As a relationship counselor, I work with couple’s that often struggle with communication. The art of communication is truly difficult to master as most of us often struggle with seeing past our own needs, wants and/or desires.
To work on communication, I encourage couples to practice the following skills:
Actively practice being mindful to not guess what your partner is thinking. Do your best to decrease the urge to look at your partner and think that you know what they are going to say or what they are thinking about. Doing this actively highlights communication. In addition, this practice helps couples improve their listening and empathetic skills.
Take time to explore topics.
To be a good communicator, one must actively give time to build the practice. When was the last time you and your partner took time to engage in a conversation? As a homework assignment, practice engaging in one conversation per day that focuses on something deeper than what’s for lunch or how the work day went.
Reflect on issues.
Take time to explore why communication is an issue. Once you can pinpoint at least one issue, build a plan around it. Below is an example:
Issue: “He is always multitasking while trying to hold a conversation. I feel that he doesn’t try to put his phone down and pay attention to me.”
Plan: “We have made a rule that once we get home, our phones are to be left on the table versus carried around.”
A strong part of communication is feeling appreciated. Couples that take time to practice thanking each other often experience a stronger sensation of fulfilment and happiness. As the new years has just passed us, take time to create one more resolution for this year. The resolution to practice appreciating your partner daily.
Couples that I work with begin their relationship counseling journey by discussing the foundation to their relationship and the current issues they are facing. Together we build principles aimed to overcome the issues hurting the relationship and create a foundation for lasting happiness.