – we mean listen with intent. This means you’re taking in what the other person is saying and focusing on it – not on what you’re going to say next. The more you actually listen to each other, the better your communication will be.
If you’re not talking to each other regularly due to ultra-busy schedules or mountainous to-do lists, it’s time to repair the communication gap. The only way to get better at getting your thoughts and feelings across to each other is to do it more often. You may not have time to talk for hours every night (not many couples do), but set aside 15 to 20 minutes every night to have a real discussion. Whether it’s goals, personal issues or a debate about something in today’s headlines, setting aside time to talk is an important part of a healthy, lasting relationship.
If you aren’t being totally honest with your partner, there’s no way you’ll be able to communicate effectively, solve problems or keep your relationship moving forward. The more honest you are – with yourself and your partner – the easier it will be to have clear discussions that help rather than hinder your partnership. It’s not always easy to be completely open and honest about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking, but the more you do it, the easier it will get and the better you’ll be able to communicate with your partner.
If your last several conversations revolved around what color to paint the bathroom or whose family you’ll be inviting over for dinner next weekend, it’s time for a conversation overhaul. An important part of improving how the two of you communicate is to make sure you’re actually connecting when you talk. It’s easy to get into a rut where discussion is concerned. When you get home from a long day, it can be hard to summon the energy to cook let alone have a meaningful conversation, but do put in the effort to discuss more than weather or what pizza place to order from. Ask open-ended questions, debate the latest news stories or plan a fantasy vacation – anything to spark your curiosity and get the conversational juices flowing.
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