The Path to Good Communication for Couples

The Path to Good Communication for Couples

In relationships, communication is like the ground beneath your feet. Everything you build relies on the stable ground of mutual communication. You and your partner stand on that ground, and together, walk the path your relationship leads you down. To walk smoothly down that path, the ground needs to be level and sturdy, but often you will come across rocks, hills and even broken bridges. These obstacles in your communication often stem from confused meanings. Something is taken the wrong way, someone doesn’t feel heard, or someone isn’t listening. This path leads to arguments and an increasingly negative relationship.

Why is the path of communication so uneven?

Everyone is raised in families with diverse communication habits and attitudes. As a result, everyone communicates with different styles. Men and women face another communication divide in how they are socialized as children. Girls typically grow up in a verbal and emotionally open environment, while boys usually grow up in a physical environment with low emphasis on verbal and emotional communication. This leads to communication mismatches in relationships.

What can be done to smooth your path?

Communication is a two way street, or rather, a two way path. When both partners work to improve their communication, it can yield amazing results. But it takes work to get there, and work to maintain. Below are some techniques and tips about how you and your partner can create better communication habits, and start smoothing your path for the future.

  • Express your desire to connect and communicate to your partner. Let them know that you want to be heard and understood, as you want to hear and understand them.
  • Listen. The very first obstacle in communication comes from poor listening skills. Put yourself in their perspective, and try to understand what they are feeling. If you aren’t sure what they are feeling, or what they meant by something, just ask.
  • Schedule weekly time to talk about your relationship.
  • Don’t avoid the tough conversations.
  • Share your thoughts and feelings as you want your partner to. You are the expert on you, don’t leave it to your partner to guess how you are feeling.
  • Contemptuous communication can be very harmful to your relationship. Don’t be accusatory, defensive or negative when you communicate. Work to avoid blameful statements that begin with “You,” and instead use statements that begin with “I.”
  • Don’t be indirect just to spare your partner’s feelings. It may be tempting to pretend everything is fine, but that will just do more damage in the long run.
  • Stick to one issue at a time and try to find a fair compromise for both of you.
  • Don’t bring up past arguments or fights. Focus on the issue at hand.
  • Take a break from the conversation if things get heated, but don’t avoid the issue indefinitely.
  • Be clear and specific about why something is an issue, and the resolution you want.
  • Thank your partner for trying to improve their communication skills, and promise to work hard at it yourself.

If your path to good communication proves too rough to navigate on your own, consider seeking a couple’s therapist. A therapist can help you understand why your communication is on such a rocky path. A therapist will teach you patience, listening and communication techniques, and will help guide you down your path to good couple communication.