Communication is fundamental to every relationship. It is also the most common reason couples give when relationships end. Still communication is a difficult skill that requires hard work to accomplish effectively. Follow these steps to communicate in a relationship.
- Know how you and your partner communicate. No matter what you have heard, talking is only one small form of communication. The touches, expressions and body language reactions that you and your partner share are integral parts of your communication that are often forgotten when people try to work on communication for their relationship. For instance, do you lean away when you are nervous about telling your girlfriend something? Are you a woman who plays with her hair when she wants to flirt and get cozy? Start by getting familiar with the way you and your partner communicate.
- Choose the time to communicate. The stereotypical girlfriend or wife who tries to talk to her man while he is watching the game is a cliché for a reason. Consider this as a warning. Select an appropriate time for communicating, not when either partner is working, watching sports or involved in a book, movie or hobby. This is especially necessary if you are planning a serious conversation.
- Listen. More than half of communicating is being able to listen. It is not enough to hear what your partner says. You have to be willing to listen and watch. Hear what your partner says, think about it, watch and interpret their body language and once you've done all three, you have started to listen to what your partner is communicating.
- Interpret signals. Body language is part of how you communicate so you need to pay attention. The glares, stares, smiles, touches, leans, shrugs and posture shared between a couple are part of the communication. These signals are how you can share a joke across a room or let your partner know you love him with just a glance. Pay attention to the signals so you can interpret the messages your partner is sending.
- Try a practice session. During a set time, try to sit down with your partner and try this exercise. Each person should make a single declarative statement. It doesn't matter what you say, just say something that matters to you. Then the other partner should respond by summarizing what was said then responding with his or her opinion about the statement. This practice gets you in the habit of listening and paying attention.
- Talk openly. The final step of this process is to communicate verbally. This is the time when you talk. Through talking to your partner openly about your thoughts, feelings and goals, you can establish and maintain the trust your relationship needs to thrive.
Your willingness to communicate in a relationship is the first step to a healthy relationship. Follow these steps so you can communicate in the way that works for your relationship.