How you and your partner interact and communicate with one another can make or break your relationship. For example, if your conversations involve a lot of negativity and not much positivity, there’s a good chance that you won’t feel very much relationship satisfaction.
While every relationship will face its share of challenges and conflicts, how you and your partner handle these challenges can either bring you closer together or push you further apart. If your relationship is struggling, it may be due to one or more of the following communication failures.
Neglecting to Listen
Effective communication is not just about what you say but also about what you hear. If you’re not listening to what your partner has to say, you will not be able to communicate effectively as equal partners.
In order to truly listen to your partner, you need to be present in the conversation and fully engaged. This means putting away distractions, such as your phone and focusing your attention on the discussion. It also means being open-minded and receptive to your partner’s opinion, even if you disagree with it.
Failing to Communicate Your Needs
No matter how well two people think they know each other, it’s impossible to truly and thoroughly read each other’s minds. If you’re not communicating your needs, wants, and feelings to your partner, there’s a good chance that they won’t be able to guess what you’re thinking or feeling.
- Ask for it.
- When you’re feeling overwhelmed, let your partner know.
- When you’re happy, share your joy.
And responding to your partner’s expressed needs is just as important. When they ask for support, give it. When they tell you they need you for something, don’t ignore them or deny them your help.
When most of your conversations with your partner tend to involve belittling, criticisms, or other forms of negativity, it’s only natural that your relationship will suffer. Even if you’re pointing out your partner’s flaws to help them improve, this behavior will only end up causing resentment and pushing them away.
It’s important to make an effort to share the positive aspects of your relationship with your partner. Whether you’re complimenting them on something they did or simply telling them how much you appreciate them, these positive interactions will help to strengthen your bond and make your relationship more satisfying.
Unsuccessful Conflict Resolution
Happy and healthy relationships are not defined by an absence of conflict but rather by the way in which conflicts are handled. How do you and your partner usually handle disagreements?
Do you tend to avoid conflict altogether, even when important issues need to be addressed? Do you find yourselves getting into the same arguments repeatedly without ever really resolving anything? Do you yell aggressively and say hurtful things to one another?
Or do you work together to calmly and constructively discuss your differences, respectfully listen to one another’s points of view, and find win-win solutions that satisfy both of you?
If you’re not happy with the way you and your partner usually communicate and handle conflict, it’s vital to make an effort to change this. With some patience and practice (and maybe some assistance from a therapist or counselor), it is possible to learn how to effectively communicate with one another and resolve conflicts in a way that is positive and productive.
The sooner you start making these changes, the sooner you and your partner can start enjoying a happier and healthier life together.