I’ve polled my audience four times now in order to determine the relationship problems YOU are struggling with.
Every time, one problem comes up again and again and again and again:
So when Jamie emailed me about guest posting on how to have better communication with your partner (based on an interview she conducted with Louis Venter), I didn’t hesitate to say YES!
Thanks Jamie! -Celeste
Better Communication with your Partner
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any romantic relationship. That said, the majority of couples do not communicate as effectively as they should.
Louis Venter is a relationship expert and counsellor in South Africa. He regularly teaches couples how to communicate effectively with one another.
We have asked Louis how couples can learn to communicate effectively, rather than becoming frustrated with one another and leaving conflict to go unresolved.
More than just words
What many couples do not realize is that effective communication with your partner involves far more than just talking; it is feeling, seeing and hearing each other.
Communication is connection; it’s not just the sharing of information, but two separate worlds becoming visible to each other. It is showing up with aliveness and availability to the story that your partner has to tell.
One way in which you can make yourself more available to hearing what your partner has to say is by sitting very close to each other while facing each other and holding hands.
While this may seem specific, experts have argued that by doing this you open yourself up to hear what your other half has to say. Try this technique and see if it helps.
Being physically close during communication is important. Physical closeness in communication helps couples to bridge the distance between two separate and different worlds.
One of the biggest causes of divorce across the world is the busy lifestyle many people lead.
Often, couples struggle to prioritize their relationship over other aspects of their lives. Those who are not willing to make the effort in their relationship may believe that connection and intimacy will happen without time, energy and intentional deeds to develop intimacy and connection.
Making time to communicate is vitally important. Being busy with something else doesn’t help communication and connection. Rather, being pre-occupied while trying to communicate can cause more harm than good.
Make time to communicate with your partner on a deep level. Practice communicating deeply for at least 10 minutes a day. Talk about every aspect of your lives – not just conflict. If you aren’t sure about what you should communicate about, we provide you with some good starting points at the end of this article.
It’s no surprise that talking is an important aspect of communication. However, few couples know how they can use speech to enhance their relationship and feelings towards one another.
It’s important to always communicate feelings, fears and desires to your partner. In a relationship, you should always be open and honest with your partner.
Stay clear of blaming and shaming your partner, this will only have a negative impact on both you and your partner. Instead, try communicating true needs.
Communicate with vulnerability, softness and kindness. Stay patient with your partner, while they try to understand you. Know that listening and understanding someone else is difficult, so be sure to appreciate when your partner is trying.
In relationships people often focus on talking rather than listening. We’re so caught up on talking about how we feel without really focusing on what our partner is saying and processing their words effectively.
Louis Venter explains that when having deep communication with your partner, after each sentence you should repeat your partner’s words. Use exactly the words your partner used.
Check in if you understood your partner with saying “Did I get you?” We call this mirroring. Our deepest desire is to be understood with fullness. Practice listening to the words, but also to see the world behind the words.
Listen to the tone of voice, see the tears and become conscious of the hurt. Stretch yourself into feeling the emotions of your partner. True listening is not just listening to the word of your partner but validating their feelings by allowing yourself to be touched by it.
Commit to develop deep listening and talking skills with your partner. Read books and attend seminars on communication skills for couples. Most people haven’t learned to voice our deepest needs and deepest fears in ways that our partners can understand.
Conversation Starters to Deepen Communication
Deep, honest communication is a vitally important aspect of any relationship, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few conversation starters you can use to get started:
– “What I need the most from you in the next few weeks to feel love is …”
– “One thing about me I haven’t that I have not shared with you lately is …”
– “I want to tell you how I am doing …”
– “The most precious thing about our relationship for me is …”
– “What I enjoy the most doing with you is …”
Deep, intimate and satisfying relationships with good communication are absolutely possible. If you are struggling to communicate effectively with your partner, try out some of these suggestions and let us know how it goes.
This article has been created with the help of Louis Venter from Couples Help. Louis is a leading relationship and marriage expert who is based in South Africa.