Communication and Relationships

Good communication is at the heart of every successful relationship. Partners who regularly confide in each other about everything from their sex life to politics are overall much happier and stay together longer than those couples who don’t. If you are in a relationship where communication is poor, or worse, has broken down, how do you restore it to its rightful place at the heart of your partnership? Check out our communication and relationships five-point strategy to get things back on track.

Communication and Relationships: Step #1 – Overcome your personal barriers

The first step is to overcome your personal fears, prejudices and barriers about communicating again with your partner. Blame and resentment must be put aside in order for communication to work. Your approach must be to have an open mind and a ‘can-do’ positive attitude, otherwise you are consigning your attempt to failure before you even begin.

Communication and Relationships: Step #2 The setting

If you are committed to improving communication with your partner, you will naturally want to set things up so the odds of succeeding are stacked in your favor. Preparing the setting/atmosphere is therefore vital as you want to be sure that you are not going to be disturbed during your efforts. Make sure that the answerphone is turned on, or if you do not have an answerphone, temporarily unplug the phone. Switch off cellphones and turn off the TV and computer. You should also make sure that your partner has no other prior arrangements which could interrupt your conversation time.

Communication and Relationships: Step #3 – Opening salvos

The hardest part is of course getting a conversation with your partner up and running, especially if he/she is reluctant, which obviously your partner is, as you would not be following this strategy otherwise! The very best way to try and open things up is to get your partner talking to you. The very worst thing you can do is start talking at your partner about you!

Start by asking him/her about their day. If this fails to yield anything start getting interested (genuinely) about something that interests them…sport, shopping, celebrities…whatever it is that will get them talking. Why? Because it will lower their defensive guard and also help their brain register that communicating with you is not so bad after all!

Communication and Relationships: Step #4 – Developing the conversation

Great, so you’re getting some words out of your partner! Now, what you need to do is LISTEN and STEER THE CONVERSATION in the direction that you want to take it. “How do I do that?” I hear you ask. Simple! Listen carefully to what your partner is saying and I guarantee you that there will be plenty of material in those words that can serve as the basis for your next question. It’s tricky at first, but with experience you’ll learn to pick up on points and develop them into a new line of questioning/conversation topics. After a little practice, you’ll be able to steer the conversation around to the topics that you want to talk about without any trouble, as your partner’s unwillingness to communicate will not be as great because of your approach.

Communication and Relationships: Step #5 – Planning and Compromising

As said at the beginning, communication is at the heart of every successful relationship. When there is no communication, other parts of your relationship shut down, and so you become severely restricted in what you do as a couple. Restoring communication, even at a rudimentary level, opens up so many possibilities in other areas of your relationship. For instance, you are able to make plans in these other areas – plans where you can do things together and make your relationship stronger. But beware, when you get to this stage you will absolutely not have it all your own way! It’s all about give and take so be ready for some serious compromises. If there is something that your partner wants from the relationship then give it to him/her on a ‘limited’ basis in return for something that you want out of the relationship. After all, this is the way every successful relationship works!

Follow this five-point strategy and you’ll be well on the way to putting communication back where it belongs – at the heart of your relationship!



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