Every couple communicates. But how many choose to do so in a healthy way? The silent treatment is communication. So is yelling, sarcasm, interruption, passive-aggression, and more. Having the same argument over and over is a form of communication. Such negative choices set the tone for your entire relationship.
Meanwhile, you don’t have to suppress emotions, hold grudges, or walk on eggshells. With a shared, committed effort, you can work together to set a productive tone. You can turn your bond into a sanctuary in which being vulnerable feels safe. Healthy communication is one of the most important components of a healthy relationship.
Communication Tips For Couples
Be Open to Learning
This can begin in an obvious way. Whether it’s a YouTube video, a podcast, an article, or whatever, there are countless quality resources available for you to become more informed about communication. It begins with an open mind and a desire for self-improvement.
Another version of learning, however, is less apparent. No matter how long you’ve been with your partner, there is plenty to learn about them. Even when you disagree with them, it can be a teaching moment. Keep asking questions. Allow your curiosity to outweigh your desire to be right.
Communicate About Communication
Why leave something so important to chance? Part of staying curious involves setting aside calm time to check in with each other about communication preferences. Schedule such meetings regularly to air out potential issues like:
- Clarifying wants and needs; validating such wants and needs
- Communication habits in times of disagreement
- What you might want to change about each other’s communication style
- Express your boundaries and deal-breakers
Of course, the subject matter is limitless but be sure to keep these particular conversations centered on assessing and improving communication.
Seek Win-Win Resolutions
When talking with your partner, it’s not a contest. The goal is not to win a competition. Instead, set your intention to find a resolution by which both of you feel satisfied. Nobody wins unless both of you win. Strenuously resist the temptation to come out on top or “prove” your point.
Recognize Common Ground
Never lose sight of where you agree. There will be occasions when you seem to be on opposite wavelengths. This is never the case. Even amid an intense conflict, your commonalities exist. Identify them and acknowledge them. Such a choice is a reminder that solutions almost always exist.
Let It Go
When solutions don’t exist, take stock of how important the disagreement is. You can compromise and live with the inevitable reality that you and your partner won’t see eye to eye on everything. You obviously don’t want to shrug off something major but, let’s face it, most issues are not major. Related to this is the need for compromise. If either insists on always getting your way, the relationship is doomed. Look inward and let your boundaries guide you.
A discussion rarely requires immediate closure. If you find things getting heated, remember that you can agree to step away and give it room to breathe. Decide this together and explicitly choose a time frame in which to return to the point at hand.
Apologies, Forgiveness, and Repair
Play the long game. Rather than solely focusing on the point of contention, appreciate the need for elements like an authentic apology, offering forgiveness, and taking steps to repair any damage that may have been incurred.
Ask For Help
Healthy communication can be one of life’s biggest challenges. Neither of you is expected to have all the answers. This is why many folks choose couples therapy to enhance their communication skills. Reach out to learn more.