Communication is the determinant of the relationship. Meaning, every relationship thrives on the effective communication of the partners involved. A relationship with great communication enjoys great progress. In other words, if you’re seeking ways to improve your relationship, understanding how to improve communication in relationships is a major part of that process.
Humans are social creatures. This means that under normal circumstances, we exist in pairs or groups. We thrive better in the presence of others. We’re always better together. It is one thing to speak and hear, it’s an entirely different thing to really communicate. Knowing how to improve communication in relationships, no matter the kind, is always a recipe for success.
You’ll agree with me that humans are different. We come from different family backgrounds. We have different beliefs, experiences, cultures, religion, and intellectual prowess. These differences surely have an effect on our modes of communication. This is why it is advised to always keep an open mind and never pass up a chance to learn how to improve communication in relationships, no matter how good you think you already are.
Effective communication in relationships involves speaking, listening, observing, and sometimes even writing. It’s all about paying rapt attention to the other party , being intentional and responding relevantly.
In this article, you’ll be enlightened on how to improve communication in relationships, mainly the romantic kind of relationship.
Having to be a soul mate of someone who isn’t related to you by blood can be very challenging. The reason why you’re reading this, however, is probably so that you can improve your relationship and enjoy a better romance with your partner; either as married or dating. So let’s get started with improving communication when dating, after all, dating is the pathway that leads to marriage.
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Communication When Dating
Communication as a couple has emotional rules. It involves talking, expressing, listening, agreeing, asking, answering, sharing, discussion, negotiation, and of course argument (Yes, arguments are part of healthy communication in a relationship).
Communication when dating, just like any other intimate relationship, is different from random human communications. There are some rules of communication in relationships that enable you to know when to be emotionally involved and when to be casual, depending on who you’re talking to and when.
This section on how to improve communication in relationships tries to carefully highlight the hidden rules for communication when dating. It will broaden your scope of knowledge on how to master communication in a relationship. The following are rules for improving communication when dating.
1. Employ Domestic Language
Imagine talking to your boss about money and company growth. There’s a high possibility that you’ll be doing more agreeing than you’ll be suggesting. That’s barely communication in its real sense.
Now imagine having the same financial conversation with your partner at home, in a very relaxed posture. The difference between both conversations will be huge. Communicating with the domestic language of serenity and comfort always parts way for successful conversations. The outcomes are usually positive and forward-thinking.
2. Take a moment to speak and deal with one topic at a time
When dating, there are lots of things that are still unknown to you and your partner; still some discoveries to be made. It is important to try to choose one topic, speak clearly with understandable words, and talk it out until you’re both on the same page concerning that particular issue.
Afterward, you may proceed to the next topic of discussion.
3. Express your opinions and respect taking turns
Whatever the topic of discussion, don’t have it alone. For instance, if you’re both watching a football match and you want to make a conversation, state your opinion and let your partner either agree or disagree with you.
Don’t go on for hours listening to your voice. That will never end well. Also, if you disagree, don’t turn it into a debate or competition, agree to disagree and move on with your life. learn to be comfortable with your partner having a differing opinion.
4. Welcome Your Emotions
There’s no relationship without emotions. In this case, emotion is not just love and excitement. It is pain, passion, vulnerability, acceptance, trust, and other things. Let your partner know that he’s/she’s dating a human with empathy. It makes it easier for them to connect with you and you, with them.
5. Learn to apologize and accept apologies
You can’t be right all the time. The earlier this registers in you, the easier it is to have effective communication in relationships. Also, nobody is above mistakes; so learn to hear out your partner and let things go as quickly as you can.
Love only truly exists where there are sacrifice and forgiveness. If you ever wonder how to communicate with a partner when angry, this works in those cases.
In case you have need to apologize to your partner and you don’t know how to put words together, I’ve prepared some apology messages for your use.
