There may be times when you think that you are talking with your significant other, when they may feel that you are talking at them. Effective communication can really help to get your point across whether it is in a normal conversation or an argument.
The first step in getting ready to speak your mind is also being prepared to listen. One of the biggest breakdowns in communication is that many people are only staying quiet long enough so that once it’s their turn they can speak their mind, and not necessarily listening to what the other person has to say. It is important to remember that if you want to be heard, then the other person probably does too.
Next it is important to be completely honest and open with your significant other. It is difficult to talk to someone who is closed off, because it can quickly feel like you are hiding something, making it harder to be honest and open with you. But it is very important to deliver the message in as safe a way as possible, avoiding all shame, blame and criticism. Shame, blame and criticism will only engender your partner’s defenses.
As we all know, discussions can easily turn into arguments. When arguments come up, people have a tendency to bring up things that do not have anything to do with the topic at hand. You start off talking about something very personal and suddenly you’re arguing over who let the dog out last. It’s hard enough to be in an argument, but it’s even harder when old arguments are brought up. Piling on old arguments tends to side track the orginal issue and make your partner feel threatened. Consistently staying on the original subject will help to build more safety in your relationship.
Another big thing to keep in mind is how easily emotions can get in the way of communicating effectively. While it’s never healthy to bottle up your emotions, it will help to take a moment and calm yourself down if you are angry or upset. It is almost impossible to effectively communicate to others, and also effectively listen, if you feel like a bomb waiting to go off. If you are in a reactive place, then, it is much better to come back to the discussion at a time when you both are more calm. But if you agree to postpone the discussion it is important for the health of your relationship to follow through.
Be ready to compromise, no matter how much you feel like you are right and the other person is wrong. It will never work in your favor to argue just to be right or keep score. There is an old saying, “You can be right or you can be in a relationship. Take your pick.”
Sometimes, humor can help lighten the mood and help to put things into perspective.
Lastly, remember that you can also communicate through your actions. Too many times we only focus on the verbal part of communication, but remember that actions speak louder than words. Sometimes if you just take the time to show your significant other you’re thinking about them, it will mean more than the words you may have to say later. Be intentional about bringing positive energy into the relationship through caring behaviors, having fun, saying appreciations and positive surprises. Be vigilant about catching your partner do something right and appreciate it!
Communication is important and it can easily make or break a relationship, so remember these tips the next time you need to really communicate with your significant other.