Communication is the key to a relationship

There is no doubt, relationships take a lot of work. Having a partner you like and care about, it shouldn’t be a lot work to pay attention to what he has to say. When it is work to be around your partner, then there is a problem. It’s time to talk openly about your feelings […]

Love + Sex Relationship Advice Bill Coleman, PhD

Communication is the key to a relationshipThere is no doubt, relationships take a lot of work. Having a partner you like and care about, it shouldn’t be a lot work to pay attention to what he has to say. When it is work to be around your partner, then there is a problem. It’s time to talk openly about your feelings and listen to what each other have to say.

The part of communication that is often missed is learning how to listen. Listening to what your partner has to say and understanding their feelings is really important. People think that they are listening, but most people are really not good at it. People hear what they want to hear, or what they expect to hear. Listening takes skills and much more attention than talking.

When your partner is talking, you need to act like they are the most important person in the world, and that everything they have to say is important. When you both feel heard and understood, it brings couples closer together.

When listening, you need to clear your own thoughts and focus on what your partner is telling you. Don’t think about what you are going to say next. Think about the message behind the words. To make sure you are understanding what your partner is telling you, paraphrase back to them what you believe they are saying.

It’s also important to respond to what you are hearing by relating back and giving your own feedback. It is acceptable to respond with:

  • This sounds important to you.
  • It bugs you when I…
  • You would like to do…

The attempt to show you understand what is being told to you will result in further explanation; so you can both clearly know what the situation is, and how to come to a resolution.

If what your partner is telling you is not important to you, then it could be a signal that your relationship is in trouble.

Another part of communication is delivering the full message. If you suggest to your partner to go away for the weekend, it’s better to give them all your thoughts and feeling around the trip, the purpose, why it’s important to you, and what you hope to get out of it as a result. When you explain the whole message, your partner can have a better understanding of your expectations and why you are suggesting the trip.

It’s not uncommon for people to get right to the point and to leave out how they have reached their own conclusion. The thought process is important to share with your partner. You should assume that your partner likes you, wants to understand you as much as possible, and that they want a deeper understanding of your main message.

Communication is simple. Remember to not interrupt when the other person is speaking, and stop what you are doing so you can pay full attention.

Growing and developing a relationship shouldn’t be difficult. Always be honest. Don’t lie or protect them from information you feel that your partner may not want to know. When couples keep secrets from each other, it adds a barrier and a separation. Dealing with difficult subjects should be a priority; not ignoring them, hoping they will go away.

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