The number one problem in most relationships, couples and otherwise, is communication. Practically everyone has a way of communicating that seems normal and simple to them but can be completely misunderstood by others. When you enter a partnership with another person, therapists recommend learning how to bridge this divide of different “languages” if you hope for it to be successful.
While counseling can be an effective means for solving this problem, there are often basic practices you can implement as a couple to improve communication weaknesses. As you grow together, these traits will become second hat, and you’ll discover that you interact with each other on a more positive note.
Make It a Point to Spend Talking Time Together
It might seem silly to have to schedule time to talk with your significant other, but if you are both leading busy lives, it is a necessity therapists recommend to stay involved in each other’s lives. The Office for National Statistics found that the average couple spends up to two-and-a-half hours together a day and the majority of that time is spent watching TV, looking at phones, eating, and doing housework. This leaves very little time for meaningful conversation. It is up to you to set aside 20 to 30 minutes of quality time each day to catch up away from distractions.
Avoid Mind Reading
Although you might think you know your partner better than they know themselves, you might be surprised how they are actually feeling. Mind reading often involves putting your own thoughts and meanings into their words or actions. Instead of just assuming, always ask. A direct question is often the best way to learn what a person’s motivations are. Besides when you continuously build up how they are acting in your mind without actually confirming it, you end up building a false persona of who your significant other is and causing resentment and distance between the two of you.
Be Present While Listening
When your girlfriend, wife, husband, or boyfriend is speaking, try to stay present in the conversation. It’s easy to let your mind wander to other things that might be going on in your life or in the room, but it does you both a disservice. Don’t just wait for them to be quiet so you can speak, either. For some, this might not be an easy act to perform at first, but with all things, practice makes perfect. Also, therapists suggest for the times when you are tired or truly distracted to make a point to reschedule the conversation. However, don't just brush it off. Activley tell your partner that you are unable to give them the focus they deserve at this point and you'd like to discuss the topic a later date. This will let them know that what they have to say matters and you are not simply ignoring their feelings.