Recently, I wrote an article about people who need their partner to make them happy. It struck me how each time there is a problem in a relationship, non-communication is usually the issue. It’s easy to tell people that they need to communicate more, especially when there are issues, but how do you do this?
Speak Their Language – If you absolutely need to tell your partner how you feel about something, then you have to do it in a way that doesn’t cause them to become defensive. You will end up yelling at each other and throwing blame around like water on a house fire — or the conversation will become one-sided. If you know that the other person is sensitive, try asking rather than ordering. Say, “Would you mind if we had a chat?” Instead of, “We need to talk.” Use the words they would use in conversation and regularly monitor how the conversation is going by asking, “Are you okay to keep talking about this?”
Keep the Conversation Light – There really is no reason for anyone to argue. Most civilized people are able to have a conversation without raising voices and laying blame. You can bring lightness into a conversation by saying, “Honey, I love you,” when things are getting heated. It takes the stress out of the conversation and let’s you take a break and bring softness back into the relationship.
Watch Body Language – If your partner begins to fold their arms and cross their legs while you talk, you can probably deduce that things aren’t going too well. Take a break and say you are going to get a drink or going to the toilet. Give them time to relax without you being there, and then re-gather your thoughts. If you feel it may be time to end the conversation until later, come back and begin a completely non-related, lighter topic until your partner relaxes and ask them when would suit them to continue the previous conversation. In other words, let them lead.
Pick Your Place – If you want to have a conversation with your partner, make sure it’s in private. Don’t choose a public area where everyone can hear you, or a time when kids or family is around. Choose a relaxed setting and make sure you’re both comfortable. If you’re just trying to get conversation happening in a relationship, without any specific agenda, try some pillow talk. This is talk at night, in bed, about any topic. The only rule is that it can’t be a debatable topic that could lead to an argument.
Set Up Talk Time – I was at a wedding recently, and it came out in the speeches that the parents of the bride come home every night, have a drink together, and talk about their day. They refuse to let anything or anyone interfere with this time, and they say that communicating like this every day is what has kept their marriage together after 45 years.
There are a lot of couples that won’t agree on things in life. This is something that you are going to have to accept and live with, if you want your relationship to work out for the best. But being able to talk together about little things, big things and all the in between things, is what will help your relationship survive over time.
How do you communicate in your relationship? Do you have date nights or talk time? Share your communication ideas below.