Communication is the cornerstone of any relationship.
But how do we make sure it’s GOOD communication?
Often I work with couples who tell me their relationship is good as they “never fight”. What I often find is that instead, they’re holding back what’s going on for them for fear of arguments or tension. And unfortunately, this only leads to resentment and misunderstanding.
It’s important that we can share what’s going on for us and that we can really listen to each other. This is what creates intimacy, understanding and a feeling of closeness. It also allows us to solve problems together. When things get left unaddressed, they only build and become bigger problems over time – you know what I mean, right?
Of course, a ‘fight’ doesn’t always have to be a fight – there are ways we can tell our partner how we’re feeling that are less likely to make them angry, hurt or upset.
5 ways to communicate effectively in a ‘fight’ with your partner
Choose your moment wisely
Make sure it’s a good time to talk and ASK your partner if it’s a good time. Give them the option of choosing a more appropriate time for them so they don’t feel backed in to a corner.
Really try to hear what your partner is saying
Sometimes we think they’re saying something different from what they are, or we take something personally or feel like they’re blaming us. Listen with an aim of really trying to understand your partner’s experience without taking it personally or feeling like you need to defend yourself.
Talk about your emotions without blame
If your partner feels like they’re at fault or like you’re blaming them, they are probably going to be defensive and uncompromising. Rather than saying “You make me so angry!” try “I feel angry right now”.
Tell your partner what you want – don’t make them guess
Your partner is not a mind reader, and nor should they be expected to be. Period. You are responsible for your partner knowing how you feel and what you want. And you can do this in a way that is not demanding.
Don’t swear, shout or name-call
When emotions are high and tempers raised, it’s easy to say things that are hurtful and that you don’t really mean. If you can’t speak to each other calmly about it, take a short break and come back when you can. Calm yourself by taking some deep breaths and remembering your underlying love for your partner. Your partner will be more likely to listen if you remain calm.
Good communication requires education, commitment and practice. There’s always room for improvement. Keep working on it!