The Montfort Group

11 Ways To Improve Communication In Your Relationship

Everyone communicates differently; it’s part of the beauty that makes people human. No two people are exactly the same. While that fact is part of humanity’s charm, it can also make it hard to understand others sometimes, which is especially challenging in relationships. So, how do you improve your communication with your partner?

Be Open and Honest

Being vulnerable doesn’t come natural to most. It can be extremely difficult to open yourself up in such a way. What if you get hurt? What if your needs aren’t met? There are risks, but developing open and honest communication is the only way to develop a healthy, lasting relationship. Communicate your feelings and thoughts. Tell someone when they’ve upset you. Voice your concerns or fears. Share your insecurities. Tell your partner when you feel ignored, when you feel happy, when you feel most loved. It’s important to communicate a variety of emotions, good and bad; this helps your partner know you on a deeper level and know how certain words and actions will affect you. If you’re a person who habitually avoids conflict, communication can be particularly challenging, but it’s worth facing that challenge in order to build a healthy and successful relationship. Band-aids and small solutions simply aren’t enough for the long haul.

Be Present in Your Relationship

For most people, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in your own mind and focus on all the things going on in your life. You’re bogged down by stress, you’re planning the future, you’re replaying the past. This pattern is just human nature, but one of the greatest things you can do for your relationship is to be present in the here and now. In order to truly see your partner, to know if they’re happy, to pick up on what they’re trying to communicate with you, you have to be present with them in body and mind.

Remember That You’re a Team

One of the most important things to remember during uncomfortable conversations or conflict is that it’s not you against your partner. It’s the two of you against the problem. Don’t let pride get in the way. Don’t make excuses for yourself. Put your love for each other above everything else, and discuss the issue in a way that seeks a solution to bring the two of you together and builds you stronger.

Listen

So many people don’t listen. They simply practice what they’re going to say when their partner stops speaking. They hear words without seeing the emotions behind them. They aren’t paying attention. Don’t make that same mistake. Listen with the intention of understanding your partner. You should try to see things from their perspective and understand their feelings. And when you speak, do so with the intention of communicating not annialiting.

Don’t Expect Them to Read Your Mind

Even couples who know each other extremely well can’t always know what the other needs or wants from them at any given minute. Long story short: you won’t get your needs met if you don’t communicate those needs. Stop expecting your significant other to magically read your mind and be everything you need without uttering a single word. You wouldn’t want them to expect that from you, would you? Communicating your needs to each other takes so much pressure and stress off each of you. You should also tell your partner when they’re meeting your needs and thank them for it.

Don’t Be a Passenger in the Relationship

Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you’re in a relationship, you should never fear telling your partner what you want and need. You should feel safe to communicate your boundaries or bring up needs that aren’t being met and ways your partner can meet them in the future. Never stay silent when you want to speak up simply because it might be uncomfortable or you don’t know the outcome. Your relationship is just as much yours as it is theirs. You deserve to be heard. So speak up.

Don’t Bury Your Trauma

No one gets out of this life without a few cuts and bruises. Don’t hide the uglier side of yourself from your partner because you want to seem perfect; that’s not real. You should show your scars and communicate ways past hurts might affect you and your current relationship. Work through those challenges together, and help each other heal along the way.

Don’t Let One Argument Turn into One Hundred

When you do find yourself in an argument with your significant other, don’t allow yourself to fall into a pattern of rehashing things that happened days, months, or years ago. It’s extremely important to resolve an issue completely and then let it go. It’s not healthy, and will do nothing good for your relationship, to hold on to pain, anger, or resentment. During each argument, strive to focus solely only on what’s happening now.

Remember that Communication is More Than Words

People communicate in a variety of ways, whether they’re aware of it or not. Your words are only part of the discussion. So the next time you’re having a discussion with your significant other, remember to focus, not only on saying the right things, but conveying the right tone. If you sound angry, you could put your partner on edge or send them on the defensive. You should also be mindful of your body language; a closed off body doesn’t convey a message of love or understanding.

Learn From Past Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s only human nature. You can’t prevent it from happening, but you can learn from your mistakes so you aren’t doomed to repeat them over and over again. As a couple, pay attention to your downfalls during arguments. Pinpoint exactly where a conversation went wrong and why. Discuss ways the conversation could have gone more smoothly, and try to implement those solutions next time.

Be Playful

They say that laughter is the best medicine. And yeah, if you have the flu, that might not be entirely accurate, but during a heavy discussion it might be just what you and your partner need. Obviously you don’t want to make fun of your partner, but adding a bit of playful humor to an otherwise heavy conversation helps both of you remember that you’re talking to someone you love, someone you have fun with, someone you value. Humor can help unite you and relieve some of the tension and stress you might have been feeling previously. Communication is the bedrock of any good relationship; without it, the relationship will fail. Use the tips above to open up the dialogue between you and your partner and start down a journey of self discovery. While it’s not always easy to be so open and vulnerable without someone else, doing so will strengthen your relationship in ways nothing else can.  

Cory Montfort, MS, LPC-S

Cory Montfort, MS, LPC-S

I completed my Masters of Science in Counseling from Southern Methodist University where I specialized in working with individuals, couples, and families. I have extensive experience working within the mental health community facilitating groups, conducting assessments, counseling individuals, and performing crisis intervention. I hold an active License in Professional Counseling and am also a board-approved Counselor Supervisor for the state of Texas.

Schedule Online

It's easy to set up an appointment with us - see what's available now!

Our Blog

Therapy thoughts