Countless studies concur the number one reason for divorce is poor communication. Beyond having different communication styles, issues often arise when both partners are not comfortable talking about their feelings.
The good news? Talking about feelings is not the only or even necessarily the best way for couples to maintain a happy and healthy relationship!
Here are some great ideas to improve communication in a relationship:
Small Talk Offers Big Gains
Many people may assume that discussing the impending nor’easter or last night’s season finale is far from connecting emotionally. However, the reality is small talk can positively impact communication – even more so than discussing feelings! A lot of couples find it easier to connect over the mundane events in their lives rather than during a serious discussion, most likely because they each feel safer in the mundane space.
Here is the key though; you have to really engage during the small talk sessions. Be interested. Be curious. Ask questions. Repeat what you heard to confirm affective communication. By doing this, you let your partner know they matter and that you care. In the end, our lives are woven together by the strings of insignificant incidents.
A recent study published in Psychological Science journal revealed that partners feel closer to each other when discussing shared experiences. For instance, many spouses can come together when discussing their children, particularly if they are remembering happy moments.
A second study published in Psychological Science uncovered something extremely interesting! It turns out that words are not even necessary for shared experiences to improve relationships, silent communication from a joint experience can also he’ll wounds. Doing something together like riding bikes, going to a movie on a date night, or even shopping for a new lawn chairs can help you reconnect.
Balance Asking and Offering
Communication is a dance where each person takes turns leading. This means sometimes you need to offer up the goods and share something about yourself. This could literally be something as simple as what happened to you in the line at Starbucks.
Other times, let your partner share what they want. Be sure to ask questions and actually listen to the answers. This means put down your phone (the dishes if you happen to be washing them) and look them in the eye when they are talking to you. If you don’t understand something they said, or you’re having trouble following them, ask for clarification. This is a wonderful way to show you care and are fully engaged.
These communication tips are incredibly simple, but don’t let their simplicity fool you. If you use these techniques you will find that your communications skills improve and your relationship deepens. And, if you feel you need more help in the communication department, seeking guidance from a therapist is a great idea.
Are you looking for help improving communication in your relationships in New Haven?
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in Woodbridge, CT where they help couples and individuals reconnect in their relationships and move From Surviving to Thriving. If you’re looking for help with relationships in New Haven call today for a free consultation!