Communication with couples can be difficult. If you are struggling to communicate effectively with your partner, couples counseling has been proven to support improved communication between couples.
10 Tips for Healthy Communication
1. Stop focusing on what your partner is doing wrong and focus on what you could be doing differently to improve communication.
2. Notice how you interpret your partner. Do you tend to assume the worst? Often couples struggling to communicate well tend to interpret or assume the worst. So, practice assuming that your partner has the best intention (even if it impacted you negatively) and respond to them from that belief.
3. Set aside time everyday to talk to your partner for at least 10 minutes about day-to-day life and keeping in touch with their life outside of your relationship.
4. Practice making specific requests for things that are bothering you or that you would like to be different. Avoid criticizing your partner.
5. Be responsible for your behaviors and mistakes you make when working to improve communication. Apologize when needed and forgive your partner for their mistakes.
6. Each person must take responsibility for soothing and calming themselves. If you get upset, learn when to take a break and walk away. If your partner asks to take a break, agree to a time when you will come back to it and respect their desire for a time out.
7. Pay attention to your tone and body language. Only about 7% of communication is the words you say, the rest is in your tone and body language. Make sure all three match the intent of your message.
8. Take responsibility for addressing concerns you have. Express your wants and needs directly. Don’t expect your partner to mind read!
9. Be kind. Speak the same way to your partner as you would to a friend or colleague.
10. Make sure to communicate about the positives in your partner. It is important to not have every communication be about something that you want changed. Compliment your partner and tell them the things you appreciate too.
Why Should I Bother to Work on Communication?
Working to improve your communication with your spouse or partner is always a positive thing to strive for. Healthy communication in couples has been linked to higher rates of satisfaction.
Research by the Gottman Institute shows that happy couples have 20 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction. In conflicted couples this goes down to 5 positive for each 1 negative and in couples on the verge of divorce it goes to 0.8 positives for each negative interaction.
Improving communication can have a great impact on helping to increase positive interactions in your relationship.