It goes without saying, communication is key in any relationship. The way couples communicate hugely determines the success of the relationship. And yet, no two couples communicate the same way. 1
As a couple, striving to develop healthy communication habits helps your relationship in the long run. This article will discuss the importance of healthy communication habits and how to develop them.
The importance of effective communication in relationships
Everyone communicates differently; you use your communication style to express yourself, as does your partner. Some rely more on verbal communication, while others rely heavily on non-verbal cues.
This can cause misunderstandings, arguments and lead to a breakdown of communication. Good communication is necessary for any relationship to be successful and healthy. 2
It creates understanding and trust between partners, prevents fights from escalating, and helps foster a deep connection. When a couple communicates effectively, they can better work through arguments and difficult topics without escalating the situation. 3
When you and your partner develop healthy communication habits, it creates an environment of respect and understanding. You are both working together to create an atmosphere that is conducive to the growth of your relationship. 4
Are communication problems getting in the way of your relationship? Learn how effective communication can help create and maintain a strong bond with your partner.
10 tips for developing healthy communication habits
Developing healthy communication habits as a couple takes work, but it’s possible. Here’s how you can get started:
1. Set aside quality time for communication
Find a time to talk with your partner each day, whether in the morning or at night. Make sure that it’s when both of you are relaxed and comfortable, without any distractions.
Turn off the TV, and put away your phones and other devices, as it will only be a distraction. Truly listening to each other and understanding what’s being said is key, so put away all distractions. 5
Want to build a strong romantic relationship? Embrace open communication and learn essential tips to foster trust and intimacy with your partner.
2. Be aware of non-verbal cues and body language
Sometimes, the words we say don’t always match up with our body language. Pay attention to these, as they can speak volumes about what your partner is feeling. 6
Is your partner crossing their arms when you talk, or avoiding eye contact? Or are they leaning in and touching your arm while they talk? These subtle cues help you better understand how your partner is feeling.
Likewise, it’s also helpful to develop an awareness of your body language, as you might be sending the wrong message without even realizing it. Try to stay mindful of your body language so that it reflects what you want to communicate.
3. Avoid multitasking
When you’re having a conversation with your partner, ensure that you’re not multitasking. Multitasking removes the quality of conversation and can make your partner feel unimportant, as the brain can’t focus on two or more things simultaneously. 7
Don’t become distracted by your phone, the TV, or any other activity. This will help you focus on what your partner is saying and make them feel heard and respected.
4. Practice active listening
Active listening is a listening technique where you focus on the speaker and their message. This involves repeating what they said in your own words, asking questions to clarify points, and taking in the conversation. 8
Active listening helps build a connection with your partner, showing that you are engaged and genuinely interested in what they say. It also allows the speaker to feel heard and understood.
Enhance your relationship with the power of active listening. Discover its incredible benefits now!
5. Avoid blaming and being defensive
A surefire way to create tension and stifle communication is to blame your partner or become defensive. No one likes to be told they are “wrong,” as it creates a hostile environment where your partner will be less likely to open up and communicate.
When conflicts inevitably arise, avoid assigning blame and focus on understanding each other’s perspective. Use “I” statements to express your feelings instead of blaming your partner.
For example, “I feel frustrated when you don’t listen to me” is more productive than “You never listen to me”. This encourages a more productive dialogue and prevents arguments from escalating. 9
Learning how to not be defensive is crucial for nurturing emotional intelligence in relationships. Explore the vital role of emotional intelligence in building healthier connections and overcoming defensiveness.
6. Plan date nights
Date nights are a great way to get away from the distractions of everyday life and focus on each other. This is an ideal opportunity to catch up on what’s been happening, talk about any issues without interruption, and make time for each other.
Planning regular date nights helps to strengthen your bond as a couple and allows for more meaningful conversations. And the simple act of planning out something special for your partner reinforces the importance you place on them. 10
7. Encourage open and honest discussions
Everyone has their unique way of communicating, and it’s important to respect that. Encourage open and honest discussions between the two of you, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Try to be open-minded and let go of your biases to hear what your partner is saying. This helps to create an environment of understanding and respect, which is essential for any relationship.
Want to improve communication with your partner? Discover X essential rules for open dialogue in your relationship.
