A lot of couples struggle with poor communication and learning how to communicate better with your partner is often a tough nut to crack.
For some couples, verbal communication is effortless but for others, it’s the most difficult problem to tackle in their relationship.
The truth is, knowing how to communicate effectively in a relationship is hard.
Having meaningful conversations with your partner can sometimes feel like a daunting task that seems impossible to carry out.
The number one challenge most couples have is knowing how to discuss relationship problems without fighting.
Sometimes you don’t know what to say or how to say it to prevent conflict. Finding the right words to convey your thoughts is often a puzzle.
And it seems like getting to know your partner or expressing your real feelings is a little bit more complicated than you expected. I totally get it!
When I first started dating my husband, it was difficult to be open and vulnerable about our feelings.
We often kept secrets from each other and there were a few white lies we told because we wanted to avoid criticism and judgement.
Eventually, our relationship started becoming unhealthy and a little bit aggressive.
We realized that the only way to give our relationship a chance to be successful was to either work on our communication patterns or sign up for couples counseling.
I’m so glad we made the decision to improve our communication because it has been a major turning point for us.
These days, we talk like best friends and our communication is effortless.
Of course, we still have a few arguments here and there but it never transforms into a full-blown heated argument that gets out of hand.
If you’re struggling to connect with your significant other and you want to know how to communicate effectively in your relationship, you’re in the right place.
In this article, you’ll find 10 practical tips on how to communicate better with your partner so you can have a healthier relationship.
10 BEST TIPS ON HOW TO COMMUNICATE BETTER IN A RELATIONSHIP
Effective communication involves knowing your communication styles, sharpening your listening skills and practicing empathy towards each other.
Couples in successful relationships have great communication because they worked on it; it didn’t just happen overnight.
Your communication issues won’t just go away unless you’re both willing to work on them as a couple.
The first step in eradicating bad communication in your relationship is to engage in small talk with your partner on a regular basis.
When you can comfortably talk about irrelevant things, it would be much easier to hold conversations about important topics.
If you want to learn how to communicate better in a relationship, use these communication tips as a guide to foster more meaningful conversations with your partner.
1. Find the right time and place
The main cause of communication problems in a relationship is talking at the wrong time or place.
Not all discussions are meant to be had when you’re preoccupied with something else.
It’s okay to have a little chit chat when you’re cooking or washing the dishes but deep conversations should begin at the right time and place if you want it to be successful.
Avoid bringing up important discussions when your partner is in the shower, rushing off to work, watching TV, or just returning back from work.
Find a more suitable time to start a deep conversation with your partner.
If your significant other looks angry, stressed, tired, or hungry, don’t talk to them in that state unless they really want to.
The best way to have better conversations with your partner is to wait until the moment is right before you start them.
When you try to talk about critical issues when you’re both busy, you won’t achieve any good results and you might end up feeling frustrated.
2. Know your communication styles
Do you know that men and women have different communication styles?
The way you communicate may be entirely different from the way your partner communicates and if you don’t know this, you’re going to end up in a lot of bottlenecks when you try to talk to each other.
For most women, they’re emotional and expressive with words when they communicate.
That’s why we can go on and on about one problem instead of going straight to the issue at hand.
We often do this because we want our partner to understand exactly what we’re saying and it feels so good to get rid of difficult emotions by talking.
Men, on the other hand, prefer to hit the nail on the head because they’re solution-oriented.
They don’t mean to dismiss you but they find it easier to focus on the solution instead of talking about the problem for several hours.
Of course, this is not the case for everyone so it’s important to study your significant other and know how they communicate best.
According to renowned relationship expert, Dr. John Gottman, there are four communication styles that predict divorce or the end of a relationship.
Being able to identify these toxic styles of communication is an important step in eliminating them so that they can be replaced with healthier communication patterns.
Does your partner look impatient when you try to elaborate in your discussions or do they patiently listen to you while you explain every single topic in detail?
Identifying your communication styles will help you solve problems faster and connect with each other on a deeper level.
If you discover that you have toxic communication styles, the best way to fix this is to work with a certified therapist.
3. Be open and honest about your needs
Being vulnerable is one of the best ways to deepen intimacy and strengthen your bond as a couple.
In a healthy relationship, communication shouldn’t be one-sided, violent, or non-existent.
When there is no open communication, it would be difficult to trust each other because people tend to assume a lot.
And when the wrong assumptions are made, bigger relationship problems often occur.
When people assume, they do so because they don’t ask the right questions or talk things through with each other.