6. Acknowledge the positive also
It is very easy to spot and point out the mistakes of others. The hard part is recognizing and acknowledging the positive aspects. Make it a habit to commend the positive behaviors of your partner. It’s an important way of communicating when dating.
This will not only make your partner feel secure with you, he/she will also take you seriously when you point out the not-so-good about them.
7. Search for solutions together
In dating, you must realize that you’re a team. It is impossible to live a life of bliss without a few bumps on the road. Therefore, learning to involve your partner and seek their opinion is very important as it’ll quicken the idea-generation process as well as strengthen communication.
Searching for a way out together will also make your partner feel adequate with you.
8. Respect every decision you both made
After brainstorming, there’s almost always decision making and concession. If the decision you arrived at does not sit well with you, point it out instantly and amicably. It would be unfair and disrespectful to go behind your partner and do something different from what you both agreed on.
Communication Problems in Marriage
Communication in a marriage is important. It strengthens the relationship in terms of trust and love. The lack of it is also capable of ruining an entire relationship, no matter how long it’s existed. Understanding some communication problems in marriage is an important milestone in learning how to improve communication in relationships.
Some of these problems include:
1. Defensive Attitude
Do you always blame your partner for problems in your relationship? Are you always quick to find excuses upon excuses even when you’re wrong? If you answered yes to those questions, then you’re being defensive in a destructive manner.
This attitude hinders effective communication in relationships. Once you identify it in yourself or your partner, seek ways to tackle it before it becomes uncontrollable.
Saying nothing can be as harmful as saying the wrong thing; it could even be worse. Avoidance is sometimes confused for listening. Here’s the difference, if it’s a conversation that needs input and explanation from both angles and you keep nodding your head in silence; you’re not listening, you’re ignoring and avoiding, and those two never solve any problems in relationship.
There’s a huge difference between lovingly pointing out some negative behaviors of your partner and out-rightly demeaning them. Judging and pointing out mistakes in a way that make them feel insulted and undermined is a clear error in communication.
When you need to criticize, do it lovingly and communicate your point of view understandably.
If you’re in the habit of digging up past events during present issues in an attempt to drive a point or make a statement, then you might be communicating wrongly to your partner, and it will always backfire.
This attitude not only strains communication but also communicates that you’re yet to forgive your partner of the past errors, even if you have. This should be managed once noticed.
5. Emotionless Communication
Do you know how you use pet names for your partner when the relationship was still young and growing? It’s fair to say that as time goes on, those pet names may slowly reduce, and gradually go into extinction. Now, this is may not be much of a big deal. It can only become a problem when you can’t speak affectionately to your partner without using those names.
Your tone, expression, and body language should be able to communicate affection, even without pet names to reinforce it. Therefore, if affection is lacking in your speech with your partner, then that’s one communication issue you want to tackle as soon as possible.
This list is not exhaustive, but all of these eventually give way to disrespect and dishonor, both of which are not supportive of effective communication.
Importance of Communication in Relationships
If you know and understand the importance of communication in relationships by heart, you’ll be more willing to broaden your knowledge on how to improve communication in relationships, and of course act on it. It’s like when you perceive the purpose or value of something, it makes it easier to hold that thing in high regard.
So, let’s go through the importance of communication in relationships.
1. Communication Breeds Understanding
We’re all unique, with different ideas, beliefs, and experiences. When you talk and truly listen, you’re more likely to get a glimpse into the mind of your partner and the things that drive their actions.
As partners, having a time of real communication reduces confusion and misinterpretation of statements made.
2. Helps Conflict Management
Next time you hear that the couples living in the house next to you have a misunderstanding; just know that it was actually a miss-understanding.
Conflicts usually arise from miss-understanding, and sometimes this is unavoidable. However, effective communication during arguments and conflicts can help manage the escalation of such issues into something explosive.
3. Strengthens Relationships
There are several factors that contribute to the bond of attachment between two people in a relationship. One of those factors and perhaps the most important is communication.
Effective communication does not only strengthen the bond of relationships, it also helps in keeping the spark alive in such a relationship.
