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How to Improve Communication in Relationships and Increase Intimacy

Communication needs improvement if:

  • You are having trouble getting through to your spouse; you talk about the same issue over and over again without coming to an agreement.
  • You seem unable to have a decent conversation without turning it into an argument.
  • You fear to bring up certain topics.
  • You do not talk meaningfully about anything anymore.

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How to Improve Communication in Relationships and Increase Intimacy

How to Improve Communication in Relationships and Increase Intimacy

https://www.lifehack.org/794631/improve-communication-in-relationships

lifehack.org

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Key Ideas

Communication needs improvement if:

  • You are having trouble getting through to your spouse; you talk about the same issue over and over again without coming to an agreement.
  • You seem unable to have a decent conversation without turning it into an argument.
  • You fear to bring up certain topics.
  • You do not talk meaningfully about anything anymore.

Just Communicate

It is difficult to discuss some sensitive subjects, and we are tempted to avoid them. Other times we simply expect our partners to know what we are doing, thinking or what we want.

It is much better to get things out in the open regularly rather than waiting to have big rows that might damage your relationship.

Listen actively

Be curious about your partner’s point of view rather than trying to anticipate every situation. Active listening involves:

  • Paying attention to your partner.
  • Tolerating your silence.
  • Paying attention to your partner’s nonverbal communication.
  • Reflecting and paraphrasing what your partner is saying: I hear you say you feel angry when I ….. Is that what you are saying?

Your non-verbal behavior

Communication is much more than what you say. In addition to words, you also communicate through:

  • Tone of voice
  • Eye contact and facial expression
  • Your gestures and posture
  • Nodding
  • Clenched jaw
  • Balled up fists
  • Rolling eyes.

Show respect

Put the feelings of your partner before your need to be understood.

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 effectively.

Spend quality time together

Having fun together brings you and your partner closer. Pick a common hobby or have regular date nights.

The closer you are, the more you are inclined to share your innermost thoughts and feelings.

Be honest with each other

Speak up when you are hurting, or you disagree with your partner.

Do not pretend to be happy if you are not. Honesty will help you and your partner to solve problems more efficiently.

Ensure the timing is correct

While you want to tell your partner everything, it is wise to find the correct time to do so. 

Something that may be rejected if you express it now may actually be heard or considered by your partner if you bring it up at a different time.

When you are wrong, own it

Taking responsibility for your actions shows that you are mature. 

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.

Focus on one issue at a time

Even if you have a few issues that you feel the need to discuss, experts advise that you bring up a maximum of one item per conversation. 

If you ignore this rule, you will overwhelm your partner with your avalanche of criticism, and he/she will shut down. Eventually, nothing will be solved.

Leave the past

Bringing up past behavior to defend the present day stance hinders your relationship from moving forward.

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.

Prioritize your emotional intimacy

During intimacy, hormones that are responsible for bonding and attachment are released. The more you are attached to your partner, the better your communication becomes.

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. 

Many spouses 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.

Mind your language

How you say something is as important as what you say. 

  • Do not use extremes. Accusations such as, ‘you never,’ ‘you always’ do not add any value to your argument.
  • Use ‘I’ statements emphasizing how you feel, rather than ‘you.’ 
  • Validate your partner’s feelings. Invalidation happens when you recognize your partner’s feelings but then discount, belittle, ignore or minimize them. 

Focus on the positive

Experts recommend that for any conversation, you should have a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative statements.

Comparing your partner negatively to someone will be counterproductive to your discussion. Also, stay away judgment words and loaded terms.

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It all comes down to knowing what’s important to people so you can understand, empathize and work with them a little better. 

We all have different life experiences; we come from different backgrounds. It makes sense that we communicate differently, too.

Make small talk

You communicate a genuine interest when you inquire or listen to the small details that make up your partner’s day. It’s those insignificant moments that make up the reality of our lives.

Shared experiences
We feel closer to others when we can talk about the experiences we have in common. 

Words are not necessary for shared feelings to improve a relationship. Just doing something at the same time—riding bikes, watching a movie, or eating dessert, intensifies both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.

Listen carefully
Knowing that you are being heard is one of the experiences most likely to cement a feeling of connection to another. 

Use a technique called “active listening” - a form of listening in which you acknowledge that you understand what is being said. 

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Don’t accuse

Be conscious not to point blame at your partner by phrasing sentences that start with words such as “You make me... “ or “You didn’t…

Instead, begin by saying, “I feel hurt ...

Listen

Once you voice what’s bothering you, be sure to hear how your partner responds. Give him or her a chance to speak and listen to what he or she says. 

It may be that you’re misinterpreting the behavior, he or she wasn’t conscious of how you feel, or you’re doing or saying something to influence them. 

Be consistent
Healthy communication happens during the smallest of moments, not only at meals and when you’re on vacation. Speak nicely to your partner and try your best not to let stress or other distractions get the best of you. 

A devoted husband or wife will want to support you when you need it most, but not if you take your anxiety out on them or take his or her love for granted.

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