Communication can be challenging for any person, even when things are going great. Part of this stems from the common fear we all share when it comes to letting another person get close to us, but we also contribute by bringing our own baggage to the table. Sometimes, you may not even be aware that you’re dragging your own personal hang-ups into the conversation, and that makes it even trickier.
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To reduce your miscommunication risk, you have to try to take command of the challenges. To start, use these five clear rules to improve communication with your partner and even other people in your life!
1. Don’t make any assumptions about what your partner feels
One communication trap that a couple often falls into is that each one believes the other person automatically knows what they are feeling and/or thinking. For instance, if you’ve ever thought along the lines of “If my partner really loved me, she or he would…” you’re guilty of doing this yourself. Chances are your partner has done this at least once in your time together as well.
If you want to receive the love you need in your relationship, your best bet is to share what your “love language” with your partner by verbally saying it. Your partner isn’t a mind reader and neither are you, so you both need to be clear about what you need. If you’re both trying to guess, that’s just adding unnecessary frustration.
To share your wants and needs properly, you’ll first need to discover what they are, and that can be difficult. Maybe you feel loved when you’re cuddled or hugged a lot, or it could be when your partner does things around the house for you. Really think about what you need and want in terms of love demonstration before you let your partner know. It’s often the simple things rather than grand gestures that truly matter, so don’t worry if you feel like you’re thinking small!
Keep in mind that it may take more than one conversation to get your message across. Never assume your partner automatically knows how to show you their love, as your partner might just have a different interpretation of a loving relationship than you do. You can actually learn more about your partner by having a frank and open discussion about love, so enjoy seeing their new sides.
2. Find out what your partner thinks about love
What your partner understands and also doesn’t know about loving you allows you to equip them with what’s necessary to support you in the way you need. Stop the “should have known” or “I said this 50 times already” types of criticisms, since repetition is a needed communication component.
Ask your partner questions about love so you know what they know and need to know. Find out what loves means to them and how they feel it should be expressed. You’ll learn valuable things about your partner’s idea of love, and you may even find out that you’re not expressing love in a way that they can respond to either. If so, work on your demonstrations as well to help improve your relationship.
Remember to be patient, as that is another foundation for successful communication! If you find yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it will be all worth it in the end. This is a marathon and not a sprint.
3. If you’re the one causing problems – accept it
If you find yourself frequently looking at your partner’s behavior and taking things personally because they just don’t “get it,” ask yourself if maybe you’re the one who is failing to articulate your needs. To do this, you need to try to look at instances of frustration from your partner’s point of view. Did you make what you needed clear? Would you have picked up on your needs or wants if the situation was reversed? Can those needs even be filled by another person?
You should also take a look at your expectations, as they may not be realistic. Even the most supportive partner will “fail” if your list of needs and wants is too much for one person to handle. This can be especially hard to do, so you’ll really have to dig deep and take a hard and long look at what you expect out of your partner.
Be incredibly honest with yourself throughout this process. While you don’t want to talk yourself out of what you need and deserve in a relationship, you do need to recognize when you’re asking for too much or things that just aren’t possible.
4. Feel out your partner’s perspective
In a relationship, you’re often looking from your own perspective, so it’s easy to forget that your partner has one of their own, too. But this can lead to different expectations and interpretations, which in turn can muddy the communication lines between you.
Talk about your perspective and find out your partner’s. Differences need to be worked out between you to keep the lines open. You may need to do this more than once over the course of your relationship.
As you and your partner change and grow, so may your expectations and perceptions. Be open to your partner’s new perceptions even if you don’t agree with him or her. The both of you will need to come to a happy medium over those differences, and that will be hard to do if you’re not willing to at least acknowledge the values in their way of thinking. You don’t have to agree with something to see another person’s point of view, so keep that in mind.
5. Acknowledge the give and receive in your relationship
You’ll never have an empty bucket if you believe that no matter how you give, you receive that much and even more in return.
Basically, you have to receive love in order to give. You may already be receiving in many ways, from avenues such as knowledge and great experiences. But if you’re not taking that love into account, you’re shortchanging yourself and making it more difficult for yourself to give. Simply put, we’re better at giving love when we feel it ourselves, but we have to be open to and see all the sources of love in our lives.
If your love “receiving receptor” isn’t up to par, work on making it stronger. Learn to accept and recognize what you receive from all areas so that you’re happier and able to give out more yourself. Love can come from some unexpected places, so always be ready to take it in.
By keeping these communication rules in mind, you’ll make your life easier and happier. Soon, good communication will become second-nature to you. Start speaking more clearly today to enter a whole new phase in your relationship!