Good communication is an essential component of any healthy partnership and an important component of all relationships. Every relationship has its ups and downs, but a healthy communication style can make it easier to deal with conflict and build a stronger, healthier relationship. We frequently hear how important communication is, but not what it is or how we can use it in our relationships.
Communication in Relationships
Communicate with one another. You cannot read your partner’s mind, no matter how well you know and love each other. To avoid misunderstandings that can lead to hurt, anger, resentment, or confusion, we must communicate clearly.
A relationship requires two people, and each person has different communication needs and styles. Couples must find a way to communicate that is appropriate for their relationship. Healthy communication styles necessitate practice and dedication. Communication is never going to be perfect all of the time.
When communicating with your partner, be clear so that your message is received and understood. Check that you understand what your partner is saying.
When conversing with your partner, try to:
- Make time to talk without being interrupted by other people or distractions such as phones, computers, or television.
- Consider what you want to say.
- Be specific about what you want to say.
- Make your message as clear as possible so that your partner hears it correctly and understands what you’re saying.
- Discuss what is going on and how it affects you.
- Discuss what you want, need, and feel – use ‘I’ statements like ‘I need,’ ‘I want,’ and ‘I feel’.
- Take responsibility for your own emotions.
- Pay attention to your partner. For the time being, set aside your own thoughts and try to understand their intentions, feelings, needs, and desires (this is called empathy)
- Express your positive feelings to your partner, such as what you like and admire about them, as well as how important they are to you.
- Be mindful of your tone of voice.
- Negotiate and remember that you don’t always have to be right. If the issue isn’t that important, try to let it go or agree to disagree.
We can say a lot without speaking when we communicate. Our body posture, tone of voice, and facial expressions all send a message. These nonverbal cues can convey to the other person how we feel about them.
If our words do not match our feelings, it is often nonverbal communication that is ‘heard’ and believed. Saying ‘I love you to your partner in a flat, bored tone of voice, for example, sends two very different messages. Examine your body language to see if it matches what you’re saying.
Lack of Communication in Relationships
What happens in a relationship when there is no communication? You become strangers bonded by marriage or a relationship, but you’re not really in a relationship; a real relationship will have open communication – makes sense, right?
Here are some of the consequences of not communicating openly with your spouse or partner:
- When there is no communication, it’s as if you don’t know who you’re with. Your usual conversation has devolved into texting or chatting, and what’s worse is that you only talk about trivial matters such as what’s for dinner or when you’ll get home from work.
- If there is no way for you to express your feelings, don’t expect positive changes in your relationship. Can you tell if your partner is already deceiving you?
- A common feature of no communication relationships is that when problems arise, these couples do not discuss them.
What if you’re displeased with something? What can you say to a partner who isn’t even responding? How can you tell your partner if something is wrong when they are physically present but do not want to talk to you?
- If there is no open communication, your simple conversations will eventually devolve into arguments because you no longer know each other, and then it will devolve into aggressive communication, which will eventually become toxic and a burden.
- You can’t expect a long-term relationship if you don’t communicate. We’re not mind readers, so we can’t tell if you’re upset, sad, or lonely. How can you guess what your partner requires and desires if you don’t communicate openly?
- Finally, you or your partner will seek comfort and communication elsewhere because we are in desperate need of it. When this longing is satisfied somewhere else, your relationship is over.
Can your relationship still survive without communication?
What if you’re stuck in a cycle of no communication in your relationships? Do you believe you can still live and save your relationships or partnership? Yes, the answer is yes. Address the problem, which is a lack of communication in a relationship, and then do your best to improve it.
Changes will not occur overnight, but it will contribute to a brighter and stronger relationship. Try the steps below to see what a difference they make.
- First and foremost, you must be committed because this will not work if both of you do not work together. Before you can see results, you must be dedicated and committed.
- Don’t push it and start with small talk. It’s strange to go from no communication to hours of conversation. It will also be exhausting on both ends. Small talk, checking in on what happened at work, or asking what your partner likes for dinner are all good places to start.
- Address issues such as when your partner is upset by allowing them to vent and actually listening to them. Don’t dismiss it as a drama or a minor issue because it isn’t.
- Establish it as a habit. It will be difficult at first, but like any other practice, it will be worthwhile. You’ll be able to see the changes you’ve been hoping to see sooner or later.
- If you believe your relationship requires additional assistance, don’t be afraid to seek professional assistance. If you believe that a lack of communication is an easy problem to solve, you should reconsider. Sometimes there are deeper issues to address, and a therapist can assist you in resolving them.
No communication in a relationship is the same as putting a deadline on your marriage or partnership.
