Conversation Hearts: 4 Ways to Promote Effective Communication With The One(s) You Love
As a relationship and sex therapist the number one issue I see with my patients is a disconnect in communication. Many times couples and those in multiple partner(s) relationships have been together so long that they forget or become complacent about how they speak to their loved ones. Have you noticed you and your partner(s) are fussing or yelling more often? Are y’all arguing over the same things? It happens, and it can be normal that those in relationships need a reset to enhance their communication skills. Below are four ways to improve how you speak to one another. Are you ready to LOVE?
Listen. Are you really listening to your partner(s)? Sometimes that eye to eye with the occasional head nod does not mean you are really listening to understand what they are saying. Really understand that if your partner(s) is/are coming to you with a concern. They deserve your full undivided attention when trying to get their point across. You also owe it yourself to have a fulfilling relationship, and that means being attentive to your partner(s). One tool I often give to my relationship patients is to paraphrase what their partner(s) has/have said before giving a rebuttal to ensure you actually heard what the other has said, and to give them the ability to clarify their statement before you give yours. Also watch your tone. Often in communication when one person changes their tone, the other will follow.
Observe Their Body Language. The art of communication is more than words. We were given various senses for a reason. Apply those to observing your partner(s). Where are they when engaging you in conversation? Observe your partner(s) to see if they are pacing back and forward, have their arms crossed or even avoiding eye contact. All of these are factors could be an indicator that y’all are not in a good headspace. At the same time if they agree to sit close to you, or even touch you while conversing they may be more receptive to what you have to contribute to the conversation. That’s why it is important for you to really pay attention to them so that you know how to respond to their needs.
Value What They Have To Say. Understand that if your partner(s) has come to you with an issue, it is serious to them. Even if it feels like nagging it is important for you to be that sounding board to your partner(s) so that they know they can honestly come to you with a problem, to find the solution. This again goes back to respect, and giving your partner(s) what they deserve from you. I’m a firm believer that people do not argue for the sake of arguing, especially in relationships. Most of the time if someone is fussing over the same things they feel as though they have not been heard, which equates that their words have no value. That is literally a slap in the face.
Encourage Conversation. Once you are ready to apply the first three tips it is important to validate your partner(s) by encouraging conversation. Normalize them being able to come to you if they have an issue they want to address. It is important that your partner(s) knows that y’all are a team, and part of strengthening the team is to have meaningful conversation. The best way to do this is by modeling these actions.
Changing the way you look at communication can be difficult. It is important to know your communication style, as well your partner(s). This means knowing how to deescalate a conversation when it is heated, and validating your partner(s) when they are not feeling heard. It is ok to table a subject matter until y’all are both in the headspace to apply LOVE. Try these tips and see if it helps. Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!
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