7 Tips on How To Improve Communication in a Relationship
To improve communication in your relationships it requires you to learn a new language. Yes! Literally! It’s still English. It’s just a whole new way of communicating that’ll create more peace and happiness in your relationships.
Lack of communication in relationships is the number one killer of
feeling connected to those you love.
We all learned how to communicate from our family of origin. As a child, what happened when you were upset? Were you able to give your feelings a voice? Most of us weren’t. We were told, “Don’t be sad.” and given a lollypop for example instead. Gulp down those feelings with sugar!
The message we were given is that feelings are bad. And they should be shut down and shut off as quickly as possible. But connecting to your feelings are an important part of how to improve communication in a relationship.
Your learned pattern of communicating as a child doesn’t magically go away when you grow up and enter into an intimate relationship. It’s during these intimate relationship where you have the opportunity to give those feelings a voice. In intimate relationships, uncomfortable feelings naturally come up. Conflicts and difference arise. Denying your feelings as an adult in an intimate relationship is almost a guaranteed path to divorce. Healthy relationships require knowing how to communicate effectively in a relationship.
Here are 7 key concepts for better relating. If you follow them you’ll improve your relationships dramatically.
7 Tips on How To Improve Communication
in a Relationship
- Don’t hold things in.
- Process Your feelings before you talk.
- Ask to have a conversation. Create a time a space for the conversation.
- Talk in person. Not via text or email.
- Get Beyond blame, stay open and be curious.
- Speak what you want and not what you don’t want.
- Slow down and listen.
The importance of communication cannot be understated. There’s a lot to it. Get to know these six tips and you’ll be well on your way to happier healthier relationships.
1. Don’t Hold Things In
Learn how to address your uncomfortable feelings instead of denying them. This is the key to knowing how to improve communication in a relationship. Instead, we are masters at repressing our emotions. That was clearly demonstrated when Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gave his testimony on Sept 27th, 2018 addressing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault. I was struck by how he literally gulped down his emotions with sips of water to continue speaking without having an emotional breakdown. It was a clear demonstration on a physical level what most of us do on a subtle level. We gulp our feeling down by denying them.
We have been taught to think to ourselves:
“I shouldn’t feel that way.”
“It doesn’t matter”
“I’ll get over it.”
Do any of these sound familiar? Start to pay attention to the subtle ways in which you deny your feelings. It’s so easy to do. I have been consciously working my communication skills for years and can still catch myself justifying another’s behavior or minify an uncomfortable feeling I’m having.
Don’t hold your emotions in! You have uncomfortable feelings for a reason. They need to be validated. Learn to process them instead of repressing them.
2. Process Your Feelings Before You Talk
If something’s bothering you in your relationship learn the 4 steps to processing your emotions and uncover your core need. Once you’re aware of your core need (not your need for someone to change) you will communicate from a more centered place in your conversation.
But most of us have no idea how to process our emotions. That’s the main reason for poor communication in a relationship. And connecting to your feelings is an important part of knowing how to improve communication in a relationship.
Our culture is set up to numb out instead of feeling into what’s bothering us.
It’s so easy to have an innocent glass of wine… or two. Or look in the refrigerator when you’re not hungry at all. We have easy access to alcohol, video games, porn, shopping and overindulgent dining experiences to name a few. We habitually avoid our uncomfortable feelings without even knowing it.
This disconnects you from your internal navigating system, your feelings. Your feelings are powerful indicators of what’s right and what’s wrong in your world. Your feelings have important information for you. If you don’t process them they don’t go away. They just come out sideways in what I call the 3 D’s, Disease, Drama and Depression. You can add Disaster to that as well. Unprocessed emotions are a disaster waiting to happen in relationships. Constant arguing in a relationship comes from not processing your emotions.
3. Ask For A Conversation – Create a Time and Space
After you have done the 4 steps to process your emotions, you’ll be connected to your core need.
Don’t be a nagging wife or a drama queen. Process what’s upsetting you. Get to the core need and then ask your partner for a specific time to talk about it. Don’t yell from the other room that something is bothering you. Or walk into the house in a huff because you just found out something disturbing about your partner.
Instead, process your feelings and wait until you are calm, then say to your partner, “There is something on my heart that I would like to talk about when would be a good time?” Then, when you have the conversation, you’ll have his or her attention and you’ll be in a clearer space to address your concerns in a calmer way.
4. Talk In Person. Not via Text or Email
Texting and emailing can be efficient but not when there’s conflict. So much gets lost and misunderstood via a text or email.
It takes courage to process your feelings, discover your core need and speak to that need IN PERSON. It’s much easier to hide behind texts and long emails that go back and forth. It takes courage on your part to speak your truth directly, lovingly and in person. My biggest growth has been when I’ve had the courage to speak my truth and ask for what I need using my Heart Talk model.
And if in person is not possible, use skype or zoom. No excuses. If you want to learn how to improve communication in a relationship addressing conflict in person is the way to go.
5. Get Beyond Blame, Stay Open and Be Curious
Now that you have processed your emotions, know your core need and have requested a time to talk with your partner (in person) about what’s upsetting you, take the next step.
Have the conversation in a way that’s doesn’t put them on the defensive. Be an active listener. Get all blame, shame, and pointing fingers out of the conversation. Stay open and get curious.