Communication in Relationships Books
There are numerous approaches to your relational education. One option is to read relationship books, which include books written by relationship experts such as couples therapists, counselors, and psychologists. Below are some relationship books that people (including myself) have found to be extremely beneficial in learning more about ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we can improve as partners and friends.
1. Attached by Amir Levine, M.D., and Rachel Heller, M.A.
Attachment theory basically states that we all have a distinct attachment style that influences how we behave in relationships: anxious attachment, in which you have a difficult time feeling secure in a relationship and your partner’s feelings for you; avoidant attachment, in which you frequently push people away to protect yourself and your independence; and secure attachment, in which you feel comfortable with intimacy and have an easy time connecting with others. Attached can help you figure out your attachment style and, as a result, where your relationship problems are coming from, as well as give you advice on how to deal with them.
2. All About Love by Bell Hooks
I’m not saying that Bell Hooks’ insights into love will change your life, but I’m also not saying that they won’t. “The word ‘love’ is most often defined as a noun… yet we would all love better if we used it as a verb,” she writes, emphasizing her main point that society fails to provide us with a model for learning to love. She challenges readers to heal from cynicism and embrace love as an act of caring, compassion, and strength that can improve all aspects of our lives, in contrast to the societal emphasis on romantic; sexual love.
3. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, Ph.D.
If you haven’t heard of him, psychologist John Gottman is one of the world’s foremost marriage experts. He’s written or co-written over 200 published academic articles and more than 40 books, and he co-designed the national clinical training program in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, an approach studied by many couples therapists, with his wife, Julie Gottman. All of this is to say that he’s a big deal, and his work is worth reading. Despite the title, many readers find it to be a valuable guide for all types of committed relationships, not just marriage.
4. Not Nice by Aziz Gazipura, M.D.
This book’s full title is Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, and Feeling Guilty and Start Speaking Up; Saying No, Asking Boldly, and Unapologetically Being Yourself, which is a mouthful but pretty much sums up why it’s so useful. After all, it’s difficult to form authentic connections when you don’t feel empowered to speak freely in your relationships. Not Nice provides actionable advice for overcoming people-pleasing tendencies and insecurities.
5. Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward by Gemma Hartley
You may have seen the author’s viral article “Women Aren’t Nags; We’re Just Fed Up,” which delves into the concept of invisible, emotional labor. This book delves deeper into the concept and offers advice on how to navigate uneven emotional labor balances in relationships—which may help you better communicate relationship challenges.
6. Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman
Big Friendship, from the creators of the popular podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, delves into the various ways friendships are formed, challenged, and maintained. and encourages readers to devote the same time and effort to preserving friendship bonds as they would to a committed romantic partner. It’s not a how-to book, but there’s a lot to learn from the author’s own experiences, as well as interviews with friends and experts.
7. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
This collection of Strayed’s Dear Sugar advice column from The Rumpus is not your typical relationship book. However, Strayed’s insights into her readers’ problems are rife with life lessons that will inspire you to do better in all aspects of your life, including your relationships.
8. The Enneagram in Love by Stephanie Barron Hall
Are there any other Enneagram fans in the house? As a fan of personality tests, I enjoy using personality archetypes such as the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs (Type 4 and INFJ, here!) as blueprints for self-improvement. If you identify with your Enneagram type, The Enneagram in Love may feel like relationship advice tailored just for you.
9. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson, Psy.D.
Many people don’t realize the impact their upbringing had on them until much later in life, and even then, it can be a long and muddy road. So many people I know, including myself! This book was a low-key life-changing experience for me because it articulated common manifestations of lingering feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, or abandonment (just read this passage from a recent viral-ish tweet). At its core, this book is about understanding your unhealthy and damaging childhood relationships in order to create more positive new relationships in the present.
10 . How to Be an Adult in Relationships by David Richo
How to Be an Adult in Relationships is an oldie but a goodie that approaches relationships through the lens of mindfulness. Richo’s vision of “mindful living” is all about becoming a better, more loving partner by focusing on five key concepts: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing.
11. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
Brown’s viral TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” may be familiar to you. If you do, you’re aware that her insight into vulnerability goes hand in hand with authentic relationships. Daring Greatly is about all of that and more, and I recommend it to anyone who has put off forming meaningful relationships because they are afraid of being hurt, rejected, or looking less-than-perfect.
12. Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown
Pleasure Activism is required reading for anyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of others, despite the fact that it is so much more than a book about connection and relationships. Her insights on how to make social justice more sustainable through pleasure. Brown also teaches readers how to follow the basic advice of putting on one’s own oxygen mask before helping others. This lovely book may just leave you feeling better equipped to nourish all of your connections, regardless of the type of relationship.
13. Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer
Say What You Mean is about how to listen as much as it is about how to communicate. Sofer uses mindfulness and nonviolent communication principles to teach readers how to develop healthy and satisfying communication styles, which is a necessary skill in any relationship.
14. How to Be a Person in the World by Heather Havrilesky
If you’re a fan of The Cut’s Dear Polly, you already know that Havrilesky has a talent for assisting others in navigating the perilous terrain of human relationships. How to Be a Person in the World is a collection of brand-new Q&As not found anywhere else (though there are a few of the column’s best-ofs in there as well).
15. Tongue Tied: Untangling Communication in Sex, Kink, and Relationships by Stella Harris
Communication is essential whether you’re having sex in a committed partnership or not. Harris, a sex educator, and coach, offers straightforward advice on asking for what you want (and figuring it out if you don’t know), as well as coping strategies for dealing with shame, insecurity, and awkwardness. Because, let’s face it, being a sex-positive communicator isn’t always the easiest thing in the world.
Importance of Communication in Relationships
When it comes to love and communication in a relationship, both partners should be willing to share a piece of themselves with one another. Even if some people are accustomed to keeping their thoughts and feelings to themselves, it is critical to open up communication in a relationship.
There are two possible reasons for your fear of communicating with your partner. The first reason for fear of communication in romantic relationships could be fear of rejection. At same time, the second reason is anxiety about what your partner will say. Maintaining these fears prevents you from properly nurturing your relationships.
Melanie White’s book emphasizes the importance of communication in preventing conflicts and saving a marriage or relationship. The book also confirms that practical steps must be taken to save a relationship.
1. To foster love
Love can be compared to a flower; if it is not well cared for, it will die with time. Some people rely on the emotional tingling within to keep them going when they fall in love.
However, it fades over time, which is why people break up because the vibes have dwindled. Communication is the key ingredient that must be added to keep the love between you and your partner strong.
With open communication between you and your partner, it will be simple to remind each other of the reasons you fell in love in the first place. If you make a concerted effort to communicate in an effective, honest, and open communication, the chances of falling out of love are slim.
2. To clear up misunderstandings
One of the reasons for misunderstandings in a relationship is that both parties see things differently; this is why communication is crucial. A relationship without communication will result in fights and resentment because both parties do not see eye to eye.
The unfortunate part is that the lack of communication will prevent both partners from remembering the source of their disagreement, making it impossible for them to resolve amicably. When both parties in a communication communicate effectively, they will have a better understanding of each other’s relationships of view and will be able to reach a compromise.
3. Getting to know one another
Getting to know each other is another reason why communication is important in relationships. Several associations were formed as a result of a one-time hookup. Some of them meet at a club or a friend’s party, hook up, and start a relationship without knowing each other well.
When the relationship reaches a crisis point, it will be difficult for both parties to understand each other because a solid communication foundation has not been established. The truth is that it is difficult for a relationship to develop if both parties are unfamiliar with each other. And the primary means of resolving this issue is through effective communication.
4. It promotes mutual respect between the partners.
The introduction of respect is one of the answers to questions like “why is communication important in a relationship?” Some relationships fail because there is a lack of respect in the relationship. We have various ways of commanding respect, and our partners will only know if they are kept up to date.
What may not appear to be disrespectful to one party may appear to be disrespectful on all levels to the other. As a result, effective communication is critical for both parties to understand when not to cross the line.
5. It eliminates the need for guesswork.
When there is a lot of guesswork in a relationship, it can crumble because both partners will continue to do the wrong thing that will irritate the other.
When there is open communication in a relationship, there is no need to make educated guesses about any situation. It would also contribute to the development of a healthy relationship in which neither partner finds it difficult to understand what makes their partner tick. Your relationship becomes less complicated as a result, and everyone is happy.
6. To foster trust
Building trust in a relationship takes time, and one way to do so is through communication. Trust cannot be built in a day, but it can be built over time if both partners are always willing to have honest and open communication.
As you learn to confide in your partner about anything that happens to you, your trust in them grows. You feel safe with your partner when you communicate effectively. You are also confident that your secrets are safe with them because you have grown to trust them over time.
7. It enables partners to support one another.
One of the most exciting aspects of having a partner is that you always have someone to lean on when facing difficulties. When faced with difficulties, it would be a disservice to yourself if you chose not to share them with anyone, especially your partner. You might be passing up the opportunity to lean on someone’s shoulder.
