effective communication tips for couples
Communication (or better yet, effective communication) is one of, if not the, most important pieces to the puzzle of marriage. It can foster trust and true connections between spouses. In order to have an open and honest relationship with your spouse, you must both be committed to learning how to communicate better with one another. Whether you hate it, fear it, or can’t get enough of it, communication is one of the fundamental building blocks of marriage. It truly does have the ability to create or maintain that beautiful, loving, and healthy marriage you and your spouse are nurturing!
The secret to successful communication in relationships is knowing how to broach the subject matter, accurately convey what you are feeling, and properly (and promptly) resolve any issues or concerns that may arise. The best part is… we have compiled a list of our Top 10 Communication Tips For Couples! So, if you’re working on having more effective communication in your relationship, we have some amazing tips and advice that you can put into action!
Top 10 Communication Tips For Couples:
- Process Your Own Feelings First
- Timing the Conversation
- Verbalize Your Intentions
- Use “I” Statements Instead of “You” Statements
- Be Present
- Listen to Understand
- Reflect Before You React or Reply
- If You Don’t Understand, Ask
- Acknowledge Their Feelings
- Your End Goal Should Be a Resolution
Process your own feelings first
This is a HUGE component when it comes to communication in relationships! Whatever you decide to do or take away from this article, don’t skip over this step! Before you sit down to talk to your spouse, take some time to process your own thoughts and feelings first. Take the dog for a walk, run an errand, or read the next chapter in the book you’re working through. This will give you time to gather your own thoughts and will allow you to enter into the conversation in a calm state. If you jump right into the conversation without this personal “debriefing” session first, you might still be feeling heated, and the conversation won’t be as productive.
Timing the conversation
Have you ever let something fester in your mind, thus causing you to lash out and spill your guts to your spouse right when they are leaving for work? Yeah…I’m guilty as well (insert embarrassed hand raise). If you want to work on how to communicate better, the best thing would be to give them a heads up that you would like to speak to them about something later. This will help your spouse feel less bombarded and ambushed by the conversation. It will also give you time to calm down, process everything you want to talk about (ahem, see above), and create a safe space for your conversation.
VERBALIzE Your intentions
Don’t assume that your spouse knows exactly what you want to get out of the conversation. They can’t read your mind, you know! If more effective communication is the goal here, make sure you let them know what you are hoping to achieve by talking to them. Setting these intentions and verbally expressing them will help guide the conversation in a more positive and productive way!
Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements
Oftentimes, I think it is easy for us to unintentionally point the finger at our spouses by saying things like, “You never help out around the house.” These kinds of statements may seem harsh, and your partner may feel ambushed by them, as it places the blame directly on your spouse. In reality, the underlying issue that you are trying to convey is how you actually feel about something.
If this is an area that you would like to discuss with your partner, a better statement may be something like, “I am feeling overworked with the household responsibilities. Is this something we can figure out together?” When thinking about how to communicate in a relationship, carefully considering how you voice your concerns will ultimately lead to a more civil, calm, and productive resolution!
Our body language is a form of non-verbal communication. Although body language may be something we observe, it has the power to speak VOLUMES – especially when considering communication in relationships (Smith). When your spouse is speaking, turn your body towards them, look them in the eyes, and let them know that they have your full, undivided attention. Be present in the conversation and don’t let any distractions get in the way.
Listen to understand
Want to know the secret to effective communication? It’s LISTENING! No, seriously, you guys! Listening is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! The way in which you listen to your spouse will have a huge impact on the way the conversation will go. When your spouse is speaking, listen carefully to understand them – don’t just hear them. Focus on what they are saying to you and let their words fill you up. Try to really grasp and comprehend what they are conveying in order to understand where they are coming from.
Reflect Before you react or reply
We’ve all been there before… You’re in a heated moment with your spouse, and while they are speaking, you are focused more on priming your perfect response or waiting for your turn to talk in order to “beat them” or “one-up” them. Instead of succumbing to this common mishap, take a moment to reflect on what your partner said before you react or reply. If you want to work on how to communicate better, don’t interrupt them while they are speaking and try to put yourself in their shoes in order to see things from their perspective.
This moment of reflection will allow you to better understand what your spouse is conveying to you. It will also negate any assumptions you might have about what their intentions are and it will give you time to gather your thoughts before you jump in to respond.
If you don’t understand, ask
Okay, I know this is pretty self-explanatory here, but just in case you need a reminder – it’s perfectly okay to ask questions! Actually, you should ask questions! Effective communication is a two-way street and if you don’t understand something or need further clarification, just ask! Trust me, it will always be better to ask rather than draw your own assumptions. Not to mention, it will further validate to your partner that you are engaged in the conversation, you care about what they are saying, and you are putting in the effort to understand them!
Acknowledge their feelings
Throughout your conversations, it is also crucial to acknowledge your spouse’s feelings and emotions. If you are hoping to improve on how to communicate in a relationship, you need to let them know that the points they are making are valid and hold a sense of value to you. You may not always agree with what they are saying 100% of the time (let’s face it, that’s not realistic), but it is important that your partner knows they are being heard and understood.
your end goal should be a resolution
When all is said and done, both you and your spouse should focus on achieving a joint goal so that you can both move forward. The end goal should be a resolution, not worrying about who won the argument or who might have been in the wrong (Lamothe, 2019). Especially if the conversation included lots of emotions, difficult topics, or disagreements, both parties should walk away feeling as though a resolution has been made. In many cases, this will result in both of you making some sort of compromise. However, working together to come up with a resolution will leave you both feeling stronger and more connected.
Bonus: End with an expression of love
Yes, you should always remind your spouse how much you love and appreciate them, especially after a long and potentially difficult conversation. That’s always a critical part of communication in relationships. But, don’t forget to show your spouse some love as well! A nice long hug, a big ol’ smooch, a love tap on the bum… However you both express love, DO IT!
It’s no secret… marriage can be tough! You merge your life with another person and agree to conquer life together no matter what it decides to throw at you. However, healthy marriages will always have one thing in common: they contain two spouses who are equally willing to communicate together and work through everything and anything that falls into their path.
And because not ALL conversations need to revolve around issues or disagreements, our Conversation Starter Cards make for the perfect date night activity! Effective communication will naturally happen as you tackle topics such as finances, intimacy, family, and more. In the mood for something a little more steamy? Our Sexy Pillow Talk Conversation Starters might do the trick! Add in some sweet treats, and you got yourself one heck of a night ahead of you! Or, if you prefer something the whole family can enjoy, try out our Family Conversation Cards!
Lamothe, C. (2019, October 29). Healthline. “Talk It Out: Communication 101 for Couples”.
Smith, S. PsychAlive. “Top 10 Effective Communication Techniques for Couples”.