If you’re reading this blog post, you and your partner or you and a friend are struggling in your relationship. Maybe you’ve grown apart because you simply are too busy to spend as much time together. Or maybe you find yourself constantly having the same arguments and fights over and over again.
There are no perfect relationships. Every partnership or friendship goes through difficult times. No matter the good intentions of the individuals or how in love you were when the relationship began, it is completely natural to have struggles, difficulties, and frustrations in your relationships.
In some ways, these trials can be a good thing. Much like you need to break down muscle to build it up stronger than it was before, many relationships can be strengthened by adversity, provided your communication is healthy.
Here are some ways to improve communication in your relationship:
1. Name what is happening.
You can’t solve relational problems if you don’t acknowledge them in the first place.. Don’t deny that something has changed in your relationship. Be honest about it. You may also need to recognize that each of you has changed over the years. No one stays the same, of course. Our desires, needs, ambitions, pet peeves, and so on all change as we mature and grow as people. People can usually accommodate this change as long as they admit it has happened.
2. Affirm the other’s experience.
The point of communicating with your partner is not to prove that you are right or that they are wrong. In the majority of cases, both partners will be right about some things and wrong about others. So it is important that both partners are allowed to feel their feelings. Try not to attack the other person or get them to compromise on their strongly held beliefs. Instead, focus on simply being heard yourself and doing all you can to listen well to the other person.
3. Be open to change.
The purpose of improving communication isn’t to “fix” the other person! Good communication is not about “winning” and “losing.”. Your relationship is not a debate class. Your goal is to better share your thoughts, feelings, ideas, desires, and concerns with each other. Don’t focus so much on getting the other person to change. Instead, focus more on how your own behavior could change.
Controlling your emotions is one of the most important communication skills. How often are you ready to blow when you and your partner are trying to communicate? How does the communication break down once you or your partner have lost your cool?
When communicating with your partner, or anyone, should you feel your emotions rise, stop, take a slow, deep breath, and let it out. Taking this moment is important and will help you not to say something you’ll regret or that will escalate the situation.
None of us are perfect. All we can do is try to be the best versions of ourselves we can be for both ourselves and our loved ones. Following these tips for better communication will improve your relationship with your partner or with friends.
At Chaos to Calm Counseling, we work with couples and individuals to facilitate healthy relationships for the betterment of families and society at large. Learn more about our team, schedule a free consult, or call us at (978) 241-2881.