It is important to note that dealing with difficulties alone can be difficult if your partner is unaware. For the time being, you may be emotionally unavailable and psychologically unbalanced, which can lead to disagreements and the like.
8. It improves one’s mood.
You are unhappy if you are unable to freely and honestly express yourself in a relationship. One of the goals of any successful relationship is for partners to be able to open up about their feelings, thoughts, and emotions without fear of rejection. Honest and effective communication activates this act.
When you share your joy with your partner, you have the luxury of boosting your mood because the atmosphere lightens. A healthy relationship is one in which both parties adhere to the complexities of effective communication.
9. To strengthen the relationship
Partners who do not communicate in their relationship risk losing love, care, and affection for one another. One of the essential ingredients that sustain a relationship is effective communication.
It is preferable to communicate with your partner if you have feasible suggestions that will help them improve. When they are unaware of their flaws, they will continue to make careless mistakes, causing conflict in the relationship.
10. You will discover new things.
When you are in a relationship, you will always have new experiences every day. Some of these encounters may serve as a practical learning opportunity for your partner. As a result, it is critical to have conversations with your partner about new dreams, thoughts, plans, and experiences.
How to Fix Lack of Communication in a Relationship
How can I improve my relationship communication? Here are some communication strategies and tips for improving relationship communication.
1. Remove communication impediments
Establish an open line of communication. When it comes to communication in relationships, there is no room for barriers. Openness is required for effective communication. The thing is, barriers do not dissolve simply because you want them to. They don’t go away just because you say, “I’d like to break down our communication barriers.”
One method for improving communication in a relationship is to break down barriers gradually.
2. Remain in the present moment
Bringing up the past is a sure way to irritate someone. When something elicits a negative reaction, it’s time to put it down. Because living in the past has a negative impact on the present, communication in relationships must remain in the present.
Keep any conversation, even if it is unpleasant, calm, and respectful by focusing on the topic at hand as one way to improve communication in a relationship.
Referencing the past quickly escalates minor disagreements into major squabbles. Before you know it, completely unnecessary things have been said, and the relationship has suffered as a result. There is no reason to escalate a minor issue.
3. Pay more attention to what you hear than what you say.
How can we improve our interpersonal communication skills? Another important way to improve communication in relationships is to learn the value of listening more than speaking. You will gain a better understanding of the other person’s point of view if you take the time to hear and process what they are saying, and they will understand you if you do the same.
In the heat of the moment, we tend to pick up on small snippets of what others are saying but completely miss the big picture. This is the source of people feeling misunderstood, and as we all know, misunderstandings lead to frustration and the formation of barriers that are difficult to overcome. To put this tip into practice, give conversations more structure by not interrupting and focusing on what someone is saying rather than what you plan to say next.
4. Pay attention to nonverbal cues
Nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal communication, if not more so. Work on relationship communication through the use of body language. Our body language and gestures speak volumes.
Crossed arms, an indication of being closed off or feeling attacked, positioning the body away; an indication of defensiveness and a lack of eye contact, an indication of either dishonesty or disinterest are a few examples.
Good communication is a dance in which both parties must take cues from one another. Take the cue if you feel the need to step back or redirect the conversation elsewhere. When two people can read each other, they become closer because they have a mutual understanding of boundaries.
5. Never underestimate the power of candor.
Communication in relationships is heavily reliant on honesty. Maintaining honesty in communication in a relationship is one of the relationship communication skills and ways to improve communication in a relationship.
Honesty entails more than simply telling the truth. It also entails being honest with yourself about your feelings and points of view. Being genuine is one way to improve communication. Building communication in a relationship entails creating a relationship in which communication is not an issue in the first place, and both partners work on developing effective communication methods.
6. Timing is everything.
Don’t forget about timing when implementing tips for better communication or how to communicate better in a relationship. When it comes to facilitating healthy communication in a relationship, timing is everything, as an inappropriate conversation and tone can wreak havoc on marital bliss.
7. Always converse face to face.
Even the most trivial issues must be discussed face-to-face. One of the most effective ways of communicating in a relationship is through face-to-face communication.
Phone calls, texts, and emails only leave loose ends because they can be unclear at times. It is very easy to misinterpret what someone is saying, especially in text messages and emails. These forms of relationship communication serve a purpose, but one of them is not to have meaningful conversations.
8. Give it a day or two.
Of course, when you’re upset about something, you want to express your feelings. So, how can you communicate more effectively with your spouse about the rift or discord in your relationship? Do that without a doubt, but take a day or two to relax and think about the situation.
So, how do you effectively communicate in a relationship? Wait, even if the desire is strong. You want to be the one to say something, not your rage. Anger in relationships is characterized by negative and accusatory language. Practicing a 24-hour rule is one way to improve communication in a relationship.
