12 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS COUPLES NEED FOR A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
Communication is a vital part of any form of relationship and a marriage is not excluded. So, hi guys, today on relationship matters we’ll be taking a look at “good communication skills couples should develop”.
A successful marriage and good communication always go hand in hand. However, before diving onto its role in a happy and romantic marriage, let’s take a look at what communication means.
According to Merriam-Webster English Dictionary, communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behaviour.
Having said that, communication can be verbal (talking) or non-verbal (using body languages).
Learning to communicate properly in your relationship will go a long way to keeping both parties happy.
Do you have the right communication skills? Does it feel like you and your partner keep missing each other on something? Or your partner just doesn’t seem to get you anymore? Then this article will do you a whole lot of good.
The whole idea here is not just random and baseless communication between couples but effective communication.
Effective communication goes a long way to deepen intimacy and emotional connection. Reasons being that it is a very powerful tool in any relationship.
When effective communication is the foundation of a relationship, it gives partners the freedom to express themselves freely and work together to build a strong, healthy and meaningful relationship.
Couples who develop the right communication skills end up having a happier relationship that those who don’t.
Developing this communication is a skill on its own. This is what I will expose to you today.
Failure to develop these communication skills will affect your relationship in all the negative ways you can think about.
Without much ado, let’s take a look at how you can enhance your communication skills in your relationship.
Find the right time
There is time for everything. This also applies to communicating with your better half.
Failure to discover the right time to say certain things or bring up a very sensitive conversation might lead to an unnecessary argument.
If your partner comes home from work looking all angry and moody, it might not be the best time to share your displeasure on something he/she might have done wrong.
Pick a time when all nerves are calm and there are few distractions to interfere with the conversation. Be rest assured, the matter won’t escalate.
However, if your partner is the busy type, finding the right time won’t be as easy as it may seem. Then I’ll advise you pick right before going to bed and weekends when your partner won’t be working, to have an effective conversation.
Most time, people make the mistake of bringing up an important conversation when their partner is busy or not in the mood to have such deep conversations.
Approach your spouse at the right time to avoid turning small issues into big problems you cannot solve.
Focus on the issue
In a relationship, people often make the mistake of focusing on the person rather than focusing on the specific behaviour of that person.
When you want to communicate with your spouse, it’s for the best you address the other person’s behaviour or words.
Don’t make the mistake of attacking your partner whether directly or indirectly. Instead, go straight to the issue on ground. Learn to present issues rather than confrontation.
It’s much better when someone says “why did you have to delay, you made us get the event late” rather than “you always make us go late to an event every time”.
The former is you focusing on the issue on ground, while the latter is you attacking your spouse directly.
When you attack a person, he/she becomes defensive. When people are defensive, unproductive fighting and arguments become the aftermath.
You should be interested in changing the person’s behaviour, not the person. You can’t change who they are. Focus on the issue on ground.
The key to this very effective communication skill is not to criticize your partner, rather tackle the behaviour. If you do this, the aftermath will leave a better feeling for both parties.
Be lucid and assertive
We all want someone who can read our various body languages, no doubt.
However, it is unfair to expect others to read our mind. Why not make things easier by being bold enough to be open and transparent when talking to your spouse.
In as much as you want your spouse to make you happy, your happiness is as much your responsibility as it is anyone else’s.
Don’t always expect your partner to guess what the problem is, tell him/her directly.
It’s always for the best if your partner knows how he/she can fulfil your needs. If you have things bothering you, share that information.
One good thing about this effective communication skill is that you’ll get your problem solved faster and it saves your relationship from any irrelevant arguments.
In summary, try to be clear and assertive as you can when communicating with your spouse. Don’t always use body languages that he might not understand. Express yourself properly.
Compromise when necessary
When you communicate with your partner, the goal is not to be right always. Learn to compromise when need be.
This is one of the biggest communication skills couples need to develop in other to have a healthy and strong marriage.
