Communication In Relationships – How To Understand Your Partner

Communication In RelationshipsOne of the things that make communication in relationships so tricky is…the people. Let’s face it relationships involve two flawed and emotional people who are very likely bringing many of their past relationships into the current one with them. This baggage changes our expectations in relationships, but it also colors how we communicate.

You may have better communication skills than your partner but that does not mean that you are better at receiving your partner’s communications. We must first dispel the myth that “talking equals communicating” because it is why communication in relationships can be so troublesome. Talking is only a portion of verbal communication, but often it can be what you don’t say that has the situation going from bad to worse.

The key to understanding your partner lies in your ability to fully communicate, which means you need to make sure you’re following these guidelines.

Stop Then Listen

One of the biggest communication problems in relationships is failure to listen. To really listen to what our partners are saying to us. We often just wait for our turn to talk, completely disregarding the important things be communicated to us. Whether you’re arguing or simply discussing a topic of interest, put aside whatever it is you want to say and focus on what your partner is saying.

Communication in relationships doesn’t require an endless stream of talking; it requires listening and being heard. Once you have listened to your partner’s words and digested them, take a moment to gather your thoughts and respond accordingly. Besides, if you’re not listening what are you responding to?

Understand How Your Partner Communicates

In my experience communication in relationships tends to be problematic when the people in the relationship don’t understand one another’s communication style. You need to know how you partner communicates so you can use that method to best get through to them. For example does your partner completely shut down when you get confrontational? Do they instead say more with their actions than with words?

This is a classic communication issue in many relationships. Consider this age-old relationship quandary: saying I love you. Women in general would like to hear the words regularly whereas most men tend to show their love rather than say it. This is where effective communication comes in handy. If you know your partner prefers actions to words, approach them with the issue and a solution or…ask them how they would solve a problem.

If you never communicate your problems, how will you ever resolve them?

Learn To Read Nonverbal Cues

Some communication in relationships is nonverbal. Your body is transmitting your actions just as much as a few words and learning to read these cues can help improve your communication skills. Think of the last time you brought up a topic or problem to discuss. Your partner’s arms were crossed, eyes glued to the kitchen table and their tone was flat. Did you notice and if so how did you respond?

If you continued to talk over the issue then you completely missed all the nonverbal clues your partner sent to say they didn’t want to talk about a topic. If you don’t know how to read your partner’s body language, that is the same as not listening. This is why communication in relationships relies heavily on your ability to understand how your partner communicates.

If you are serious about understanding your partner, make reading their nonverbal communication part of listening. Do you notice that every time you bring up moving they turn away from you or cross their arms? The better you become at listening, the more capable you will be of communicating with your spouse.

Analyze Your Own Communication Style

Improving communication in relationships can be achieved if you have a basic understanding of your own communication style. Are you a head-on kind of person who approaches all problems as they arise? Or do you wait until you can no longer avoid a problem to deal with it?

By analyzing your own style you can improve how you communicate. Most of us thing we’re pretty good in the communication department yet most of our relationship problems occur due to poor communication skills.

Be Honest About Your Feelings

If you can’t or won’t be honest about your feelings with your partner then you will never have effective communication in relationships. There are people who simply refuse to ever be genuine or honest about their emotions whether talking about their love of football or how to refinance a mortgage. You may think this is helping you keep your relationship peaceful but all its doing is making it harder to communicate with you.

Don’t lie and don’t hide your emotions because you’d rather be complacent than happy. Good communication in relationships means allowing yourself to be vulnerable to talk about things you may find uncomfortable talking about. Whether it is sex, voicing your emotions or money, saying what you feel is the best course of action.

Plus, how would you feel if you found out your mate had been untruthful with you for years?

Bow Out Gracefully

In the game of chess there comes a time when no move you make will help you protect your queen or capture your opponent’s. You surrender or in terms of your relationship, you cede the argument. Sometimes we have argued a point or an issue to death, often without having resolved anything. So why are you still arguing? The simple answer is that you want to be right when there really is no right or wrong.

So what should you do? It all depends on your goals. If your goal is to be right and get your partner to see just how right you are, then you can keep arguing the relationship to its end. If however you want a happy relationship where both of you can share opinions even if you disagree, sometimes just bow out of the discussion. Cede the win or simply stop laboring the point.

None of us can ever have perfect communication in relationships but we can all strive to be better communicators.

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