Here’s a quick and easy tip for mastering the art of relationship communication. If an error on your lover’s part won’t matter in 24 hours, then refraining from complaining is the best way to facilitate better communication in a relationship.
9. Recognize your own emotions
It is natural to want to discuss an issue as soon as it arises; however, time is required to facilitate fruitful communication in a relationship. Be honest with yourself about your feelings before you start communicating with your significant other.
Sit for a few minutes and think about what’s going on in your head. Emotional awareness allows you to clear your mind and communicate more effectively. You can do this by exploring your sensations and keeping a daily journal of how you feel.
10. Make use of ‘I’ statements
Avoid starting sentences with the accusatory “you,” start expressing feelings with “I feel” or “I am,” and make requests by leading with “Can you” or “I would appreciate it if you.”
In conversations, “I” statements help your partner understand your emotions. Such statements convey your strong feelings about the situation and assist your partner in understanding your preferences.
11. Establish a resolution goal.
Unless the entire purpose of starting the conversation is to reach a solution or a conclusion, it will do neither of you any good and will only add to your already existing distress. So, before you start the conversation, make a commitment to resolving the issue. Once you’ve decided on a goal, neither of you will stray from it.
12. Define boundaries
It is critical to draw the lines in a relationship. It expresses how the spouses would like to be treated by each other. Also, it identifies the personal values that they wish to safeguard. When disagreements arise, spouses can help each other by asking for permission, being honest, and showing respect.
Related Articles: Open Communication in Relationships & Marriages (Rules & Guide)
13. Avoid yelling.
Screaming and yelling will get you nowhere. It will only lead to more tense discussions. So, speak patiently, and if your partner begins to blame you for something, stop the conversation rather than becoming enraged and shouting back. If necessary, politely request a break. It is your responsibility at this point to mentally assess the situation.
14. Drop love notes
Written words can sometimes perform more magic than face-to-face conversations. As one of the most important ways to improve communication in a relationship, remember to leave sweet notes for your partner at their favorite places. It could be inside the closet, inside the car refrigerator door, or somewhere else.
You can make general love-filled statements, apologize for any past behaviors, or hint at sex plans.
15. Avoid sarcasm.
In the relationship, don’t be sarcastic or condescending. This demonstrates that you have negative feelings for your partner, which will only harm the relationship. While amusing repartees are encouraged, crossing the line will result in insult jokes. When tempted to make a sarcastic remark, partners should be aware of their actions and wait a moment to find appropriate words.
16. Select the appropriate location
You must resolve communication problems in the privacy and comfort of your own home. When there is a problem, avoid fighting in public or at social gatherings. If you both experience a surge of rage, avoid speaking in public and wait until you both get home. This will also give you both some time to relax.
17. Recognize your partner’s requirements.
The majority of problems arise when partners fail to understand each other’s needs. You must both pay close attention and ensure that the needs of both partners are met. This is possible with calm communication and can promote relationship satisfaction.
18. Don’t interrupt anyone.
When you want to start a conversation, don’t do it just because you want to talk. Don’t interrupt your partner or expect them to stop what they’re doing to talk. Ask instead if they have a moment or if the two of you can speak later. Starting a conversation with an interruption introduces an unnecessary irritant right away.
19. Send out positive thoughts.
One of the most important ways to improve communication in relationships is to show the other person that you are truly engaged in the conversation. It will encourage them to freely express themselves. You can agree by nodding your head or showing your interest by smiling from time to time.
20. Respond instead of reacting
Responding involves emotional intelligence as well as consideration for the outcome of the discussion. Reacting, on the other hand, can have both positive and negative connotations and is entirely based on emotions.
Last but not least, when it comes to ways to improve communication in relationships, remember not to react rashly to whatever your partner says. You must respond to their concerns in a calm and patient manner.
Effective communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, but it is not always simple. So, practice effective communication in relationships with your partner to foster a stronger love bond, trust, and empathy in a relationship.
If you’re having trouble resolving communication issues in your relationship, consider seeing a therapist, either alone or with your partner, to work through any underlying issues and develop some new tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good communication in a relationship?
What constitutes effective communication in a relationship?
“Healthy communication in any relationship is predicated on both parties being open and honest with each other,” says Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, to Bustle. “You’re on the right track if you can respect each other and truly hear what the other person is saying.”
What is bad communication in a relationship?
stumbling blocks (i.e., giving the cold shoulder) Aggression that is passive. Assuming you have a good idea of what your partner is thinking. Arguments that reoccur on a cyclical basis are never resolved.
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