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How to improve your relationship through better communication

Communication and trust are often acknowledged as the two main contributions to a healthy and stable relationship. Improving your communication will no doubt enhance your relationship and create a stronger bond. In this article, we explain why and how you can progress your communication skills as a couple.

What do we mean by communication?

Communication can cover a wide range of exchanges between two individuals in a relationship. Whether big or small, they all contribute to the overall connection people have with one another.

For example, saying good morning when you wake up or hugging each other when you say hello may seem small and insignificant but it can have a continuous effect on how you relate to one another. We all prefer a warm welcome, and why should this stop just because you see each other daily?

On the other hand, talking about the more significant life events and planning for the future is equally important. Knowing you are on the same page can strengthen a bond.

Also, the ability to acknowledge a problem is integral in producing a healthy relationship. These aspects of life can’t be adequately confronted and resolved without clear communication.

The connection between communication and a healthy relationship

Without discussing your thoughts and emotions, it is difficult for another person to understand how you are feeling. Consequently, it is easy for people to misinterpret your behaviour which can push partners away from each other. Ensuring you are communicating regularly is just as vital as the communication itself.

The reasons why healthy communication between a couple is essential are expansive. Additionally, the consequences of poor communication are just as vast. If you are concerned that you are not communicating well in your relationship, take a look at the signs of poor communication in our article.

Where to begin

For some, the idea of communication is overwhelming. If you feel like you struggle to talk about your feelings, explaining this, is a start in itself. By explaining this to your partner, it removes a possible taboo and opens up the conversation for communication in the future.

Attentive listening

No matter how much we think we know our partner, we can’t ever actually know what they are thinking or feeling. Assuming that you do can be dangerous, as it means you are not listening to what they are saying and are projecting your own assumptions onto their opinions.

Therefore, one way to enhance your relationship through communication is to demonstrate attentive listening.

What is attentive listening?

Attentive listening is showing that you are curious about what your partner has to say by allowing them to talk properly. It is especially useful for couples who find themselves in vicious cycles of recurring arguments.

Many pre-decided thoughts about what you think your partner feels and thinks can obstruct how you listen to them, because you already assume you know exactly how they think and perceive things. This habitual pattern of assuming and arguing needs to be broken for successful communication and understanding.

Pay attention

Attentive listening requires undivided attention, so there must be no access to distractions, such as your mobile or TV. When your partner talks, you aren’t allowed to say your opinion or offer advice. Instead, it would help if you asked open questions to encourage them to discuss their story or point further.

Validate the story

As well as encouraging your partner, it is also imperative to elaborate on their version of events. Really try to inspire them to talk about their experience and demonstrate you are part of the same team.

Interpreting

To ensure you both understand what the other one actually means when communicating, you also need to interpret one another actively.

To sufficiently allow information to process, it may require you to pause more frequently. It sounds simple, but to catch yourself and hesitate before you make a comment can be quite challenging.

Why interpret?

Interpreting your partner allows you to explain and mirror what you have heard them say. This then allows your partner to either agree or elaborate further when necessary, to avoid confusion.

It is unlikely you will interpret correctly in the first few practices. However, over time, you will become more familiar with the technique and will be able to listen intently and understand with more accuracy.

Aim to understand

Instead of trying to win an argument, you are, in fact, trying to understand. Demonstrating the act of understanding removes the tendency to argue. It replaces the need to argue with the desire of wanting to make sense of what your partner is saying.

Remain in the present

Keeping your mind in the here and now can be hard, especially when faced with a challenging conversation. However, this is where active listening and interpretation both come into play.

It is easy to assume you know where a problematic conversation is heading and thereby skipping ahead to negative feelings of panic or defensiveness.

If this happens, the point of the conversation can become lost, and suddenly, a discussion that could have been managed has erupted into something far more significant.

Therefore, it is essential that you try and focus the discussion on the topic presented and keep any interactions based on this without bringing up past annoyances.

Acknowledge contributions

On the note of retaining focus, it is also essential to actively thank and appreciate your partner’s contributions.

As previously touched upon, communication isn’t just discussing the bigger aspects of life but also relies on daily, gentle interactions.

For example, if your partner made you both dinner one evening, they need to know you appreciate it. Saying thank you and planning to return the favour can enhance the feelings of support between one another.

Whatever the act is, show that it has improved your day and you are grateful for their efforts. These small acknowledgements will help to create a bond of support and appreciation.

Communication is essential in providing a happy foundation for a relationship. There are many ways you can work on your communication, and Remainly can help you achieve just that. If you are on the search for couples counselling near me, Remainly is a portable, online service that doesn’t require any trips to a therapist.

Remainly offers a series of pre-recorded online videos lead by our relationship psychologist Andreas Løes Narum, who guides you step by step through the challenges you may be experiencing. It can be accessed individually or as a couple, all on your own timeline. For further information on how we support couples across the world, why not browse through the pathways on our website?

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