Friday, 8 February 2013

Improving communication in a relationship

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and it may seem as if we are surrounded by inflatable hearts and smug couples. The 14th of February is a day to celebrate love with our partner. However, for many couples it can shine an all too harsh (albeit red hued) light on a broken relationship. The biggest problems couples face can be the result of poor communication and so in order to have a great Valentine’s day and improve your relationship follow these simple tips.

  • Discuss issues before they turn into problems. Many issues are not discussed until they suddenly become overwhelming and may be unresolvable. It is therefore very important to calmly discuss problems when they first arise in order to stop them spiralling out of control. 
  • Share your views. We are sociable beings and enjoy talking about our feelings, hopes and aspirations but if our partner is unwilling to listen or share their own thoughts it can become frustrating. Set aside time to talk and agree not to be critical of one another. 
  • Try and see the issue from your partner’s perspective. Sympathising with their view and feelings will help you understand their actions and will help them communicate their thoughts better. 
  • Don't attack your partner. If you wish to talk to your partner about a problem, try to not make it a personal attack. Remain calm and discuss why their behaviour upsets you and suggest how the problem can improve. 
  • Understand your own needs. If you do not know what you want then it is very difficult to communicate what is troubling you with your partner. 
  • Communicate with your partner. If your partner does not realise something has upset you it can be infuriating and may seem easier to blame them for not understanding. Make sure you tell your partner what the problem is it rather than playing the blame game. 
  • Do not let the argument become about winning or proving a point. Maintaining the strength of your relationship by respecting your partner should remain a priority during the discussion. 
  • Write to your partner. If you are finding it difficult to express your emotions, write a letter to your partner so you can communicate how you are feeling. 
  • With regards to Valentine’s Day, communicate exactly you want from it. Are you expecting a romantic trip away? Or would you be happy with a take-away and a movie? Having expectations of your partner without communication is likely to end in disaster. 
  • Consider therapy. If you still struggle to communicate with your partner consider couples therapy. Talking calmly in a neutral space allows you to appreciate how your partner is feeling which is difficult to achieve during conflict. Couples therapists are trained to spot key communication problems and will guide you to a happier relationship. 
If you strip away the gimmicks and the high expectations, the 14th February is a day to celebrate your love for one another. Use it as an opportunity to appreciate your partner and spend valuable time together. If you do this and follow our tips on communication you will not only have a fantastic Valentine’s day, but your relationship will grow stronger and healthier.

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