Relationships – whether with girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands, or even just friends – involve some of life’s greatest challenges. If you’re in a relationship, chances are you’ve had your fair share of tense moments and I will dare to say that clashing is a completely normal part of being a couple. While several factors contribute to the success of a marriage or long-term partnership, communication skills (or lack thereof) can either help or hinder one’s prospects.

Learning to communicate effectively with each other is one of the best things you can do for your relationship.
Effective communication for couples can include focusing on finding a compromise and taking steps to both listen and be heard, among other strategies. Healthy communication for couples makes it much easier to understand one another and ensure each person’s needs are heard, validated, and acted upon.

However, effective communication for couples isn’t a one-time thing. It is an ongoing process of learning to communicate more clearly and express yourself while listening to your partner’s thoughts and needs and before you can get to work on improving your communication skills, it’s important to first identify the areas that need some work.

Here are some signs to look for.
Passive-aggressive behavior
Passive aggression is a way of expressing hidden anger instead of addressing conflict head-on.

This might look like:

  • cracking jokes about your partner always being late
  • punishing them for being late by giving the silent treatment
  • making digs about their decisions                                                                                                          All of these behaviors allow you to express your frustration without actually having to talk about it. It might feel satisfying in the moment, but it won’t serve you any favors in the long run.

Brushing things under the rug
Simply avoiding conflicts won’t help, either. Ignoring issues just gives them the space and time to build up into something larger down the road.

Using Aggressive Speech
Becoming openly defensive or hostile when talking to your partner is a sign you’ve fallen into a toxic communication pattern.
Aggressive speech can involve:

  • raising your voice
  • blaming or criticizing
  • controlling or dominating the conversation

Keys to effective communication
Communication for couples is one of the important issues that is usually discussed during couples counseling. The keys to effective communication discussed in these counseling sessions are:

  • Be Empathetic
  • Maintain Clarity
  • Continue Listening
  • Read their Body Language
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Amicable
  • Be Aware of the traits of various mediums of communication

Tips for Better Communication
Whether you’re just starting as a couple or have been together for years, these strategies can help you both improve your communication skills. Below are several researched and practical tips postulated by John Gottman, PhD., who has studied hundreds of couples for twenty years, and Sylvia Smith, an expert Blogger for There are recommendations for everyday situations, as well as specific strategies for handling arguments and fostering healthy communication.

1. Show respect to your partner
Effective communication for couples starts with respect. If you promise something to your partner, follow through on your promise. Healthy communication skills start with listening to what they say and showing attention and care toward their needs and concerns.

2. Own your feelings
It’s so easy to get angry at your partner for what you see as their flaws, but one of the good communication tips is to start with owning your feelings.
Be honest with yourself about what you feel and why. Look for underlying stresses that might be making you feel more irritated than usual. Take responsibility for your feelings and ask what you can do to help yourself get past them instead of putting the sole responsibility on your partner.

3. Switch off sometimes
Wondering how to communicate in a relationship? Disconnect from the world for a moment!
You’ll be amazed how much better your relationship communication gets if you switch your phone off occasionally. Try setting aside one night or afternoon a week where you both shut your phones off, close your laptops, and focus on being together.

4. Be kind
A little kindness goes a long way in a relationship. If things are tense, don’t fight fire with fire. Instead, look for opportunities to speak kindly to your partner.
One of the keys to effective communication between couples is telling them what you love and appreciate about them and thanking them for the little things they do daily.

5. Set aside time to talk
If you both need to talk, set aside a time for it. Pick a time when you know you won’t be interrupted, and remember to check in with your partner about whether it’s a good time to talk.
You can lead your way to better communication by giving each other your undivided attention. Please avoid cramming in important talks during dinner or driving to the grocery store.

6. Take turns stating your feelings
Just twenty minutes spent taking turns to express your feelings can work wonders for your couple’s communication skills. Again, it is important to find some real uninterrupted time and ensure you won’t be disturbed.
To ensure healthy communication skills for couples to flourish, set a timer and let each person talk for a fixed period without interruptions. Please note that one of the ways of effective communication in marriage or any relationship is to listen to what they say and follow up with some questions to help clarify if you need to. Then ask them to do the same for you.

7. Appreciate the effort they make
In any good relationship, each person will feel that they are valued and respected for who they are.
It’s so easy to slip into focusing on what your partner doesn’t do, especially if you’re feeling rushed and stressed. Get into the habit of focusing on the positive things they are doing.
If you’ve had a fight and your partner extends an olive branch, take it. If he or she makes an effort to resolve a problem or support you in some way, acknowledge it and thank him or her for their help.
People simply think and communicate better when they’re feeling good about themselves and when your partner feels appreciated and validated, he or she is more likely to be open to communication and compromise.

8. Learn to negotiate
The art of negotiation is the most important key to effective communication for couples in any relationship.
One thing you have to learn in your relationship is that you’re not in a competition after all.
You’re a team, and for a team to move forward, both members need to compromise sometimes. Agreed, there are some things you need that you really can’t budge on, and that’s okay but there are other things that you could let go of or learn to compromise on. If you are baffled about how to fix communication in a relationship, you must always try to put the good of your relationship above being right.

9. Leave the past in the past
If you and your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye, you must focus on the current problem and avoid bringing up the past. It is known that so many couples use disagreements as an excuse to bring up past hurts and open old wounds. This doesn’t achieve anything. Instead, it leaves you both feeling hurt and frustrated. Learn to leave the past in the past and keep your focus on what is happening right now.

10. Even a note or text matters
Part of the relationship communication skills is simply letting your partner know that they’re on your mind and that you care about them. You can text your partner throughout the day to find out how their day is going, and let them know they are on your mind. You can even go old school and leave them a note.

11. Seek First to Understand vs. Being Understood:
This is one of my favorite approaches and really should be used as a mantra in all discussions, whether with spouses, other family members, or friends. When in conflict, our default as human beings is often to focus on our desire to be understood. How many times have you heard, “you just don’t understand what I’m saying!” Of course, healthy relationships do involve understanding one another, but rather than emphasizing your desire to be heard, try changing your focus to putting attention on understanding the other. This can shift the relational dynamic and pave the way for more open and fresh communication.

12. Avoid Criticism:

When communicating with your partner, make a concerted effort to avoid personal criticism. This includes refraining from put-downs, insults, and negative body language, such as eye-rolling. As we all know, criticism makes people feel defensive, among other things; this significantly inhibits the listening process and can lead to further escalation of anger and hurt feelings.

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