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Learn to Effectively Communicate With Your Partner
Communication is vital to keeping a relationship healthy. Without communication, a relationship cannot flourish and grow the way it should and may have a tendency to fizzle out, become bitter, or even end altogether. Partners need to communicate with each other on a daily basis, but real communication (deep thought and analysis) should take place anytime feelings need to be brought to the table. Here are some great ways to effectively communicate with your partner and encourage your relationship to develop into one that has stability, respect, and understanding.
Keep open communication by discussing the need to talk. When both partners understand how important communication is to a relationship, they will be better prepared for talking. This means that each partner should sit down and talk briefly about being open with one another. If both partners know what to expect ahead of time, there will be less complaint and worry when one of them wants to talk about his or her feelings. It's a good idea to talk to your partner and explain that you want to have open communication in the relationship so that he knows you are not going to hide your emotions and tuck them away. Also explain that you plan on being open yourself and not just expecting him to be. He will then be prepared when you have something on your mind that is bugging you and won't be as likely to shy away from talking. This goes both ways.
Talk to your partner openly when you have an issue. Effectively communicating means being open about your feelings. If you are upset, do not keep it hidden inside. Tucking your feelings away is not only bad for the relationship, but also unhealthy for you as well. Always talk about things when they bother you in order to encourage your partner to talk openly. Effective communication in a relationship means also sharing the good. Talk about your day, your hobbies, how much you love one another, and show appreciation with words. Communicating your feelings to your partner, good and bad, will help to keep the doors open and encourage the relationship to grow and change in a healthy way. Also, if you want your partner to open up, you will have to communicate yourself. If he or she sees you're hiding emotions, they'll be more likely to do the same, which, for obvious reasons, isn't good for the relationship.
When communicating with your partner, put the responsibility on ‘you'. Use words such as ‘I feel', ‘I am', and ‘I want' when talking to your partner. Putting the responsibility of how you feel on yourself helps your partner to feel less defensive when communicating. When partner's talk and each makes statements like ‘you always' or ‘you never', each partner tends to take that as a personal attack which can cause an argument. By saying things like ‘I feel that' or ‘I am hurt when', you are taking the heat off of your partner and accepting that you feel a certain way you'd like to discuss rather than yell at your partner. This makes for better communication and helps both partners to be more understanding when discussing issues. Also, try not to use words like ‘always' and ‘never' because it's very rare that anyone ‘always' or ‘never' does something. These are exaggerated words that can often cause arguments as well. Instead say ‘sometimes' or ‘at times' to make for a more healthy conversation.
Communicate with your partner during less stressful times. Communication should happen when both partners have time to listen and are not rushing to get things done. Speak openly to one another during dinner time, while relaxing on the couch, or after the kids are in bed. Try to pick a time that is conducive to both you and your partner so that communication efforts are helpful and not pushed aside. Also, if you tend to catch your partner when he or she is stressed, you will probably not get the responses you are looking for and feelings will get hurt. Communicating while under pressure often causes people to say things they don't mean or to not take the time to talk about things they need to. Communication should be relaxed for a healthy outcome. You'll find that much more gets accomplished in the relationship if you wait until a time that is best for you both to talk. Let your partner know you want to talk and ask him to find time when he or she can. This will help to let him or her know that you need communication, but it also allows them the ball in their court to decide when they have time to talk. This will make the communication more effective.