Since marriage is the joining together of two people to become one, it means you are no longer going to be making decisions alone.
Your partner has a very big role to play in your decision making. At such, things may not always go your way. So, you have to learn to compromise for the good of your relationship.
Compromising as explained in previous articles, means giving up something for the benefit of your relationship.
All healthy and strong relationship requires some level of compromise for it to remain healthy.
When there are topics up for debate between you and your spouse, be willing to compromise if need be for peace to reign.
This doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your happiness all in the name of compromising for the good of your relationship.
You should be able to discern situations where you need to stand your ground and situations where you can compromise.
Consider your spouse point of view
One of the biggest communication problem common to people is a lack of consideration and empathy.
As a couple, the goals of one are the goals of the other. That means it’s for the best you both learn how to be empathic and considerate towards each other.
Don’t ever go into a conversation with your mind already made up. This will prevent you from seeing things from another angle.
As long as the matter has not been discussed already, you should have an open mind. Your spouse should have a say in the matter too.
Then, you consider the point of view of your partner. This will enable you to see things from a different angle.
This will enable you both to take a unilateral decision for the good of your relationship.
Always learn to take a walk in the other’s person shoes and try to understand the angle he/she is coming from. You might realize that you’re being unreasonable and rigid.
Create a safe environment for communication
It is difficult to have effective communication when the environment is not safe for communicating.
It’s your duty to always make your partner feel safe enough to want to communicate effectively with you.
If you’re in a relationship where one partner is afraid to express his/her problem freely because of future consequences, there won’t be effective communication.
You might be wondering, what role do I have to play to make the environment safe enough for communication?
It boils down to how you portray yourself to your spouse. Don’t portray yourself as someone who is unapproachable.
If you want to have a healthy, happy and strong relationship, create safe communication environment for your spouse.
When this safe communication environment is established, everyone feels safe to express their feelings without fear of criticism, sarcasm and punishment.
Always be receptive to the concerns of your partner no matter how busy you are. Don’t ever dismiss your lover with the wave of your hand. This will make your spouse feel insignificant in the relationship.
The moment you fail to be receptive to your spouse’s concerns by reacting poorly during meaningful conversations, your partner will be less likely to communicate freely the next time.
This safe communication environment is an environment that supports an honest sharing of information without fear of punishment or consequences.
Be grateful when your partner is willing to speak up.
Focus on listening rather than talking
This is a very important communication skill for couples. It is a habit that you need to develop if you want a happy and healthy marriage.
During communication, some people can’t just wait for a second to say whatever they need to say. This is very wrong because effective communications deal more on what you have to learn than what you have to give.
You learn by listening to the other person, in this case, your spouse.
Most people tend to only talk about themselves or their problems without giving a second thought to what someone else has to say.
In a successful relationship, it’s not just about getting your point across. You also have to imbibe the habit of listening.
When couples cultivate the habit of listening to each other more, you’ll find out that both parties will have enough time to air his/her views well.
If you refuse to listen when your partner speaks, you’re automatically creating a one-sided relationship.
Try to focus more on listening than talking in a relationship. You might learn something invaluable that could improve your relationship.
Don’t be too silent to keep the peace
It’s important to always allow peace to reign. However, don’t continue if you know resentment might set in if you continue to keep quiet.
You might think that keeping issues to yourself will bring peace in your relationship but it often backfires.
The moment you refuse to effectively communicate how you feel to your spouse, you may end up building up resentments over time.
This leads to silent grudges. Before you know it, emotional disconnection starts setting in which leads to an unfulfilling relationship.
Even when the environment is not communication friendly, don’t avoid having deep conversations with your partner all because you are avoiding confrontation or you want peace.
The moment you start keeping things to yourself, you only end up having a short term peace in the relationship.
Feelings don’t change overnight especially when it is unsolved. The issues will remain unsolved and there might be bad blood building up too.
