Communication issues are one of the most frequently cited reasons for relationship trouble. You and your partner don’t need to be anywhere near considering separation or dealing with infidelity for communication to be a concern.
A breakdown in communication can be where everything starts and the point at which all other problems can begin to develop.
If you and your partner are experiencing some communication issues, don’t brush it off—don’t ignore it until something more serious develops. There are some easy things you can do now to give your relationship some fine-tuning and improve your communication as a couple and a family.
What Happens When You Have Communication Issues?
When we interact with other people, we need to communicate with them, to let them know what we think and how we feel. The more people in a household, the more thoughts and feelings need to be communicated and understood.
If everyone in the relationship is effective at getting their point across, as well as hearing and responding to the other person – awesome! But people don’t really work that way…
Important Communication Factors
There are a few factors to communication:
- You need to understand your own thoughts and emotions
- You need to be able to express your own thoughts and emotions
- The other person needs to hear and understand them, then respond appropriately
- Then these three things need to happen in reverse
- And both happen at the same time and on an ongoing basis.
It’s no wonder that sometimes we struggle!
The worse we are at understanding ourselves, or the more stressful our lives become, the harder communication is. The more entrenched our thoughts are, or the more seriously we feel about a topic, the harder communicating about it may be as well.
Easy Fine-tuning Steps to Improve Your Communication as a Couple
Learn how to use active listening. This means focussing on what the other person is saying, rather than working out what your own reaction to it is going to be.
Practise maintaining eye contact and trying to pick up on your partner’s body language. Check in with your partner on what you are thinking about, and how they are thinking and feeling……you may be right, but many times you can be wrong too. In other words: DON’T ASSUME.
Ask questions, especially open-ended ones. Then listen to the answers.
If a discussion is getting heated, don’t try to resolve the issue in the moment. Stop fighting and give each other some space to calm down – then come back to the discussion when you both feel better.
Spend time together in different situations. Don’t always talk – sometimes be physically intimate, or silent. Also, don’t always just have sex – sometimes just talk.
Practice mindfulness on your own, and together as a couple. This means focusing purely on what you are doing in the moment, rather than ruminating over the past or worrying about what else you’ve got coming up.
For help with learning new communication skills, resolving long-standing issues between you and your partner and re-connecting with your partner in a more meaningful way, contact Deborah.