Open communication is the best predictor of relationship satisfaction. However, when you have to rush to work, pick up your kids from school, and then head to soccer practice, how can you make time for meaningful conversations? It’s easy to be busy!
It might seem like the last thing you want at the end of a long, tiring day is to have an honest and open conversation about your relationship. You might find yourself nodding and saying “uh-huh” rather than being present when you sit down with your partner. While a half-hearted answer is understandable, it doesn’t promote connection. And if you pretend to listen to your partner, they won’t feel heard. It’s impossible to build a real connection if you are too tired or if your needs conflict with your partner’s. It is important to make meaningful connections with your partner and have quality conversations.
Communication is a skill. It can be improved through practice, just like any other skill. These tips will help you communicate mindfully and be present with your partner. These small skills can improve communication between you and your partner to create or strengthen a healthy, happy relationship.
Three tips for better communication
TIP 1 – Make Communication a Daily Ritual
It is important to practice communication skills regularly to improve your communication skills. The Gottman Institute suggests that you set aside time each day to communicate with your partner instead of just going through the motions on “relationship autopilot”.
Talk to your partner, but communicate. Be more present while speaking, listening, or spending time with your partner every day. You will choose when your phone is off and put it aside.
Give your partner your full attention. Pay attention to your partner and not just nod along while you play badminton. You will notice the difference between a mindful conversation with your partner and one on autopilot. This small difference can make you feel more connected and loved.
TIP 2 – Make your partner feel heard by expressing empathy
Empathy is a human need. Although empathy is a natural trait, we need to learn how to show it.
Empathy is a skill that can be used to respond to difficult situations. It takes practice. Empathy is something you can practice every day. Every interaction you have with your partner gives you the chance to choose understanding over indifference and engagement over passiveness. In other words, you can set the intention (i.e., make a conscious choice) to show empathy to your partner during your daily conversations.
According to UC Berkeley, radical listening and vulnerability are two crucial steps in developing empathy. Radical listening means actively being present and mindful of your partner’s conversation (as discussed in the first tip). Vulnerability means being open with your partner about your feelings. These two skills are what make up our empathy abilities. We must improve both of them to foster empathy in our relationships.
TIP 3 – Release Judgment while Listening to Your Partner
It can be frustrating to have a serious conversation with a partner and then find them closed off or unable to communicate. Judging and criticizing are two of the fastest ways to stop a conversation. It is crucial to create a safe space that encourages your partner to share and open up.
Try to see your partner and their needs as a positive thing. Be curious and open to learning. To generate positive feelings towards them, you can practice mindfulness of loving-kindness.
It’s helpful to recall the things you love about your partner to help you get in the right frame of mind. You can connect with your partner by recollecting happy memories and other endearing traits. This will help you create a more authentic experience that brings out the best in them.
Check out the results of mindful communication for yourself
Your relationship’s foundation will be strengthened if you improve your mindfulness communication skills. You will feel closer to your partner, and your relationship will be more resilient to setbacks.
Mindful communication gives you the tools to approach relationships with empathy and respect. You can tackle any difficulties together if you are connected and united as a couple.