6 Communication Skills Healthy Couples Count On Every Day

by May 5, 2019Communication, Marriage, Relationships

Communication is like oxygen for relationships. They don’t keep statistics like this—probably because it might not be possible—but it’s likely that a large percent of relationship issues spring from unhealthy communication habits.

Add to that the rapidly growing tendency to choose tech over face-to-face, and the number may get higher. Aside from looking up from the screen, what are couples supposed to do to maintain their connection while managing the conflict in their relationship?

On that same note, here are tips on how to identify unhealthy habits, replacing them with healthy ones.

Examples of Unhealthy Communication

Unfortunately, this list is just a sampling.

• Interrupting: Obviously, no one wants to be talked over and invalidated.

• Lack of Focus: Checking Facebook while talking to others. Sound familiar?

• Passive Aggression: This is a roundabout but unproductive way of making your point.

• Threatening Tone and Gesture: Keep in mind that “threatening” is in the eye of the beholder.

• “Never” and “Always” and “You” Directives: Accusing your partner of always or never doing something, for example.

• Gaslighting: A subtle form of abuse in which one person has their reality over-written.

• Silent Treatment: This type of passive aggressive manipulation is a relationship killer.

6 Communication Skills Healthy Couples Count On Every Day

In striving to be a healthy couple, here are six skills to use in everyday life:

1. Radical Honesty

If trust is like glue for any relationship, radical honesty is the test. So many problems lurk in the words left unsaid and risks not taken. Speak your mind and seek the most honest words. When couples practice radical honesty, over time, they learn to see bluntness as normal and loving.

2. Compassionate Listening

Not every conversation is going to go your way or go as you expected. There will be times when you do far more listening than talking. Unless you feel you’re being lectured or berated, this is not a good or bad thing. It’s part of life as a couple.

3. Non-Competitiveness

If your partner says something to hurt you, it must be addressed. This does not mean getting revenge by responding in kind. Remember, discussions can be contentious and disagreements are inevitable. Furthermore, arguments can be healthy while fights are avoidable. The goal of communication is not about winning. The goal is about respect, honesty, and trust.

4. Open-Mindedness

Your mind is a gift that perspectives and opinions can change. Stubbornly clinging to a story is a recipe for conflict. If you feel strongly about something then make your point. Afterward, be ready to listen and truly hear what your partner is saying. That’s where many new ideas and fresh viewpoints are cultivated.

5. Understanding Social Dynamics

Not all couples are created the same. We live in a culture in which certain demographics contain subtle or even overt dynamics. Factors include:

• Gender

• Ethnicity

• Economic status

• Age

• Education

• Nationality

• Skin color

Lean on your radical honesty skills to communicate openly about how social dynamics may be quietly impacting your connection.

6. Patience and Commitment

Accept that healthy communication is not a destination. You’ve committed to a relationship. By definition, this also means you’ve committed to perpetual honing of your individual and collective communication skills. Understand that any process takes times. Have patience with yourself and your partner. Accept that any single miscue or disagreement does not mean you’ve failed. It merely points to where the next round of work has to focus.

Where Do You Go When You Feel “Stuck?”

Healthy communication is a skill that couples must learn and practice. Then, adapt and refine. Like any such skill, communication may require instruction and guidance. This is one of the many reasons why couples counseling is so popular and so effective.

In the presence of a therapist, you and your spouse will communicate and thus, have that communication evaluated.

Within your relationship dynamics, unhealthy habits may now feel like the norm. It’s also possible that examples of poor communication can no longer be discerned. Having a qualified yet unbiased mediator is an ideal way to recognize where change and growth can and must happen!

If you’re ready to take steps towards saving and improving your marriage, please visit my couples counseling page or contact me for a consultation. I can help you establish healthy boundaries and support you and your partner as you journey down the path towards healing.