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How to Become a Better Communicator in a Relationship

by Jaime Vargas-Benitez, studioD

Good communication is key in a healthy relationship. Effort must be mutual in order for partners to improve communication skills. Through asking questions, scheduling conversation time, and paying attention to non-verbal cues, partners can work together to heal a relationship. Without good communication skills, it is very difficult for any relationship to survive. Poor communication leads to anger, frustration and misunderstandings of feelings.

Stay Present and Accounted For

To enrich communication with your partner, be present in conversation. Being present means tuning out any distractions, says the article "Issues Treated in Therapy: Communication Problems," published on GoodTherapy.org. Turn off your cell phone, turn off the television, and focus on what your partner has to say. Maintaining eye contact can also help you stay present during communication. Your partner should have your full attention, and you should have his or hers.

Make an Appointment With Each Other

Busy lives make it necessary to schedule communication with your partner. This creates a relaxed atmosphere for communication, so your partner does not feel ambushed or nagged, says psychologist Joan Emerson in her article, "Being an Effective, Affectionate Communicator." When a couple schedules time to talk, it gives each person a chance to collect thoughts, make a list of subjects to be discussed, and approach the conversation calmly. This can result in less arguing and more understanding between partners.

Ask Questions

Asking questions is a way to clarify what your partner is saying. You cannot assume you understand his or her point of view if you do not clarify. You can say something like, "Are you saying you feel hurt when I do not call when running late?" This way, there is certainty that you are understanding the feelings your partner is expressing, says assistant professor of communication Geri Forsberg in her article, "Learn to Communicate." Encourage your partner to ask questions in return, so you know he or she also understands your point of view.

Non-Verbal Communication

There are more non-verbal cues in communication than verbal. When talking with your partner, watch for things like eye contact, folded arms and increased intensity, advises clinical psychologist John M. Grohol in his article "Nine Steps to Better Communication Today." If your partner avoids eye contact, it may mean he or she is ashamed of the topic of discussion or does not want to talk about it. Folded arms can indicate feeling defensive and guarded. Increased intensity while communicating can signify your partner does not feel heard. When a couple pays attention to these cues, it can help in bettering overall communication.

About the Author

Jaime Vargas-Benitez has been a parenting writer since 2010. She has worked in the child wellness field in various roles for over 20 years. Along with the experiences of raising her own kids, she has been privileged enough to participate in the raising of hundreds of other children as well.

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