07 Sep 7 Ways to Enhance Partner Communication
The excitement of a new relationship can be exhilarating. The anticipation, newness, fun, and passion are often all the fuel a new relationship needs to drive it on. But once the new car smell starts to dissipate, every relationship is going to need the same regular maintenance.
Communication is a necessary part of every relationship. Communication creates and maintains bonds. It is the foundation that will allow a relationship to last forever. It’s also required to avoid the misunderstandings and avoidable drama that can plague many relationships.
If the communication with your partner is poor, it’s only a matter of time before the relationship needlessly suffers. The best time to begin working on your communication with your partner is before you need it.
Here are seven ways you can enhance your communication skills that will also enhance your relationship:
1. Be curious. Ask more questions.
The more you know about your partner, the more you understand and the less like you are to get into misunderstandings. Questions are a powerful communication tool for understanding. They accomplish so much with so little effort.
- Questions show interest. By asking a question, you’re implying that you care. People like it when you demonstrate that you care.
- Questions help to remove confusion and ambiguity. Rather than make assumptions and potentially create a bigger issue, just ask a question and verify what is happening.
- Questions aren’t a lot of work. Just ask the question, be quiet, and listen. You can be quite the skilled conversationalist just by asking a couple of good questions. Asking good questions can make all of your relationships more rewarding.
It has been said that half of communication is listening, but the truth is, ALL communication involves listening. Listening to what they say as well as being aware of your own words are both parts of the communication process.
- Start by listening to your own words. So many of us start spewing out responses before thinking and without listening to our own words. Listen to what you are saying and decide whether it is appropriate and responsive to what your partner is saying.
- When it’s your partner’s turn to talk, listen. Most people don’t really listen. Listening is often seen as simply what you do while waiting for another opportunity to talk. This is a huge mistake if your intent is to develop a relationship. People notice whether you’re truly “hearing” them or just waiting for your turn to talk.
- Developing listening skills that allow us to hear and understand what the other person is trying to tell us is the key to every lasting relationship.
3. Communicate your needs.
The other side of asking questions is letting your partner know about you. Very few people are gifted mind readers, so don’t make it difficult for your partner to know what you need from them. Tell them! Either pretending you don’t have needs or believing that your partner should automatically know those needs are is unrealistic and will only cause resentment and anger. Make it easy for others to help you and to make you happy.
- Communicating your needs is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your relationship.
- Be loving and patient when communicating your needs. Aggressively demanding is not, in the long run, the most productive way to get what you want.
4. Spend more time together.
It’s important to share some of the same experiences. It helps you to learn more about each other and gives you something to talk about.
- Shared experiences provide an environment for bonding and intimacy.
- Although group activities can be fun and are definitely part of the shared experience, one on one activities where you are directly involved with each other are even better bond creating experiences and more likely to help you learn about each other, your likes, dislikes, and how you respond to certain situations.
- The more time you spend together, the more shared memories you create that allow you to reminisce on later and remind yourselves why you enjoy being with this person.
5. Avoid assumptions.
It could be said that the opposite of communication is assumption. Assumptions create unnecessary, additional challenges in relationships. It’s easier to be 100% certain than to guess. Assumptions lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
- If you’re not sure about something, be curious and ask. And then listen for the answer.
6. Address actions and situations rather than attack your partner.
If your partner is doing something you don’t like, specifically tell them what they are doing and why it is a problem. This is much more effective than assuming they are personally assaulting you and then attacking them in response.
- No one likes to be attacked.
- The chances are that they are not intending to hurt you and what they are doing is either out of ignorance or misunderstanding.
- Defensively responding shuts down communication and creates animosity.
7. Have fun together.
Do fun activities together. Emotionally speaking, when you create an ample supply of good times together, it often helps overcome the inevitable rough patches that you will go through together. Do things together that are enjoyable whenever possible and reasonable.
- Communication is easier when everyone is having a good time.
- You’ll like each other more if you can have fun with each other.
- If most of the time you spend together is miserable, or, tolerable at the best, your communication and your relationship will suffer and likely not last long.
Better communication with our partners is something that we know we need, but it’s not always obvious how to accomplish it.
Fortunately, the basics are easy to accomplish. Spend more meaningful time together, focus on being an excellent listener, and communicate your needs. These simple steps can enhance your relationship significantly.
A meaningful relationship is worth the effort. Make your communication with your partner a priority.