Instead of blaming your partner for their behavior… find out WHY they did what they did. This isn’t always easy to do. But, remember when you point a finger there are three more pointing back at you.
In communication we often are so ready to jump to conclusions and attack the other person. If you stay open, get curious, and ask some open ended questions, you’ll often find they did what they did with good intentions.
They may have also done what they did with no intentions. Meaning they did it with lack of awareness. It’s your job to communicate what’s going on with you so that they can have that greater awareness and can choose better, more considerate choices in the future. You just have to give them an opportunity.
Speaking Heart Talk will keep the conversation from getting dense and having the other person shutdown. Then there’s no opportunity for positive change.
Communicating in a way that’s beyond blame is a way of communicating that will create connection instead of defense.
6. Speak What You Want and Not What You Don’t Want
Now that you have asked for a time to talk with your partner, you know what your core need is and you are ready to have a constructive conversation with this person who means a lot to you, ask for what you want. Make sure you use “I” statements as opposed to “You” statements. And speak to what you want instead of complaining about what you don’t want.
If your man doesn’t pick up after himself, don’t call him a slob. Knowing how to improve communication in a relationship EXCLUDES name calling. Have a sincere conversation with him about your need for cleanliness. Get curious and ask him how important it is to have a house that looks nice and is welcoming when others visit. If you call him a slob when you’re trying to have him help around the house, he’ll only get defensive. But if you speak to your need for cleanliness in a calm, centered and heartfelt way, you’ll have a better chance of coming up with a creative solution.
7. Slow down and listen.
Good communication requires time and lots of it. And the problem is most of us just don’t have the time. We couldn’t be bothered. We just want the other person to understand. But understanding takes time. Especially if the other person has a different point of view.
And even with the same point of view. Often we are just talking at each other instead of with each other. We’re more often making disconnection during communication than connection. It’s really easy to misunderstand someone simply because we’re not paying attention.
The key to better communication is to slow down and listen. Really hear what the other person is saying. And often people just get frustrated because the other person is taking too long to get their point across. Or you read into what they tell you and you cut them off and giving your point of view. This is how many conversations go.
Formulating a Response Instead of Really Listening
Another common thing is not really listening but waiting for them to stop talking so that you can give your response. You are formulating your response while they are speaking. You’re not really listening fully to what they have to say. So much is lost in the process.
You see, the problem is that we just don’t have enough time to give another person. To really slow down and give them space, time, attention and presence to really and fully hear what they have to say. And many people talk a lot but don’t say much of anything. That’s often the reason why we have developed this bad habit of either cutting people off (interrupting them) or tuning out to what they’re saying.
If we slowed down, said less and listened more we would all understand each other better. But we live in such a fast-paced world where for many slowing down is not an option. Or it’s a skill they have never developed. We have created lifestyles that keep us busy. Living in the “rat race.” Always DOING instead of BEING.
If we learned how to just BE more often we would have better relationships. And we would have fewer arguments and more fun. It’s really about all of us tapping into our feminine and more receptive side. Our masculine energy keeps up on high speed, focused and unable to slow down and listen.
So simply said, it’s the divine feminine that will help you with tip number 7.
What is the divine feminine and how does it relate to
improving communication in a relationship?
When you follow these 7 steps you become what I call a Divine Feminine Communicator and using your feminine energy. You are communicating in a way that creates more receptivity and less defensiveness. These 7 steps incorporate divine feminine energy to improve the communication in your relationships. Handling arguments in a relationship will become literally more graceful. And that’s a beautiful thing.
The divine feminine is our softer, more receptive, vulnerable nurturing side. Learn to let go of your GI Joe communication tactics. Get the war out of your words.
No matter if you are male or female, all of us have both feminine and masculine energy. All of us could put more divine feminine qualities into the way we communicate. It would create a more harmonious world.
What resonated most with you in this article and why?
How can you turn these insights into action? Leave a comment below and let me know. I would love to hear from you. Thousands of other women come here each week for inspiration and wisdom. Your comment may provide support to someone else.
Thanks for being here and for adding your perspective. I would love for you to share this article with other women you love.
I’m Anna-Thea a Certified Divine Feminine Educator. Want to know how to improve communication in a relationship? Check out my free course How to Feel Heard and Understood. It will transform your relationships!
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Yes I wish our culture was more able to get things out in the open. What is required is a heightened sensitivity in how you bring things out in the open. That’s what’s needed. Slowing down, tuning in, and using words that reflect ones inner awareness rather than opinion or judgments is the way to go! 🙂
This Heart Talk communication method helped me tremendously in havinga peaceful and loving separation from my marriage. Thank you Anna-Thea!
I have been a “run-for-the-hills” type of communicator which means I would rather run and be courageous enough to express my feelings in a relationship. Growing up we did not communicate. Lots of silent treatments and passive aggressive dialogue. I am happy to report that your communication coaching & courses have saved me money on counseling sessions and have supported me in my current & healthy relationship! Thank you!
Yep it’s the fight or flight mechanism in our brain that makes us want to “run for the hills.” But it doesn’t create more juice and love in the relationship… that behavior is actually very damaging because it triggers the other person’s abandonment wound and then there is a loss of trust. Taking time to process and then coming back with a more centered and loving voice will not only honor you but will also honor your partner.
You are so weclome Donna! So glad my Heart Talk model could help you especially with navigating the end of your marriage more lovingly and gracefully.
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