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Communication Tips for Couples

Whether you’re in a new relationship, or you’ve been in a relationship for years, being able to communicate with your partner is key.

Whether you’re in a new relationship, or you’ve been in a relationship for years, being able to communicate with your partner is key. It’s also important to be cognizant of where your communication skills strive and where you could improve.

Improving those skills can and will take work, but it’s important to do so to maintain a healthy relationship. These skills will require commitment from both partners to ensure positive daily changes. 

Throughout this article, we will discuss tips to maintain healthy communication or improve communication with your partner.

Be a Good Listener

This may seem obvious, but being an active listener is key in relationship communication. It’s important to understand what your partner is saying and take it all in before responding. Many people listen while already planning what they want to say.

When you listen to understand instead of listening to respond, it allows you to focus on the message your partner is giving you. Ways to listen to understand include:

  • Having a positive attitude
  • Putting your phone down or away
  • Avoid other distractions
  • Make eye contact with them while they’re speaking

Think about what you want to say before you say it

Before rushing to a decision or something to say, it’s important to take a minute to stop and think about not only what you want to say but how you want to say it. Depending on what is going to be said, your partner may react in many ways so here are some things to consider:

  • How will your partner receive the message?
  • How will you react to their reaction? 
  • Is what you’re saying clear and concise? Or is it full of animation and extra emotion?
  • Could what you’re saying be an emotional trigger for one of you?

You’ll also want to avoid definitive statements, including “you never/always say that” or “this is all/always your fault.” While it may feel good to say at the moment, nine times out of ten, this statement is inaccurate, and it will only cause more harm than good. 

photo of a couple smiling and hugging one another in front of a christmas tree

Instead of those statements, try to:

  • focus on specific behaviors or moments that you want to see a change in or you need to address.
  • Use “I” statements to address your feelings instead of what your partner did.
  • Offer a remedy instead of just saying your partner needs to change
  • Admit to any fault or blame you have in the issue

Be open-minded

It’s important to consider your partner’s words and feelings and make an effort to understand. Some struggle with feeling empathetic or sympathetic to situations, and that’s okay. Even if you can’t directly relate to how your partner is feeling, it’s important to understand and accept how they’re feeling. You can do this by:

  • Creating a safe space for them to share their feelings
  • Avoid challenging their feelings and emotions because you can’t relate
  • Ask questions to show you’re engaged in the conversation and to show that you care about how they’re feeling

Compromise

Being able to compromise is critical to positive communication in a relationship. Instead of saying “no” to something, try to explain why you’re unable to do something or offer an alternative plan or solution. For example, you might not be able to go to dinner on Saturday night due to other plans, but you can go on another day or time. Giving your partner options and a fair compromise shows that you care. 

Whether you have good communication or not with your partner, the tips above can help strengthen and improve your relationship with your partner.

If you are interested in couples therapy, feel free to contact us to continue your journey of having a healthy relationship.

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Green Heart Therapy provides in-person psychotherapy for adults, teens, and children in Los Angeles and online therapy across California.