Helpful Tips for a Healthier Relationship
By: Clara Perez
While most long-term couples have already navigated through the early communication stages of their relationship, there is always room for improvement for both newbies and veterans.
Some helpful tips may serve as reminders for some or brand new lessons for others on how to effectively talk and listen to your significant other.
Active listening is a communication tip that is essential to any relationship, whether it’s romantic or platonic. Sometimes when talking to your partner, you may physically be in the room but mentally, somewhere else.
This impedes your ability to actively listen to what he/she has to say and provide helpful feedback. Especially in the case of an argument, you may just be waiting to share your next point or fire back with an unnecessary remark, which means you are not really hearing what concerns your partner is voicing.
Active listening means making a concentrated effort to slow down your own brain and listen to your partner with open ears, heart and mind.
Editing your partner’s criticism is vital- we often want to share our opinions with our significant other, but we sometimes unintentionally critique their personal attributes. This can lead to animosity and anger from your other half which can easily spiral into a blowout argument.
However, if we edit the criticism to make it situational and not based on your partner’s qualities or characteristics, not only can a fight be avoided but new conclusions may be reached and new ideas may be forged.
Seek first to understand then to be understood; this may just be the golden rule of communication with your partner, or anyone for that matter. We often focus our attention on being understood and getting our point across, but this often blocks the communication pathway for someone else who just wants to reach the same understanding as you.
If we make a shift to focusing our attention on the feelings of someone else before our own, we may change the dynamic and lead the way for a new and better path of communicating.
Use “I” statements instead of being hostile and confrontational. When upset, we as humans often find ways to blame others and speak using “you” statements, like “you make me feel badly when…” or “you always do this…”.
These only project blame on your partner and will probably cause them to find a way to blame you as a response. However, if you begin to use “I” statements like “I really feel badly when…” or “I feel like I can’t communicate with you when…,” it helps to eliminate the blame game and may be a better way to talk out issues without getting heated.
Asking open-ended questions is another tip to help eliminate the blame game and to strike up a more in-depth conversation between you and your partner. Sometimes without conscious effort, we ask questions that have a simple answer and then wonder why the other person isn’t formulating a conversation.
This is usually because our questions are not open-ended which doesn’t allow for further conversation. If you ask questions like “can you think of new ways to…”, which can not only start a deep and meaningful conversation, but it can also allow your significant other to openly share their thoughts or feelings with you.
Stay calm and be gentle. Always remember that when you stay calm, it can stop the conversation from going south or getting heated and it may help your partner feel more comfortable sharing things with you. If you can manage to stay calm in a tough situation, it can seriously change your partner’s perception of you for the better!
Also, be gentle. Whether you’re dealing with a male or a female, we all have feelings even though some of us don’t ever want to admit it or show it. Be gentle with your partner despite the facade they may display on a daily basis. Always take their feelings into account because theirs are just as important as your own.
Categories: Sex and Relationships