Are the conversations you have with your partner something you look forward to? Or are they mundane daily check-in chatter?
Do you find that conversation isn’t really happening at all, because lately, interaction seems stifled or silent amid career and family obligations, crammed schedules, and more?
Restoring quality communication and boosting your connection will mean pinning down some problems and making some changes. Consider the following communication problems and communication enhancing solutions:
Communication problem: Communication isn’t a priority.
Perhaps you thought the pieces of your relationship would always just fall together. Maybe you feel that your love is so strong that your connection really doesn’t require much maintenance.
If so, you’re gambling with your good thing. Communication protects your bond.
The fix? Be intentional.
Commit now to better communication. Decide to amend your approach to daily interactions with your partner. Demonstrate that you sincerely want to connect. Sincerity and dedicated effort will be appreciated by your partner as you move forward.
Communication problem: Distracted discussions, date nights, and downtime.
Many couples complain about the silence between them. Not because there is anything really wrong at first. Unless you count ever present screens, the constant presence of a child or children, and the piles of work that are always calling them away from each other.
Too many unchecked distractions kill meaningful conversation and get in the way of connection.
The fix? Be available to each other.
Time is extremely important for deeper conversations to occur. Loving communication requires your mental and physical presence. Be there for each other. Phone, text, use social media in an effort to check in with each other and schedule face-to-face time or schedule a date. Loving feelings will grow each time you make time to share. It’s wise to put the world aside routinely to really see and hear each other. Forget the chores, turn off the glowing screens, get a sitter for the kids, go for a drive to see the Oakland city lights and talk. Schedule togetherness and make time to talk.
Communication problem: “Me speak” instead of “we speak.”
It’s easy to get wrapped up in what you need and want, what kind of mood you’re in, your schedule and responsibilities without checking in with your partner and assessing what he or she needs or wants.
Our natural tendency is to speak and act from a place of self-interest and concern.
The fix? Pay attention.
You probably have a lot to say, you likely have a million things to do.
But what is your partner sharing?
To be a good listener you must engage your partner, see their point of view. Boost your ability to focus and hear your partner in these ways:
- Ask questions.
- Sincerely reflect back what you heard.
- Interpret your partner’s body language and tone.
- Study your partner and gather information about what matters to them.
Communication problem: Unresolved issues keep communication efforts unproductive.
If you find that you and your partner often say “we don’t talk anymore.” Perhaps you need to take a close look at what’s going on in your relationship. What aren’t you saying and why?
Sometimes partners fear unresolved issues or problems will create too much conflict, so they ignore them.
The fix? Be proactive, vulnerable, and brave.
It’s okay if communication sometimes makes waves. Good communication is open and honest. You can disagree, discuss, and seek answers lovingly.
Share your concerns completely so that buried problems don’t become barriers between you. Ask each other questions, really hear each other on tough issues affecting you both. Be resolution-minded but accept that some issues simply won’t be resolved. Either way, don’t hide from each other. Seek out ways to communicate differences of opinion maturely and considerately.
Communication problem: The need to be right inspires fights.
Couples experiencing a lot of conflict and rough communication often do so because they have fallen into competitive, confrontational communication cycles.
The need to win an argument becomes the goal rather than reaching compromises or even making each other feel heard and understood.
The fix? Be respectful and compassionate.
Remember, you’re in this life together. You aren’t two bickering lawyers trying to debate each other into submission. Keep conflicts in perspective. Think about what you’re saying and whether it will heal the rift between you or just score points.
Keep in mind that you’ve chosen each other as partners. Your relationship deserves to be honored and your partner deserves loving respect. Speak kindly and thoughtfully. Generously provide each other a large measure of grace and understanding.
Finally, if you and your partner find that unproductive and ineffective communication habits are hindering your relationship, reach out to a qualified couples counselor. They can help interrupt what isn’t working, amplify what does serve you well, and give you step by step tool to use that will one day become second nature in the way that you talk, solving problems before they even arise!