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Posted on 04/05/2021

Communication Tips for Couples

Communication Tips for Couples

Communication is key. You’ve probably heard that countless times that you’re rolling your eyes right now, but it is true. Communication is hard; it’s challenging. It’s also an art; if mastered efficiently, it can elevate your relationship to a whole new level of understanding!

Here are 9 communication tips for couples that’ll help you grow closer to each other as you practice them.

1. Listen

Not Beyonce’s song, but the actual skill. 

If we’re to replace this whole article with one word, it’d be ‘listen.’ Listening is hands down the most important skill in communication in any type of relationship. Luckily, it’s a skill that can be acquired and practiced.

Listen actively to your partner with all your senses. Be completely invested in their story and don’t interrupt them except for when you need clarification. Validate what they feel even if you’re not 100% on board with it. Then, after they let it all out, you can iron out the issues.

2. Set Your Boundaries

Boundaries are like rules that separate what you approve from what you don’t. It distinguishes things that you’re comfortable about from other things that might cause you discomfort - especially these that your partner isn’t aware of-.

Whenever something that you like or dislike happens, take the chance and express how you feel about it. Make sure not to attack your partner, though. Just tell them how you feel about that, whether you like it or not. 

A simple “I don’t feel comfortable when you …” would do. That way, you’re establishing clear boundaries, which will ease your communications in the long run. 

3. Don’t Bring Up Past Mistakes

If you talk things out regularly with your partner, you shouldn’t reach this point. Yet, in the midst of a confrontation, some people might bring up their partner’s past mistakes into the argument, which might blow up the whole thing!

Recalling your partner’s shortcomings while you’re talking puts them in a corner. You’re practically accusing them of something that happened in the past, something they can’t change now, so they’ll naturally start to get angry and aggressive. 

Above all, they’ll become defensive, so they won’t be listening to you clearly, nor will they be thinking straight. They’ll resent you for it, and it won’t help either of you.

4. Understand First

We’re longing to be seen, understood, and accepted in our relationships, especially romantic ones. Yet, sometimes we’re so concerned with being understood that we forget to be understanding in the first place.

A common mistake that we fall into is that we let our expectations and judgments lead us, so we don’t listen to what our partners are saying. As a result, we don’t understand them and we don’t get anywhere. You’ll wake up on a blaming “You don’t understand me!” from your partner, and they’ll probably be right about it.

Think of how you like to be understood. What does it feel like? What do you imagine your partner doing to understand you? How do they approach and validate your feelings and thoughts? Try to do the same to them. 

5. Show Physical Affection

No, we don’t mean that ditch the conversation and make out!

Physical affection and intimacy are more important than you think, they’re not just feel-good moments, but they actually convey messages that you might not be able to express vocally.

Sitting close to your partner, holding their hands, hugging them, running your hands through their hair, and kissing them goodbye all are simple acts of intimacy that release tension in case of a heated discussion. They also show that you’re there for your partner even if you don’t ‘logically’ agree on something. 

You’re trying to tell them that; “We don’t have to agree on everything, but we’re together no matter what."

6. Establish Common Ground

During an argument, people are more likely to stick to their own viewpoints. The focus is on what makes us different, not what unites us. You must imagine how this ends up.

Always bring to the argument the common ground between you and your partner - there must be one, because otherwise, how did you end up together?- then start moving from there.

Apart from arguments, it’s helpful to have a common ground between you and your partner to anchor you when things get rough. It might be some values in your relationship that you’ve agreed upon, for example.

7. Practice Eye Contact

Do you recall a time when you talked to someone, and they had no eye contact with you at all? How does this make you feel?

Avoiding eye contact costs you a whole lot of meaningful communication. You give off the impression that you’re not fully engaged in the conversation or that you’re trying to escape.

On the other hand, using body language, especially eye contact, gives off the impression that you’re interested in your partner’s story. It makes them feel safe and validated.

8. Mirror Their Thoughts

That’s an advanced technique of pro communicators.

Mirroring thoughts is when you listen to your partner with all your senses, without interruption, then you take some time to recap what they said and repeat a few of their words to them before responding. At least what you got from them, if you can’t recall the whole conversation.

This allows the speaker to adjust or edit what they said after they hear it from you. It’s solid proof that you’ve listened to them. Besides, it eliminates the chances of miscommunication.

9. Apologize

Conflicts don’t arise by themselves. They are shared responsibility between both parties, and each one should be held accountable for their mistakes. 

Humans are flawed by nature. Making mistakes is normal. What’s not normal is looking for excuses rather than owning your mistakes and simply apologizing to your partner.

Apologizing doesn’t make you weak, nor does it let your partner ‘win’ the argument. It rather shows that you’re a responsible human being and that you care about the other person. More importantly, you’re less likely to repeat the same mistake in the future. 

Wrap Up

Relationships aren’t easy work. They’re fun and games until they aren’t. Things will get rough, and you should be prepared for that. Only efficient communication will get you through.

There are times when it is helpful to have a trained and experienced professional help you work through your communication challenges. Marriage Friendly Therapists offers mental health professionals that specialize in communication for couples and individuals in almost every state. If you would like to find a professional in your state then use the search bar at the top of this page. 

We are also looking for more mental health professionals in many areas of the U.S., if you are interested in helping more clients then click on the For Therapists menu bar choice above to see if this registry would be a good fit for you.

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