Relationships are complex, and relationship communication is one of the most difficult aspects of any relationship. Whether romantic, platonic, or familial, they require effort.
The ego and how we were raised plays a large part in how we perceive our partners. They also play a role in our relationships at large. Successful relationship communication shifts how the ego filters our interactions with our loved ones. This can help avoid undue judgment and result in greater relationship satisfaction. Allow the following approaches to enrich your relationships. Allow them to open your mind to new possibilities for strengthening the bond of love.
1. Think about where they’ve come from
It can be easy to forget how different you are from others. We’ve all come from different backgrounds (and may have had different partners) which can shape our expectations in relationships. Some of us don’t think about it that way, but it’s not rare that someone has had a difficult life.
The book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love looks at a relationship from all aspects, including analyzing your life at your childhood, and applying that information to how you approach relationships in the present day.
This can give you a better idea of how people grow into who they become. This book can also give you a better idea of why you and your partner see/react things differently and how that perception affects your relationship.
Danielle Rose is the founder of Mind Key. As a mother of two, who was married for 10 years, she takes pride in her understanding of relationship communication.
“My parents were divorced and had often put me in the middle of their altercations, while my ex’s parents raised him with a more hands-off approach,” Danielle Rose said. “I had a hard time understanding why he would make household decisions without including me sometimes.”
There’s something to be said for reminding yourself that your partner’s life path can be drastically different from yours.
2. Look through their eyes
Sometimes, during a problem, one of you might not budge. Though it does seem cliche, putting yourself in their shoes can help solve any issues that otherwise seem insurmountable.
Empathic accuracy, a term coined by psychologist William Ickes in his book, The Observational Method, refers to the ability to infer the feelings of another person. This type of thinking is crucial to any kind of relationship. If you’re able to step out of your comfort zone and picture doing to your partner what you did to them, this can change your mindset on the situation.
A 2017 study on empathy and relationship satisfaction published in the Journal of Family Psychology showed that relationships tend to have more satisfaction when empathic accuracy is involved. This, in turn, improves relationship communication. Taking a second to look at the situation from their perspective can make everyone happier.
3. Listen: An essential step for relationship communication
The most important aspect of any relationship is communication. In the moment, things could get heated, and having an angry mindset can cloud your judgment. Listening completely is one of the most powerful ways to check-in and make sure that you’re not missing your partner’s point of view.
Spending time thinking of a comeback instead of listening could just prolong the problem. Pay attention to what your partner says, and don’t be so quick to come up with a retort, and analyze what they say before you respond.
4. Don’t hold anything back
Holding in feelings will actually do more harm than good. Both romantic and personal relationships can suffer from this. Having a feeling in the back of your head, but never addressing it, may cloud your judgment. At the very least, clearing the air between yourself and your partner will help you guys get one step closer to solving the problem.
“Sharing your feelings about a situation can be tricky, but it’s best done as soon as possible,” Danielle Rose said. “Remember if you fear sharing your feelings, it is probably because you know they have the potential to trigger your partner.”
5. Avoid stress
Many don’t realize how stress in general can interfere with their relationships. A 2004 study entitled “Coming Home Upset,” published at Bryn Mawr College, showed how stress from an external factor, such as work, can negatively impact a romantic relationship. The study involved married men reporting that there was more tension between them and their wives on days where their job had stressed them out. Recognizing your partner’s point of view can help you see the impact that stress has the relationship as a whole. Addressing these problems and finding solutions to them are important when it comes to maintaining relationships.
Relationship communication is essential to overall happiness and stability at home. The sooner you can approach these factors and figure out how to deal with them, the sooner you are to maintaining your closeness with others.