This will put your own happiness at stake. In the article “7 vital things you should never compromise in a relationship”, your happiness happens to be the most important of those things.
Avoiding conflict is only a short term solution to a long term problem. The problems will keep recurring until you discuss them properly.
Let bygones be bygones
This is where so many couples get it wrong when it comes to effective communication. They keep bringing up things of the past to hurt their spouse when communicating.
We all know forgiveness is far easier than forgetting. Even with all the apologies we still hold on to those painful memories.
However, if forgetting is impossible for you, the best you can do is to keep those things to yourself as long as your spouse has turned a new leaf.
When holding a conversation, it’s for the best you leave the past behind and don’t bring up previous and finalized issues.
No man is above mistakes. Also, no one wants to be reminded of the mistakes he/she made in the past. Especially when they don’t do those things anymore.
Bringing up past issues only stirs up old wounds and creates negative emotions.
When in a conversation with your spouse, focus on today and the future. Leave the past behind where it belongs.
Don’t end up creating an aura of negativity just because you couldn’t let the past be.
If what you are bringing to the table for discussion doesn’t have any positive impact on your relationship, let it go and move on to other things.
Also, if it’s a conversation you’ve had multiple times with your better half, do well to be at peace with the outcome and try not to stress it any longer.
You will gain nothing from opening up old wounds and sealed closets. If you truly desire progress in your relationship, let the issue die down and never bring it up again.
Avoid making assumptions
Many communication problems in a relationship are as a result of assumptions made by coupes. Often, these assumptions are wrong.
What is the need to assume something about someone when you can just walk up to that person and get the truth?
When you develop the habits of assuming, it becomes easy to make up fake stories in your head and imagine the worst scenarios. Especially when it is a romantic relationship.
In all situations, the best way to avoid unnecessary problems is to seek clarity right away. Make sure you understand the situation of things as it is.
It might just be a simple misunderstanding that needs clarity. However, if not handled properly, might lead to bigger problems.
The moment you assume (which will most likely be a wrong assumption) and your spouse finds out, it will be the starting point of another fresh disagreement.
When in the middle of a conversation with your spouse, get rid of any voice in your head and listen attentively to understand. This will enable you to avoid making hasty and unnecessary assumptions.
Be mindful of your language and tone
Effective communication is not always about saying things. It also has to do with how you say certain things.
The goal is to be at peace with each other after the conversation. So, be careful of your tone when talking in order not to provoke your better half.
When you feel the urge to become accusatory or to begin a statement with “you always …” stop yourself. Take a deep breath and start all over again.
It will be very easy for your spouse to miss the point when he/she doesn’t like the tone used.
Also, when your partner says something you don’t like, trying to payback will not help the whole purpose of the conversation.
Rather, take a minute to slow down before responding. This can help you say what you truly feel rather than becoming defensive.
When there is a very sensitive and difficult conversation, and you don’t know how to go about it without being offensive, you can say things like
“I’d like to talk about this issue with you, but I’m feeling anxious about it because I know this is an area we tend to struggle with”.
This kind of statement can relieve the pressure to get it right the first time.
When in a conversation with your partner, it’s important to not lose sight that the communication is to make the relationship bond stronger.
At such, learn to concentrate when in the middle of a conversation. The moment you start giving the “I don’t give a hoot sign,” your partner will realize it and hence a problem.
The best way to concentrate is to care. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to understand why they feel the way they do.
Whether they are right or just want attention from you, it doesn’t matter. Treat their feeling as if they are important (trust me, they are).
Though we might not have exhausted all the effective communication skills couples should emulate, this is a good starting point for all couples.
Remember, the goal is not to find out who is right and who is wrong but to solve the problem on the ground with one voice.
Your spouse is your partner in everything you do. So, keep each other updated all the time and communicate effectively to have a happy, healthy and strong relationship.
If you find this article helpful, kindly leave your comments below and don’t forget to share. Also, if there are any other effective communication skills for couples you will like to share, do use the comment section.