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6 steps for better communications with your partner

February 1, 2017

We all have misunderstandings and communication blunders with our partners, no matter how happy the relationship is. Here are six tips for improving communications and your relationship with your partner.

1. Schedule time with each other

Set aside a certain amount of time each week to spend together and have this time free from interruptions (put those phones away!) so that you have an opportunity to listen to each other. Apparently, happy couples spend five more hours a week talking than unhappy couples.

2. Use “I” language

When communicating, use "I" messages instead of “you” messages. “You” language can sound very accusatory and put your partner on the defensive, which will turn the conversation sour right off the bat. On the other hand, when you use “I” language, you take responsibility for your own emotions and don’t point the finger at your partner.

There’s a big difference between “You never do your part of the chores!” and “I feel like I have to nag about the chores.”

3. Be clear and direct

Send clear, direct messages about what you feel and what you want. You may spend a lot of time together, but your partner cannot read your mind. Also, don’t assume you know your partner’s thoughts and motivations.

You may notice the dirty floors and that your child is struggling with her homework, but your partner may not. Don’t just assume he won’t pitch in when he starts watching TV instead. Don’t get upset but be clear and direct: point out the work that must be done and say that you cannot do it all by yourself.

4. Rephrase to make sure you understand what is being said

When conversation seems vague, rephrase it in words of your own. This way you can make sure that what you think your partner has said is, in fact, what your partner means or is trying to say.

5. Share emotions

Talking about your feelings (even the embarrassing ones) is one of the most effective ways to build trust, openness, and closeness in your relationship.

6. Give positive feedback to each other

Commenting on things that you like about each other, and openly appreciating what you do for each other builds closeness. Try to find something each day that your spouse has done that you appreciate, that you enjoy, or that you respect, and share that with your spouse.

Would you like to learn more? Our couples communication workshop helps you understand your communication styles and patterns so you can recognize what needs to change for a successful relationship.