Most relationship problems linger for too long because of lack of communication and proper understanding.
I know that there are many happy couples who don’t need to probe for answers because they intuitively know what they want.
But if you’ve not gotten to that point with your partner yet, it’s good to learn how to communicate more clearly with each other.
Even if you’re both mind readers, knowing exactly how your partner feels in every moment is nearly impossible.
A healthy way to get rid of assumptions is to talk to your partner openly and ask the right questions. Don’t lie or hide secrets from each other.
The only way you’re going to have a better relationship is to be open and honest in everything you do.
4. Be specific in your conversations
Do you tend to digress a lot when you talk because you’re trying to make your partner understand you better?
This is a good tactic that can be used in conversations but sometimes, it often leads to confusion and a lack of understanding especially when you’ve said too much.
One of the most effective communication skills you can practice is to be specific in your conversations.
Don’t always try to be clever with words if you’re talking with your partner. It’s best to go straight to the point and say what’s on your mind.
You can be playful if you’re having idle chit chat or casual talk but if it’s an important conversation, be straightforward and avoid using puns or sarcastic words.
There is really no need in telling a long story when you can pass your message across in a few sentences.
If you keep beating around the bush every time you want to communicate with your significant other, they may not take you seriously when you have something important to say.
This is why it’s important to know your communication styles.
Instead of criticizing your partner about their lack of assistance or complaining about all the tasks you have to do every day, be specific and tell them that you need more help around the house.
Being specific in your conversations can save you a lot of time and energy, so practice doing it more often.
5. Take control of your emotions
When conversations become hostile, it’s often because one person failed to practice self-control.
Your body language and the tone of voice you use when communicating with your partner is important. And I can’t stress this enough.
The moment you raise your voice and start yelling, know that the chance to have a successful conversation is officially over.
Communication is a two-way street that involves active listening skills, mutual respect, and freedom of speech.
When you add aggression, stonewalling, and hurt feelings into the mix, it results into unhealthy communication because you barely get any good results.
If you notice negative emotions creeping in while you’re talking to your partner, just take a deep breath and slowly exhale before you say something you’ll regret.
Being in control of your emotions is one of the best healthy communication skills every couple needs to have.
This particular skill can prevent heated arguments, fights, and prolonged conflict in a relationship but it’s not easy to master it.
If anger management is something you want to work on with your partner, consider signing up for couples therapy.
There are so many different ways you can be assertive without being aggressive toward your partner.
And one of the best ways to do that is to watch the tone of your voice when you’re talking to your significant other.
Avoid becoming dramatic and letting your conversations go out of hand. People start yelling when they become angry or defensive about something.
The key to knowing how to communicate your needs to your partner is to always calm down first so you can be heard and understood.
If you control your emotions by taking deep breaths and speaking calmly, you’ll steer the conversation in the right direction.
6. Practice empathy towards your partner
Most couples talk to each other by blaming and finger-pointing rather than showing empathy towards each other.
Once you adopt this communication style at the beginning of a new relationship, all your conversations will naturally have the same negative vibe.
If you want to have better communication in your relationship, try not to be too self-absorbed or defensive all the time.
Sometimes, it’s okay to put your partner’s needs first. Having your way all the time can be the undoing of your relationship.
Learn to compromise when it’s necessary but don’t neglect yourself entirely just because you want to please your partner.
Showing some compassion towards your partner and being empathetic can bring you closer together.
Telling your partner “I understand how you feel and I know you’re doing the best you can” will encourage them to calm down and be more open when they’re communicating with you.
If you want to know how to communicate better, try to always understand your partner’s point of view by putting yourself in their shoes and asking yourself if what they’re saying is right or true.
Sometimes we know the truth but we deny it because we don’t want to accept defeat or be proven wrong. This arrogant attitude will only push you both far away from each other.
When everybody is right, it would be difficult to reach a mutual agreement because no one will be willing to compromise for the other.
7. Listen to understand before responding
If you want to communicate better as a couple, you need to have active listening skills. This is non-negotiable for good communication in a relationship.
Active listening means paying attention to what your partner is saying without distractions or interruptions. I know it sounds easy but a lot of couples fail to listen to each other.
If you’re busy scrolling on social media, checking your email, or watching TV while your partner is trying to have a meaningful conversation with you, there is no way you’re going to fully understand them unless you give them your full attention.
Most times when one partner isn’t really listening, the other person knows it and that annoying habit alone can make them angry.
You can let your partner know you’re listening by showing genuine interest in what they’re saying, removing all distractions, maintaining eye contact and nodding your head from time to time.
