You will all agree with me that Relationships don’t exist in a vacuum. They exist between two emotional human beings who bring their own past experiences, history, and expectations into it. Over time these expectations can strain a relationship and you may feel like your partner doesn’t care because they don’t act the way you think they should. It can make it sound like relationships will inevitably deteriorate, but in the corner of relationships lie communication. And it is one of the most critical elements in understanding each other and harmonizing your expectations.
Even though most people don’t know how to communicate which brings a lot of conflicts and misunderstandings in relationships, the good news is that communication is a skill that can be learned.
WHAT HEALTHY COMMUNICATION REALLY MEANS.
The most common myth about communication in relationships is that since you talk to your partner, and you share the same space a lot of the time, you automatically communicate. But communication is much more than talking and hearing what the other person is saying. It is paying attention, getting your point across clearly, understanding your partner, validating their perspective and getting through to each other in a constructive way. Also, what you talk about is very necessary. If it is always the surface topics: How are you today? How is your work?’ Asking these questions all the time is not bad but that alone can’t make you a healthy communicator. A healthy communication is far from the basic elements. As we move along we will get to know if we are indeed guilty of bad communication in our relationship or not.
SOME INDICATORS OF BAD COMMUNICATION
No matter how long you have been together, even small misunderstandings become mountains when your communication is deficient. Ineffective communication will cause partners to fire insults, retreat from the situation and even emotionally detach from each other.
These are indicators that show that you are struggling with communication in your relationship;
1. You are having trouble getting through to your partner.
2. You talk about the same issue over and over again without coming to an agreement.
3. You seem unable to have a decent conversation without turning it into an argument.
4. You fear to bring up certain topics because you know it will only end in misunderstanding.
5. You do not talk meaningfully about anything anymore.
1. Just do it: Communicate!
We are so busy at our daily activities that we sometimes forget to have time to talk and tell our partners exactly what is on our minds.
Also, sometimes, even when we have the time, we do not want to open up and say that thing that is bothering us to our partners. It is difficult to discuss some subjects, and we are tempted to avoid them. Thinking that when we shut down our feelings, it will be more appealing than having a heated discussion. But the truth is you don’t Know how to communicate. Other times we simply expect our partners to know what we are doing, thinking or what we want. Please they are not mind readers, speak up.
The risk with this approach is that the tension will continue building and eventually one of you will snap. It is much better to get things out in the open regularly rather than waiting to have big rows that might damage your relationship. Imagine another guy is interested in you and sometimes he sends you gifts even though you didn’t ask for them. You feel like my partner is the jeolous type and you couldn’t open up to him and he find out….. You know what will happen already.
So the first strategy to enhancing a healthy communication is simple: try to speak up (even when it seems tough, not the right time or not important).
2. Listen actively
One of the most critical aspects of communication is listening. Most times, communication between couple entails each partner trying to get their point across.
A healthy and effective communication demands that you become a good listener. To be a good listener, you need to do active listening to what your partner is saying rather than just being quiet. Most people are present physically and quiet when their partners are talking but most often they are not listening because their minds are far away. Listening is a skill that calls for you to develop a genuine interest in what your partner is saying. Be curious about your partner’s point of view rather than trying to anticipate every situation.
Active listening involves;(Do’s)
1. Paying attention to your partner.
2. Tolerating your silence.
3. Paying attention to your partner’s nonverbal communication.
4. Reflecting and paraphrasing what your partner is saying: I hear you say you feel angry when I ……….. Is that what you are saying?
1. Daydreaming and thinking about other things while your partner is talking.
2. Thinking of what you will say next.
3. Judging what your partner is saying.
4. Listening with another objective other than to understand your partner.
3. Pay attention to your non-verbal behavior.
A study revealed that nonverbal communication accounts for 55 percent of how you and your partner understand your message. Communication is much more than what you say. In addition to words, you also communicate through:• Tone of voice• Eye contact• Your gestures• Posture• Facial expression• Nodding• Clenched jaw• Rolling eyes and many more
If you ignore your nonverbal communication, you may not know that you are communicating messages of anger, distress, disgust or disrespect, and your partner will react to them accordingly.