4. Reduces Mystery and Breeds Discovery
The key to communication is to give and to take. In fact, communication is not complete until there is a sender and a receiver of signals. It always goes both ways. When you frequently indulge in random but meaningful conversations with your partner, there’s a chance that you discover at least one new thing about them.
There are thousands of topics of discussion in the world we live in, and everyone has their opinion of those topics, no matter how irrelevant. When you communicate, you learn about your partner and life generally. That’s not such a bad thing. It helps you to discover more about your soul mate.
5. It is relaxing and gives peace of mind
You might think this is not true in all cases, but I can assure you that it certainly works. Remember, communication is not screaming without listening, and it’s not listening without speaking. Both of these scenarios never solve any problems.
As long as there’s an actual communication happening, with the exchange of opinions, respect for each other’s ideas, and reflection on the arguments of both sides and then reaching common ground, there will always be peace of mind in your relationship.
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What Causes Lack of Communication in Marriage
All couples are different, but the keys to communication are constant. There’s a need to be open, direct, and honest about your feelings and any issue concerning your relationship. If it’s this easy, it begs the question: what causes a lack of communication in marriage?
The knowledge of how to improve communication in relationships will enable you to pick up signals that could cause miscommunication in couples, and you’ll be able to tackle them before they cause any damages.
Here are some typical causes of communication issues in marriage.
1. Using Extreme Words
Words like “always”, “never”, etc., have the tendency to put a strain on your partner and of course, your relationship. They suggest exaggeration and generalization, and they make your partner feel disqualified or undeserving. This has more effect when used with respect to your partner’s weaknesses.
For instance, if you’re a person that loves everything to be in their designated location, but your partner has a somewhat carefree attitude when it comes to being tidy. Saying things like, “You always leave your shoes on the doormat” in an angry voice, even though you know it’s not true; means that you completely ignored the few times that he actually kept his shoes in the right place.
This scenario might not seem like a lot, but a repetition of similar events will make your partner feel unappreciated and will eventually hamper your communication.
2. Superiority Complex
This automatically equals disaster, no matter how you twist it. The second you or your partner feels superior to the other, you gradually lose the ability to have respectful communication in your relationships.
This also manifests when you don’t acknowledge your partner’s effort because you think that what they’re doing does not compare to what you’re contributing. Your partner will slowly notice these attributes and then drift away from you, sometimes, unconsciously.
3. Lack of Time and Patience
Individual and couple’s responsibilities increase with time and age. This means that the luxury of free time disappears over time and you begin to wonder where it all went. Being busy and tired becomes an excuse to kill the slightest effort to communicate with your partner.
There’s no blame on you for this, life can be overwhelming. It is therefore important that you remember that your partner is supposed to be your support system and not someone to push away, irrespective of how you may feel.
Other causes of lack of communication in relationships include avoidance, defensive attitude, criticism, and reproach. Indiscipline on one or both parties also contributes to eliminating communication.
How to Fix Lack of Communication in a Relationship
The effects of a lack of communication in any relationship cannot be overemphasized. That is why in this section you’ll learn how to fix the lack of communication in a relationship. These fixes are important aspects of learning how to improve communication in relationships. You can also decide to broaden your knowledge by reading relationship communication books.
1. Know Your Partner’s Passion
A relationship is a union of two people with different interests, backgrounds, tastes, visions, preferences, and beliefs. Communication is a bridge that is used to connect these differences and to enrich each other.
Fixing a lack of communication means finding something worthwhile to talk about. Bringing up topics relating to your partner’s passion and showing genuine interest is a definite way to get them talking. Apart from the opportunity to listen to them while they talk, it also helps you find a basis of similarities that you can merge to create long term goals for your relationship.
