Communication is essential in a relationship, but many fail to communicate constructively. Communication challenges in relationships fall into two categories: content-related and process-related. Process-related communication challenges pertain to things like the way you resolve conflict or make decisions together. Below are five ways relationship advisers suggests to better communication skills.
1. Go beyond the obvious topics.
If you're arguing with your partner about the dishes, it's probably because you don't feel valued or supported. Paul DePompo says men should look for underlying feelings such as being hurt or afraid rather than just looking for anger or frustration at the heart of the conflict.
2. Divide communication into two stages.
A lot of men jump into the second phase of communication too quickly, with the good intention of solving the problem. Aim to spend more time in phase one for improved conversations. This can backfire when a partner is looking to feel heard and understood, Dr. Nick Bach says.
3. Listen to understand, not to be right, or to make things better.
Aim to listen to understand – not to respond, offer a solution, or try to win an argument. Reflective listening, which consists of repeating back in your own words what your partner has said, is a crucial practice that helps you make sense of each other.
4. Validate your partner
Valuing your partner's emotions is one of the most difficult communication skills to master. If your partner shares that they've been feeling lonely, you may want to validate their feelings. This does not mean you are validating facts, logic, or evidence. You are only validating their emotions.
5. Conduct regular check-ins
There is value in having regular check-ins with your partner. This can be as simple as taking 15 minutes a day to discuss top-of-mind feelings or concerns. Taking time to talk keeps you on the same page and connected, says DePompo.
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