Esther Bilbao from YourTango shares some tips on how to communicate effectively when in a relationship.
Do your communication skills need work?
In any relationship, learning each other's communication or "love language" style is critical to making someone feel heard and understood. When you don't feel that you're being heard, you may not feel love. So understanding effective communication techniques — both verbal and non-verbal communication skills — will help you communicate with your partner better and feel less afraid of talking about your feelings.
If you feel that you're drifting apart in your relationship because you and your partner don't talk to each other often, then it's time to ask yourself "What is my love language?" so you know what method you feel most comfortable dealing with your partner in.
Learning their love language/communication style is also very important. The more you understand one another, the more comfortable, happy, and loved you'll feel.
To maintain a healthy relationship, you should know how to communicate better with your partner. There are four parts to the process of communication: The sender (the person communicating), the encoding of the message (how you translate the message from thought into words or text), your channel of communication (how you choose to relay it), the receiver (the person hearing the message), and the feedback.
Communication is said to be effective when the message from the "sender" is delivered successfully to the "receiver" and relayed back through the "feedback." This means they both have the same understanding of the message and there's no confusion over the meaning or intent.
Communication problems are one of the most common problems couples go through in a relationship.
Let's say you are the sender of the message.
The usual problem on this stage is that sometimes you are not wary with your word choice, tone of voice, or body language. You may say hurtful words, raise your voice at your partner, or point your finger at them while you're talking. Not using the right "channel of communication" is also a factor. Channels of communication include writing, like text messages, chats, or emails, phone calls, and face-to-face communication.
Some opt to post their problems with their partners on social media instead of talking to them personally, and this will put your relationship in jeopardy. Others use chat or text messaging to relay their issues with their partners, which, many times, can cause miscommunication. This is because your partner may have the wrong interpretations of the message since they can't see your facial expression or hear the tone of your voice.
The "receiver," on the other hand, should carefully read, observe, or listen to the sender's message for them to properly decode and understand the message. If the receiver fails to understand the message, there will be negative "feedback" on the message. Therefore, the communication fails because the receiver is unable to understand the message from the sender.
Here are three ways you can better your communication skills, strengthen your relationship, and learn to speak your partner's "love language":
1. Choose the Right Time to Talk
It's important to find the right time to talk to your partner — especially when you had an argument. You and your partner should be calm, not in a hurry, and not stressed when you're going to have a conversation about an issue. Sometimes, people tend to bring up problems to their partners at the wrong times; especially when they're too emotional.
If your partner is in a bad mood, tired, or distracted, and you suddenly stormed into the room to talk to them about what's bothering you, it will just make the situation worse. This is because both of you are not emotionally and mentally ready to talk. You may not be mindful of your word choices, and you may sound like you're attacking them. This will make your partner defensive.
2. Use Face-to-Face Communication As Much as Possible
Text messages might just cause unnecessary miscommunication, so it's better to talk to your partner personally. Be sure that they're ready to give you their full attention when you approach them to talk. Maintain eye contact when speaking, listen when he's talking, and respond calmly.
3. Develop Good Listening Skills
Sometimes, the reason why you feel you're not being heard is that you're not listening to your partner when they are talking or expressing their feelings. You should actively listen to your partner when they're saying something. Don't interrupt while they're talking. Acknowledge that you're listening and that you understand what they're saying. Only give your response after they've stopped talking.
If you want to communicate better with your partner and understand one another better, the best relationship advice is to learn their love language and become fluent in it. Communication skills will strengthen your relationship and make arguments and misunderstandings a thing of the past!
Esther Bilbao is a mentor to women so they can have better relationships, health, and personal development. Get dating advice that could change your life with her "Relationship Ready: Meet And Attract Your Perfect Life Partner" course today.
Check out more great stories from YourTango:
- 10 Things Couples With The Strongest Relationships Do Constantly
- Everything You Need To Know About Each Of The 5 Love Languages
- The 4-Part Exercise That Is Key to Effective, Zero-Arguing Communication