When your significant other notices that you’re actively listening to them, they’ll be more inclined to talk to you.
If you want to have a successful relationship, you need to be good listeners because it’s only when you listen that you can understand each other better.
8. Don’t make assumptions
It’s human nature to overthink things and assume the worst in almost every situation.
Unless you’re an extreme optimist, you may have done this at least once in your lifetime.
Making assumptions is okay when your romantic partner is away and you need to make the right decision for both of you.
But if they’re present or reachable, a better alternative is to ask your significant other what they need instead of assuming that you know what is right for them.
Don’t ever assume to know exactly what your partner is thinking even if you’re a mind reader.
The key to healthy communication is to listen more and ask open-ended questions that require answers when you’re confused or you need more information about something.
In every situation where you’re unsure about what’s really going on, don’t assume or make up stories in your head.
When you’re in a committed relationship with someone, it’s best to always include them in your decision making process so that they feel accepted and trusted.
9. Don’t judge, criticize, or blame your partner
The temptation to judge, criticize, and blame others is so strong because everyone wants to be right all the time, but this doesn’t end well when it happens in intimate relationships.
When you’re in a romantic relationship and have a fight or misunderstanding with your partner, see it as an opportunity to grow stronger and develop your connection instead of looking for who is at fault.
No one is perfect and someone is always going to make mistakes.
Create a safe place where you can both cope with uncomfortable feelings that occur in your relationship because they’re inevitable.
It’s completely normal and healthy for couples to disagree or have communication issues. But, relationships aren’t about winning or losing because you’re on the same team.
Even if your partner is wrong, don’t criticize or blame them. Doing this can make them disconnect from you if they’re constantly feeling attacked or threatened.
According to recent studies, couples who are each other’s best friend often communicate better than those who aren’t so close.
This is because when someone is your best friend, you fully accept them for who they are without criticism or judgement even when they make mistakes.
When you accuse, criticize, or blame your partner, they’ll automatically go into defense mode where they stop listening to you and instead focus their attention on defending themselves from your attack.
And when someone is being defensive, arguments are bound to happen and it’s impossible to have a successful communication with them in that moment.
Using words like “I feel hurt that you don’t trust me” or “It’s always so stressful doing this alone” is better than saying “It’s all your fault that this is happening to us.”
Be careful with the choice of words you use when talking to your spouse so they don’t feel judged, criticized, or attacked by you.
Make an effort to reconnect and address the underlying issues in your relationship without playing the victim or resorting to the blame game.
There are so many healthy ways to communicate with your spouse without dwelling on their flaws or imperfections.
Don’t put your significant other down for a previous mistake they made. Counting their mistakes won’t make you a better partner so focus on building them up instead.
Remember to validate your partner’s feelings when you communicate and take responsibility for your own actions when things go wrong in your relationship.
10. Agree to disagree later
You may not see this as the best communication model to use in your relationship but it works.
The goal of every couple who wants to build a long-lasting relationship is to stay connected to each other.
This is often difficult to do especially when you’ve just had an argument that didn’t end well.
I know you want to get to the bottom of the issue as fast as possible but sometimes the best way to end a heated discussion and avoid violence is to agree to disagree later.
Most people see this as accepting defeat in a conflict discussion but it isn’t.
Agreeing to disagree simply means you’re taking a break to give each other time to cool off before you bring up the same discussion on a later date.
If you want to avoid conflict in your relationship, learn to agree to disagree with your partner.
Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to do this all the time but it’s necessary to know when to do it.
Insisting on getting an answer right away is often counterproductive if your partner isn’t in the mood to talk anymore.
It’s okay to agree with your partner now so you can discuss the issue some other time.
Taking a temporary break from a heated argument is the first step to healthy conflict management.
A good relationship is like a partnership where two people who have the right skill set work together to achieve success.
If you want to have a happy relationship, you need to see each other as teammates and not opponents.
When you’re on the same team, you’ll work together to make each other happy and fulfilled.
As a couple, focus on cultivating true friendship, better communication, mutual respect, a strong sense of trust, deep intimacy and independence in your relationship.
Do you want to connect more with your partner? Use these conversation starters to open up the communication lines in your relationship.
Learning how to communicate in a relationship takes a lot of effort and practice from both partners.
If you try to improve your communication with these tips and nothing changes in your marriage, consider going for couples counseling with your partner.
You can also improve communication in your relationship by reading books on how to communicate better with a romantic partner.
About The Author
Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life. As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.
She strongly believes communication and intimacy are important in building a successful relationship.
Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.