What are the top reasons why couples break up? The obvious answers are money, sex, and infidelity. However, the underlying cause behind those factors is nearly always a lack of communication.
Effective couples’ communication is a common problem in partnerships. You and your partner are two different people with different upbringings, opinions, wants, and needs. It would be unreasonable to expect no arguments and total understanding 24/7.
So don’t worry, you are not alone.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can improve communication with your partner. Here are nine actionable couples’ communication tips you can try with your partner to improve your relationship.
- Listen More Than You Talk
Yes, the first couples’ communication tip is to not actually communicate, but there’s a bit more to it than that.
If you’re feeling frustrated in your relationship and there are many areas you want to address, you might find yourself constantly talking. You may want to plan a vacation or discuss getting healthy or something else. You might not leave any room for your partner to express their thoughts.
Because if you have a lot you want to say, chances are they do too.
One of the best communication exercises for couples is to practice active listening. Both of you should follow the rule of not interrupting while the other person is speaking—and really listen.
Don’t think about how what they’re saying is wrong or how you’re going to retaliate. Consider what your partner is saying and how they’re feeling.
- Watch Your Body Language
Your body language and your actions can often say a lot more than your words. Your mouth might say, “I’m fine,” but crossing your arms and looking away says otherwise.
Here are some adjustments you can make to your body language to improve couples communication:
- Look your partner in the eye when they speak
- Put down your phone or stop what you’re doing when they speak
- Lean forward if your partner is excited about what they’re saying
- Pay attention to your tone of voice
- Don’t roll your eyes in a condescending way
- Be mindful of how your gestures come across
Being aware of your own and your partner’s body language will help you communicate more effectively.
- Live by Your Values
This point could also be called “practice what you preach” or “walk the walk.”
Many couples complain of a nagging partner or one that is constantly on their back to change something.
This is not how couples should communicate. You’re in a partnership; one of you is not a parent to the other. You cannot change something about your partner that they do not want to change.
Instead, you need to live by your own values and expectations. And if your partner sees the benefit in you, then they might be more open to your point of view.
- Spend Quality Time Together
When was the last time you spent quality time with your partner without watching TV or being on your phone?
It’s so easily done. You have jobs, kids, and responsibilities. Life gets in the way.
It’s so important to have at least one night or afternoon a week where you spend quality time together. Go for a walk or enjoy a meal at a restaurant with no phones allowed. Better yet, book a trip to a remote cabin for the weekend.
Effective couples’ communication starts with quality communication.
- Be Honest No Matter What
No matter how challenging or difficult it might be, always be honest with your partner.
Many couples say that their partner should “know” when something is up. But if you’re always saying “I’m fine” when you are not fine, then your partner isn’t going to be able to read your body language. They will never know whether you’re fine or not.
That is just one example of a vicious cycle and not a productive one.
Honesty is the only way to gain mutual respect in your partnership. Because if you’re not honest about your thoughts and feelings, you’re essentially lying. If you’re honest, you can expect your partner to be honest too.
- Respect Each Other’s Worldview
Developing good communication skills for couples always starts with respect. If you and your partner disagree or respond to a situation differently, there is likely a good reason for that.
You both grew up in different households and had different experiences. Share your point rationally and allow them to do the same. Don’t belittle or judge your partner. Agreeing to disagree is a perfectly adequate resolution.
This is one of the most important communication skills for couples. If you both learn to truly respect one another, you’ve got a great foundation on which to build a loving and committed relationship.
- Don’t Keep Score
Toss any petty or judgemental phrases out of your vocabulary! Sentences that start when “you’re such a” or “you always” do not make for effective couples communication.
You should never bring any past “wrongs” into the present situation. You both need to learn to deal with issues as and when they happen and then move on. You don’t get to keep score or “win” an argument with this method because the relationship will always lose.
- Learn How to Apologize
Apologizing properly is one of the toughest life skills for anyone to grasp. But one of the best communication tips for couples to learn is this: The relationship is more important than being right.
For example, if one of you forgot to pick up milk for the hundredth time and the other one shouted, “I can’t believe you forgot to pick up milk again, you’re useless!”
Who is right? Who should apologize? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter—the relationship is always more important.
- Try a Couples Retreat or a Counselor
There is absolutely no shame in seeking third-party help to improve your couples’ communication skills. It’s a myth that you need to wait until your relationship is crumbling before you find help.
Everyone could stand to improve their communication skills. So the earlier, the better!
You could try seeing individual counselors, a couples counselor, or attend a couples retreat, which could be useful for you. If you’re interested in finding out more about what happens at a couples retreat, learn more here.
You Should Try With Your Partner Today These Couples’ Communication Tips
Hopefully, you’ve learned some new couples’ communication tips that you and your partner can put into practice. Every day is a chance for a fresh start.
As long as you have respect, love, and appreciation for one another and are open to change, you will be fine.
Check out our other family and relationship articles for more tips and advice!