Improving Communication with your Partner - Tips and Advice

Communication is indescribably valuable to any relationship. It is essentially the basis for all meaningful friendships and romance. Without good communication, you and your partner are forever destined to be isolated from one another. Just because you feel that your communication has weakened since the beginning of your relationship , doesn't mean that you can't help to revive it now.

TIP: Read 'Tell Me Honey...2000 Questions for Couples' to improve communication with your partner

The most basic key to effective communication between lovers is the ability and willingness to listen. It's easy to hear someone talk but to absorb what they're saying and draw conclusions of your own based on the words takes a little effort. People who have been in a relationship for a long time tend to feel as if they already know what their partner is trying to get across without really having to pay that much attention to what they're saying. This is just sort of a by-product of spending a lot of time with someone and becoming close to them. The fact of the matter is that you'll never be a psychic and you don't always know what your partner is thinking or feeling, so listen. Always look at your partner and make eye contact as you listen as well; many people don't feel as if they're being heard and understood if the person they're talking to is looking down or away.

When talking to your partner about serious issues (such as finances, children, your relationship etc.) keep the sarcasm and witty put downs to a minimum. Nothing builds resentment in a relationship ( resentment and communication do not mix) more quickly than one partner “winning” an argument courtesy of spot on comedy (the losing partner will feel deflated, embarrassed and angry), so even if you're quicker and more clever with comebacks just save it for a time when it could actually make your partner laugh, rather than cry or storm off. Respectfulness in conversation can work wonders in a relationship, as it will make both partners feel as though they can present their feelings fully. When you're the one talking, be honest and say what you mean in a calm and collected way. Use the word “I” in your rebuttals rather than using the word “you”, which can feel like an accusation. “I feel like too much money is being spent on things which are not necessary” is much more likely to yield a reasonable response than “You're spending all our money on shoes”. Adults can have arguments and disagreements without inevitable chaos as long as they just act like adults. Also make sure any conversations regarding important topics occur in private and with time to be spent on them.

Ask the questions that you don't normally ask. If you and your partner have been experiencing more silence than communication lately, ask questions that you think your partner will be interested to answer. If your boyfriend is watching football then have a seat next to him and ask him about some of the players or some the rules of the game (you don't really have to be interested; but you open the lines of communication and gain a little knowledge at the same time). He might be surprised by your sudden enthusiasm, but if he's passionate about the game he'll probably be more than happy (and maybe even a little bit flattered) to talk about it. This kind of thing can work with any movie, television show, video game, or website (such as a message board or niche news site) that your partner enjoys but you have never really been intrigued with. This allows you to learn a little more about your partner and what they like ultimately, which is always a good thing.

When in a long distance relationship or one where you and your partner don't see each other daily, be sure to talk as often as possible. This doesn't necessarily mean talking on the phone for hours each night (this can be great for communication but some people can understandably tire of constantly being on the phone). The old fashioned mailing of letters (even when you live close to each other) can be a very romantic way to express feelings and thoughts in a more articulate and thought out way than usual. Emails can work in much the same way (though not with quite the degree of inherent romanticism). Instant messengers (you can download messengers for free from Yahoo, AOL, MSN, and other companies; Myspace and Facebook now have instant messengers built into their sites as well) can be a nice break from phone communication as well. Instant messengers are basically the middle ground between phone talk and emails. You're speaking to each other in real time (as with a phone conversation) but you also get to think a little more about what you want to say and how you want to say it (as with emails and letters). The humor that you can come up with on an instant messenger can be golden, as you actually have a second to stop and think about what would be a funny response to what your partner has just said. I think a nice balance of these three methods is a good way to keep communication strong in a long distance relationship.

Where there is no communication there is no real connection. If you try to hold your relationship together with just sex and deep magical feelings that need never be spoken, the relationship will eventually deteriorate. You should always be striving to understand your partner better, because you never know when your partner has changed. As people grow, the relationships that they are in must grow alongside, which is almost solely dependent on communication.