2. Don’t Aggravate Issues
Don’t prolong arguments, or worse, turn it into a competition where your mission is to win by hurting your partner
Remember, it’s a relationship that you both agreed to. That means you’re on the same team, and if you’re not happy, your partner isn’t happy, and vice versa. Learn to value each other as much as you did from the very beginning of your relationship. Positive criticisms and admiration should exist equally
3. Ask open questions
Open questions are questions that don’t end with “Yes”, “No”, “Tomorrow”, “Fine”, or other one-worded answers. The point is to start a conversation that enables you to communicate with your partner for a reasonable period of time.
Even if you’re going to start with, “How was your day?”, Be sure to have a follow-up question that’ll make them talk for more than a split second.
4. Be Honest
This doesn’t necessarily mean to answer questions with the truth when you’re asked. Yes, that is inclusive, but it runs deeper than that. It means when you feel like having a conversation but you’re not quite sure what to say, tell your partner exactly what’s going on in your head. It’s all part of the communication process. Often times, this method gives birth to unexpected but meaningful conversations.
How to Communicate Better With Your Spouse
Communication is a two-way street. You give and you take, in almost the same proportion. This is not always the case, but it’s how it should be. In this section, you’ll learn 5 tips on how to communicate better with your spouse.
As you progress on your quest to know how to improve communication in relationships, you’ll certainly come across more valuable tips that’ll complement these ones.
1. Listen To Your Partner and Really Listen
Listening might sound like a straightforward exercise, but the truth is, not everyone is capable of performing it. Listening is more than just hearing. It means being aware of your partner’s emotion, point of view, and intention. This of course takes effort and deliberateness on your part.
Imagine having a conversation with your partner and suddenly they say something you believe is false. The reflex reaction to that situation is to try and start coming up with ways on how to counter those opinions. At that moment, you’ve stopped listening and there’s a possibility you’ll miss some important things that made your partner come to that conclusion.
Active listening is resisting the urge to be right or to make corrections immediately. It is also resisting the urge to let your partner’s voice wash over you so much that you sleep off. Listening is finding a balance between the two and keeping a conversation alive without saying much.
2. Don’t Be Defensive
We often get defensive in our reactions especially when we think we’re being attacked, and that’s very understandable. It is however important to try not to take some negative comments to heart, because in most cases, your partner genuinely means no harm.
So, instead of reacting in ways that you might regret later or make your partner feel bad, you should take a step back and think long and hard before responding. This method works well when one or both parties are angry.
3. Don’t stop talking with each other
It is true that at the beginning of a relationship, there’s a lot to talk about. The discoveries stage where there’s so much mystery to unravel. As time goes on, conversations tend to reduce and life starts to get in the way. This is normal, but it shouldn’t be left that way.
This is when you need to become creative and spontaneous. Make a timetable if that works for you, and make sure you’re having an actual conversation, not complaining about work or life generally.
4. Explain, Rather Than Assuming
If there’s a misunderstanding in your relationship, don’t assume that your partner knows what you’re thinking or feeling without telling them. This is perhaps of the commonest communication issues in relationships.
It is not unusual to think you can interpret your partner’s body language and to expect that they can interpret yours too, but these interpretations are sometimes wrong especially when dealing with delicate issues. To communicate, you need to clearly state your grievances so you both can trash it and move on with your lives.
5. Master The Art Of Discussion
Arguments are one of the many inevitable spices of relationships. When this happens, things can go wrong, really fast if not well handled. The only way to be victorious in any argument with your partner is to always remember why you chose him/her as your better half. This will help you know when to speak and when to be silent.
Nothing good comes from hot-blooded discussions, always remember that.
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At this juncture, you should have gained some healthy communication skills in addition to the ones you previously had. Good communication is critical to starting and maintaining a relationship, but it is not an easy task. The best way to make sure you stay on top of your game is to be actively involved.
Seeking to learn how to improve communication in relationships is a brilliant step. An even better one is to try and implement lessons learned along the way and always keep your partner in the loop. You can do that by sharing this post with him/her.
Remember, it takes two to tango; you can’t do the job alone!