3 Tips To Improve Communication In Your Relationship
Relationships are often filled with love, happiness, and fulfillment, but they also come with their own set of challenges. Communication is important no matter what type of relationship you have, but it’s especially important when it comes to romantic relationships.
Over the last 14 years, our team has helped hundreds of couples learn to communicate in healthy ways that validate and benefit both partners.
By the end of this article, you’ll learn why good communication is important, and 3 tips to help improve communication in your relationship.
Why is Good Communication Important?
You probably hear this saying often, but it’s true when people say “communication is key.”
In any relationship be it platonic or romantic, communication is the #1 factor in the overall success of the relationship.
Good communication isn’t just about talking. Good communication requires skills such as:
- Active listening
- Negotiation skills
- The ability to compromise
The basis of so many disagreements amongst partners is poor communication.
One partner may have said something with pure intentions, but the other partner received it in a way that made them feel defensive, or uncomfortable. Then what often follows is a lack of active listening, empathy, and understanding.
How Good Communication Helps Your Relationship
Good communication helps strengthen relationships by creating safer spaces for couples to discuss sensitive topics like:
- Concerns around the day-to-day aspects of the relationship
- Sexual and emotional issues
- Trauma from the past
- And more!
3 Ways to Improve Communication in your Relationship
Being a strong communicator can take some work, but if it means strengthening the bond between you and your partner it’s worth the work it takes!
Here are three tips to help improve communication with your partner.
1. Remember There is No “Winner”
Often when we get into arguments we think of them as debates or competitions.
Disputes with your partner can’t be focused on one person being right, or one person coming out as the “winner” of the dispute. Ultimately, the only way to success is if you both feel like winners.
To achieve that, you have to focus on being heard, but also on listening. Take the time to listen to your partner, hear what they are saying, then take the time to respond.
It’s okay if you don’t agree with your partner, but remember that your goal in discussing your issue should be mutual understanding and alignment.
You shouldn’t aim to shame, upset, or hurt your partner in order to “win.”
2. Consider the “When”
Communicating an issue with a partner at the wrong time can lead to a lot more tension in your relationship. One key factor in good communication is timing. Sometimes when we have an issue with our partner or relationship, a few things happen. We’ll often:
- Hold in our feelings until it’s time to explode
- Bring it up in the middle of an already heated argument
- Start the conversation when our partner is not in the right place to receive it
Bringing up a tumultuous subject when your partner just got home from a tough day at work is probably not the best time to discuss it. But holding it in is never a good idea either.
Instead, collaborate with your partner to figure out the best time to discuss whatever is on your mind.
Let your partner know that it’s important to you that the time is made soon, and get it on the calendar. This will help create a clear boundary, and also avoid your partner from feeling surprised or blindsided by the conversation.
The other benefit to scheduling a time to speak with your partner is the time it gives you to write your feelings down and organize your thoughts.
That way you don’t need to worry about anything being said in an overly aggressive way, or anything going left unsaid.
3. Use the “Parking Lot”
Sometimes when a conversation gets a little too heated or off track, there is a lack of either partner being heard which often results in negative feelings between the two of you.
Putting the conversation in the “parking lot” can be a good idea. If you notice you and your partner are beginning to get combative, take a second to:
- Step back and re-assess the conversation
- Come up with an alternative time to discuss
- Spend some time thinking about the things your partner said, and write down some feelings you have about their words
- Tell your partner you’ve noticed this conversation created tension, and express how important it is to you that you are both being heard
Stepping away from a tough conversation can help you gain a fresh perspective on something you and your partner are struggling with.
Next Steps for Improving Communication in Relationships
In this article, you’ve learned why good communication is important, as well as some tips to help improve communication with your partner.
At KMA Therapy, we always do our best to remind couples to do two things when working on communication:
- Check-in with your partner to make sure you’re communication style is working, and the line for communication stays open.
- Check-in with yourself to make sure you’re feeling good about the changes you and your partner are making.
If you and your partner have decided it’s time to take the next step towards better communication in your relationship, fill out this form and someone from our qualified team of registered couples therapists will reach out.
If you’re not ready to talk to someone, you can also check out these articles to help you strengthen the bond between you and your partner:
- To learn how couples counselling can help you, read: Will Couples Counselling Help My Relationship?
- If you’re still on the fence about attending couples counselling, read: Do I Need Couples Counselling? 10 Signs It Might Be Time
- To explore some questions that can help you build your relationship with a new therapist, read: 22 Questions To Ask Your New Therapist