In my daily work counseling couples, I often see several negative patterns in their communication which causes conflict and decreases emotional intimacy in their relationships. In this blog, I will share 5 communication tips for couples to keep in mind.
5 communication tips for couples
- Realize that you and your partner are two separate people who are very unique in many ways. You perceive and cope with problems and stress in different ways based on your backgrounds, personalities, current mood, and coping styles. Unfortunately, your partner does not come with an “owner’s manual”, so you have to be patient and try to learn how they operate under times of stress. Asking your partner specific questions about “why” he or she is reacting and “how” they’re feeling is crucial to understanding them on a deeper level.
- Take personal responsibility for your part of the problems. If there is an argument or disagreement, stop and ask yourself “why is this bothering me?” and “how am I reacting?” Remember, you are solely responsible for your emotional reactions – not your partner. Take time to get in touch with your feelings before reacting.
- Avoid blaming. When we blame our partner for problems or how we feel, we shut down the communication with them. They feel judged and under attack. Blaming and defensiveness are the main barriers couples encounter in their communication. It keeps us locked into the circular, never-ending, argument pattern and we never find any resolution.
- Stay focused on one problem at a time. Often, when an argument begins and we feel the need to justify our point of view, we pull things from the past into the argument. This can cause the discussion to go off-topic and can quickly become about everything your partner has done wrong. Statements such as “you always, you never”, etc. should be avoided. Keep things simple and discuss one issue at a time.
- Be careful not to jump to conclusions about your partner’s actions or read into what they have said. Try to keep an open mind and ask yourself, “What could be some other reasons why they are saying or doing this?” Again, ask questions and listen.
Next month, I will be sharing additional tips to help improve your communication with your partner.