The greatest problem with communication is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply. Please you will never come into an agreement if you always listen to reply. Try to listen to understand your partner. Remember he or she is your best friend.
Meaning of some nonverbal behaviors• Folded arms in front of a person may mean they’re feeling defensive or closed off.• Lack of eye contact may mean they’re not really interested in what you’re saying, are ashamed of something, or find it difficult to talk about something.• Louder, more aggressive tone may mean the person is escalating the discussion and is becoming very emotionally involved. It might also suggest they feel like they’re not being heard or understood.• Someone who’s turned away from you when talking to you may mean disinterest or being closed off.
All the while you’re reading your partner’s nonverbal signals, be aware of your own. Make and maintain eye contact, keep a neutral body stance and tone to your voice, and sit next to the person when you’re talking to them.
4. Show respect
It is essential to maintain and express respect for your partner at all times. It is always important to put the feelings of your partner before your needs so that you can have a harmonious understanding of each other ( in terms of feelings and needs).
Even when you are arguing, be careful what you say and how you say it. An angry or dejected partner is less likely to engage in a conversation in a healthy manner. Remember, you cannot take back words that you have already uttered. Whatever you said out of anger will continually linger in your partner’s ears. You know when you are angry you won’t say anything good right?. The best respect you can show to your partner is to know the kind of words you utter even when you are angry.
5. Spend quality time together.
Connectedness and communication go together. Having fun together brings you and your partner closer. The closer you are, the more you are inclined to share your innermost thoughts and feelings. Pick a common hobby, have regular date nights, spend time together trying to talk about the Do’s and Don’ts you fingered out in the relationship and always come to a consensus .The more fun you have, the more you will communicate.
6. Be honest with each other
Great communication is anchored on honesty. Speak up when you are hurting, or you disagree with your partner.
Do not pretend to be happy or alright if you are not. Honesty will help you and your partner to solve problems more efficiently.
7. Ensure the timing is correct 👩❤️💋👨👩❤️👨
While you want to tell your partner everything, it is wise to find the correct time to do so. If it doesn’t seem to be the right time, hold on until you find a time and place that is most appropriate.
Something that may be rejected if you express it now may be actually heard or considered by your partner if you bring it up at a different time. But that doesn’t mean you should wait for ever. Create the atmosphere that is favourable for the discussion. Bear in mind that atmosphere can be created by the choice of words you use to present the issue before your partner. Avoid using attacking words. For instance you saw your partner walking with another lady and you wanted to confront him with the issue. Instead of saying I caught you with a lady today, you rather say I saw you with a lady today, please can you tell me about her?
8. When you are wrong, own it.
Taking responsibility for your actions shows that you are matured. Being defensive will make it difficult for your spouse to raise an issue next time. Remember, there is no shame in admitting that you made a mistake. What is illogical is adopting an egoistic stance that prevents you and your partner from moving forward. Put your ego aside and say sorry when you are wrong.
9. Leave the past where it belongs.
An occurrence in the past should remain in the past. It is history. Bringing up past behavior to defend the present day stance hinders your relationship from moving forward.
Once you deal with an issue, forgive and leave it behind if you want to keep your relationship alive. After an argument, always move forward with a fresh slate. Resurrecting old wounds will increase the intensity of your discussion and steer it in an entirely different direction; far away from a resolution. Let sleeping dogs lie.
10. Voice your love.
Research shows that when you look at your partner in the eye even in time of conflict and say, ‘I love you,’ the brain is prompted to release bonding hormones. The hormones make you and your partner more trusting and create a conducive environment for a conversation even when you are angry, frustrated or disappointed with your partner.Many partners only voice their love when they are content with the status of the relationship. Your expression of love for your partner should not be dependent on the atmosphere.
Good communication is an important part of all relationships and is an essential part of any healthy partnership. All relationships have ups and downs, but a healthy communication style can make it easier to deal with conflict and build a stronger and healthier partnership. So distance relationship often work with people whose love languages are words of affirmation and gifting. Even though you are far away you communicate and express your love to them and send them gift, they are cool to go. They can be faithful to you till you come back for them