Healthy communication is the lifeline of any relationship, especially for committed partners. Without it, couples experience conflicts, misunderstandings and mistrust.
Healthy communication starts with small talk like asking, "How was your day?" and it digs deeper into building a connection with your spouse. Feelings are shared and understood.
This article outlines how to make communication that goes further than the “small talks” and can help you maintain a successful relationship. First, let us discuss the effects of the unhealthy communication gaps in a relationship.
Effects of Poor Communication in Relationship
- Unresolved Conflicts
Conflicts are common in a relationship. However, if there is a lack of communication, the chances are high that conflicts will go unresolved, fester and escalate. Relationship behavior can move towards criticism, stonewalling and contempt. Many people have found that a couples retreat in Chicago and other cities in the United States is very beneficial in helping couples learn effective communication skills and resolve conflicts.
The communication gap hinders the relationship's growth and leads to misunderstandings. A minor misunderstanding can lead to a major, distressing argument, causing cause of frustration and stress for partners. If the misunderstanding is not resolved, couples often distance themselves emotionally and mentally from each other, and the quality of partnership degrades.
- Deterioration of Trust
Poor communication can harm the emotional intimacy of the relationship. Partners may feel like they cannot go to the other to share feelings of happiness or sadness. Without trust, partners may their lose their self-esteem or lose interest in the relationship. According to the Journal of Family Issues, ineffective communication is one of the base causes of divorce.
How To Improve Communication In A Relationship
- Watch Your Communication Style
Identify and improve the way you communicate. Social scientists at Princeton University outlined four communication styles.
- Aggressive: Expressing their feelings, needs and ideas at the expense of others.
- Passive: Deferring to other for decisions making to avoid tension or conflict.
- Passive-Aggressive: Exerting control over others by using sarcasm and indirect communication or avoiding the conversation.
· Assertive: Respecting the feelings, ideas, and needs of others while also asserting your own
People use a combination of those styles, depending on the situation. Experts say the ideal style is Assertive. These communicators such as “I feel” or “I need” statements. This style will mostly likely lead to longer-term, deeper relationships.
2. Be Open
The more open and honest the communication you have, the healthier your partnership tends to be. Be honest and open about your feelings and needs. Withdrawing from conflict can seem like a “safe” option, but it prevents partners from growing their communication skills. Open communication is the key to addressing major problems and preventing distressing situations.
3. Observe Your Partner
During a conflict, most people are not really “listening” to their partner. Most of the time, they are thinking about the next thing to say when the partner stops talking. This behavior is one of the significant barriers to effective communication.
Remember, communication is a two-way thing. It is about putting your thoughts in front of others and carefully understanding their feelings. Therefore, listen to your partner carefully, understand what they actually want to say, and respond accordingly. Handle their thoughts with empathy.
4. Seek Counseling
Learning communication skills and untangling years of misunderstanding can be difficult on your own. If you and your partner have tried to manage your conflict on your own and the situation has not improved, then seek the help of a skilled counselor. The sooner you get help, the quicker you can see results. A therapist may suggest a couple's retreat or marriage workshop to attend. These events usually have a dedicated module on communication.
In Final Words-:
If you're serious about improving your relationship, discover better listening and communicating skills. A couples therapist can help you in this context by teaching effective strategies for managing conflicts, miscommunications and mistrust.