If you’ve ever been in any kind of relationship — whether it’s a friendship, family, professional or romantic relationship — there is one piece of advice you are guaranteed to have been given at some point:
“Communication is key.”
So, when it comes to love, what exactly do those well-meaning besties, relationship experts and self-help books actually mean in handing us this directive?
What is relationship communication and how do we do it in a way that will strengthen — and deepen — our connection with our lover? How do we express ourselves effectively and openly, meet our partner’s needs and get our own needs met at the same time?
Let’s explore some of the most powerful ways.
Tapping into and getting clear on your own needs is the first step in honing your relationship communication skills.
Think about it. How are you able to express to your partner what it is you want, when you aren’t really sure what it is in the first place?
So, commit to cultivate some self-awareness by regularly taking the time to check in with how you are feeling in your relationship right now and how you want to feel.
If you want to encourage the flow of conversation, pose questions that demand more than a single-worded response.
Initiate the type of dialogue that triggers thoughtful, candid reflection and elicits feelings, experiences, desires and stories.
Instead of asking your partner, “How was your day?”
Try, “What happened today?” or, “What did you do?”
A good way to stimulate communication is by establishing common ground. So, find activities that you can enjoy doing together.
Plan and take a holiday together.
Do some household DIY together.
Learn a new skill or take a class together.
Sharing passions, interests, hobbies and special experiences will break the ice and inspire more natural, intuitive and heartfelt conversation.
Talk, that is. It’s easy enough to reach for your phone and send a heated, angry message to your lover — but don’t.
Wait until you have cooled down and can get together in the same room.
Discussing serious issues and concerns should always be done in person. For sure, it can often be easier to articulate yourself via text message — but it can also be unhealthy.
There’s the risk of miscommunication and things getting lost in translation, because your partner can’t hear the tone of your voice or witness your body language.
When it comes to communication, your body language can do just as much talking as your voice.
Your partner will find it a long more difficult to open up if you arms are crossed and your eyes are focused on your phone or rolling towards the ceiling. Make sure that your body is in alignment with your words.
Don’t you find it frustrating when your partner bottles things up and won’t express how they are feeling?
Be conscious of this, yourself. Instead of internally stewing on how upset you are, communicate it with words. If you aren’t sharing your issues, concerns or problems, you cannot expect your partner to know what’s going on.
Honesty is always the best policy, so be open and authentic — with your heart and your words. It might be difficult to share your truth — especially if you believe it’s going to be difficult for your partner to hear — but speaking up is crucial for a healthy relationship.
In order for it to flow freely, communication often means keeping quiet, opening your mind and heart and hearing what your partner is or isn’t saying.
Look them in the eye when they speak and given them your full attention. Let them know you are listening.
It’s crucial to know that verbal communication isn’t the only way to show your partner you love them. It’s also important to show how you feel through the things you do.
Make the effort to be close and intimate with your romantic partner in the bedroom on a regular basis. Growing and sustaining a physical connection will naturally nurture your emotional connection — and your ability to communicate without inhibition.
When it comes to communication, this sounds counterproductive, right?
But hear us out.
When conversation becomes strained or even non-existent, stepping away (whether it’s outside for a few minutes, or out of town for a few days) can be a really powerful thing.
Taking a breather allows to centre your thoughts, remind yourself of what you really need and return to any important conversations with a fresh perspective.