How to Improve Communication in Your Relationship

Couple enjoying coffee.
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Do you ever feel as though your partner doesn’t really listen to you? Have you had to repeat yourself to him or her on multiple occasions? Or has your partner expressed concern that he or she doesn’t truly feel heard by you? The ability to communicate effectively with your partner is at the very core of a happy, healthy, and strong relationship. So whether you’re feeling as though you’re not getting through to your partner or if your partner is the one who’s feeling unheard, there are steps you can take right now to improve the communication between the both of you—and improve your relationship in the process.

1. Be in the moment with your partner.

In order to communicate more successfully with your partner, the first step is to be truly present when you’re with one another. In other words, it’s time to switch your attention away from your phone and switch off the television so that you and your partner can really focus on each other and what you're expressing. After all, if you’re constantly looking at your phone, watching videos, or thinking about a project at work while trying to have a conversation with your partner, it’s not surprising that one or both of you may feel unheard and unhappy. On the flip side, committing to being in the moment when you’re together and freeing yourselves from distractions and interruptions can instantly help to boost your connection and communication with one another.

2. Pay attention to more than just words.

If you’re looking to improve your communication with your partner, it’s also important to pay close attention to not only what your partner is saying, but how he or she’s saying it.

For example, what’s his or her body language? Are his or her arms crossed? What’s his or her tone when he or she’s talking to you? Does he or she sound upbeat and positive or upset and frustrated? When your goal is to improve the communication with your partner, paying attention to how he or she’s expressing him or herself can help to further clue you in regarding what’s truly on his or her mind.

 

3. Stop interrupting your partner.

An additional key component to improving the communication in a relationship is to refrain from interrupting each other. In fact, if you typically cut your partner off mid-sentence or tend to find yourself jumping in with your own thoughts, ideas, and suggestions before your partner has had a chance to finish, neither of you will truly be heard. However, if you let your partner take the time to fully express and complete his or her thoughts and wait until he or she’s finished before crafting a response, you’ll be able to have a real conversation with one another. In a word, it’s time to stop talking over each other and start listening instead.

4. Work on your listening skills.

Speaking of listening, another key way to improve your communication with your partner is to take a moment before responding to your partner so that you can fully comprehend what’s been said to you. You shouldn’t be afraid to rephrase, rearticulate, and ask questions about what he or she’s expressed so that you’re better able to understand your partner. In other words, making sure that you and your partner are on the same page can help to prevent many fights, misunderstandings and mix-ups in the future.

In a word, if you’re unclear about something that your partner has expressed, it’s clearly in your best interest to take the time to clarify it.   

5. Open up to your partner.

Another step toward improving your communication in your relationship is to be open and honest with your partner. In fact, opening up to your partner and being able to fully express your hopes, dreams, and fears is at the core of effective communication. And if you’re not willing or able to say what’s truly on your mind, then your relationship will stay at a superficial level because you’re shutting your partner out and putting up walls between the two of you. However, when you make the decision to be forthright, open, and emotionally vulnerable, your communication and connection with your partner will improve along with the bond you share.