Relationships can be hard work. It can be especially hard because a lot of relationship advice for men doesn’t give clear solutions to real problems. There’s obviously a big difference between bickering and all-out fighting, neither are signs a relationship is doomed. But there is one common denominator in strong relationships.
Couples in long-lasting, healthy relationships tend to communicate well, but that doesn’t mean it comes completely naturally to them. Most couples spend their entire relationship figuring out how to communicate more effectively. Here are a few easy ideas to try in your relationships to garner more open communication.
Turn On Your Listening Ears
Is it ridiculous to give adults the same advice you would give to children? Well, the more things change the more they stay the same because listening to your partner absolutely the single most important thing you can do for your relationship. This could be a really challenging suggestion for some of you. Others might get defensive and say that you DO listen.
When there is stress in your relationship you need to focus on active listening within your conversations. This means you are going to need to put your phone down or turn off the television, remove as many distractions as possible so you are able to focus on the conversation and you will be far more prepared to engage in the conversation.
Don’t underestimate the importance of eye contact during important conversations. No one is suggesting a staring contest here, go ahead and blink and nod your head but keep your eyes connected. If this is too awkward or not possible, it’s a great idea to go for a car ride together to have the conversation.
As long as the passenger stays off the phone and the music is kept down, the car gives you a chance to have important discussions but without making continuous eye contact. (Obviously the driver gets to keep their eyes on the road, letting both of you off the hook.) So remember the old kindergarten advice to “zip it, locket, put it in your pocket” and focus on listening.
Don’t Cop an Attitude
Once you’re fully prepared to fully pay attention to what is being said, you are going to need to adjust your attitude. This is huge. If you sit down to chat and you already think the discussion is going to be a waste of your time then I hate to tell you this but no matter how much you think you want to stay in your relationship, it’s probably not going to turn out well.
Attitude is everything. A positive attitude and an open mind are crucial so that neither party builds a wall or gets frustrated by the situation right off the bat. This doesn’t mean you need to agree with everything that is said or that you won’t get a chance to offer your own take on the situation, but going into the talk calm and collected will helo you.
If you are immediately going on the defensive, regardless of what is said you’re going to feel as though you’re being attacked. What is most likely to happen if you feel like you are being attacked? Likely it will cause you to feel anger and potentially you will erupt. It shouldn’t come as a shock that letting your anger get the best of you isn’t going to help you repair your relationship.
Listening well can show that you can control your emotions. Remember as you’re listening to try and find the main idea. If you can listen with that goal in mind it will help you not only heart the words being spoken but to actually understand your partner. There are so many relationship tips out there but they aren’t in your relationship so focus on you and the one you love.
Sometimes it’s helpful to repeat back what you just heard to make sure that you understand. You can say things like “what I hear you saying is…” to make sure that you’re both on the same page. When you’re willing to make an effort to communication efficiently it will help your relationship flourish.
Expect the Unexpected
The final step of active listening is a willingness to adjust. You may think you know what is about to be said but you might need to adjust your expectations. When you are doing your part listening you will need to be flexible and have a willingness to discuss what topics come up naturally.
You aren’t in your partner’s skin. You don’t really know how they are feeling about a situation until they use their words and tell you. It can be hard because even though there is a certain pattern of behavior they may have because everyone is changing and evolving (hopefully the two of you together) their feelings may have changed as well.
Focusing some time on your listening skills will make your partner feel heard and can bring the two of you closer together. It is important to set expectations of each other moving forward. Most hurt feelings in a relationship stem from expectations that haven’t been met. (Whether or not they were actively communicated.)
So take some time to focus on discussing what the two of you can do to meet expectations in the future so that you won’t need to revisit the conversation you’re currently having. Of course, other talking points will emerge but focus on solving the problems you have now, not the problems you may have in the future.
Most of the time when you have a conversation with your significant other isn’t going to want you to immediately solve the problem, they just want to be heard! So if you can do your level best to make sure you are upholding your end of the bargain and listening well.
If you can give your partner attention, keep a positive attitude and adjust accordingly you will be on your way to a strong relationship through positive communication. Don’t be concerned if it takes you a while to get the hang of things, it’s totally normal to have to work hard when you try new things.
However, your relationship is worth it! As you figure out how to communicate effectively you should find more overall satisfaction and you can repair any past hurts that have occurred and move forward together.
This was a guest blog contributed by knowledgeformen.com