8. Use constructive conflict resolution techniques
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but it doesn’t have to end in a screaming match. There are constructive conflict resolution techniques that you can use to help resolve conflicts productively. 11
These include reflective listening, which involves repeating what you heard and understanding how your partner feels. Acknowledging their perspective helps to show that you understand them and are willing to compromise.
9. Practice empathy and validation
Show your partner that you care about their feelings by being empathetic and validating their emotions. Everyone has moments of feeling overwhelmed or misunderstood, and it’s important to be there for them.
A simple phrase like “I understand how you feel” can show your partner that you care and are willing to listen. Your partner will feel heard and understood, which will ultimately help to strengthen your relationship.
10. Make time for laughter
Humor is an effective way to lighten the mood and make conversations more enjoyable. Sharing a laugh with your partner helps you connect emotionally, making it easier to talk about difficult topics.
When conversations become heated, a light-hearted joke or funny story can be a great way to break the tension and return to a healthier place. Laughter is essential for any relationship, so don’t forget to make time for it! 12
Following these tips will help you cultivate healthy communication habits as a couple, allowing for better understanding and more meaningful conversations. With regular practice, you can foster a strong and lasting bond with your partner. Master the art of communication in relationships with these essential techniques.
The best relationship books to help you survive and thrive
Whether single or in a relationship, it can be tough to navigate the waters of love. These books offer advice and guidance from experts and real-life couples alike, giving you the tools you need to make your relationship work. These books will surely provide some valuable insights if you are looking for a way to spice up your love life or simply learn how to better communicate with your partner.
- Love: The Psychology of Attraction: A Practical Guide to Successful Dating and a Happy Relationship
- Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age
- The Power of Four Bases for Relationships: Can You Hit a Home Run in a Relationship?
- Communication and Relationship: A Guide to Deeper Connection, Trust and Intimacy to Improve Communication and Strengthen Your Bond as a Couple
- Couple's Bucket List: 101 Fun, Engaging Dating Ideas
- ↑ Crowley, A. K. (2006). The relationship of adult attachment style and interactive conflict styles to marital satisfaction (Master's dissertation). Texas AandM University, Houston, TX, United States.
- ↑ Broderick, J. E. (1981). A method for derivation of areas for assessment in marital relationships. American Journal of Family Therapy, 9(2), 25-34.
- ↑ Overall, N. C., & McNulty, J. K. (2017). What Type of Communication during Conflict is Beneficial for Intimate Relationships?. Current opinion in psychology, 13, 1–5. doi.org
- ↑ Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven Principles for Making Marriage work. http://ci.nii.ac.jp/ncid/BB05926466
- ↑ McDaniel, B. T., & Drouin, M. (2019). Daily Technology Interruptions and Emotional and Relational Well-Being. Computers in human behavior, 99, 1–8. doi.org
- ↑ Mehrabian, A. (2016). Silent messages: a wealth of information about nonverbal communication (body language). http://www.kaaj.com/psych/smorder.html.
- ↑ Madore, K. P., & Wagner, A. D. (2019). Multicosts of Multitasking. Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science, 2019, cer-04-19.
- ↑ Weger, H., Bell, G. C., Minei, E., & Robinson, M. J. (2014). The Relative Effectiveness of Active Listening in Initial Interactions. International Journal of Listening, 28(1), 13–31. doi.org
- ↑ Biesen, J. N., Schooler, D. E., & Smith, D. A. (2016). What a difference a pronoun makes: I/We versus you/me and worried couples’ perceptions of their interaction quality. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 35(2), 180-205. doi.org
- ↑ Harasymchuk, C., Walker, D. L., Muise, A., & Impett, E. A. (2021). Planning date nights that promote closeness: The roles of relationship goals and self-expansion. Journal of social and personal relationships, 38(5), 1692–1709.
- ↑ Gurman, A. S. (2008). A framework for the comparative study of couple therapy. In Alan S Gurman (Ed.), Clinical handbook of couple therapy (4th ed., pp. 1-30). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
- ↑ Driver, J. L., & Gottman, J. M. (2004). Daily marital interactions and positive affect during marital conflict among newlywed couples. Family Process, 43(3), 301-314.