Open and clear communication is critical to a healthy relationship. Good communication means considering the thoughts and feelings of your partner and sharing your own thoughts and feelings in ways that are honest, compassionate, and respectful. Good communication is not always easy; both partners must be willing to put in effort to make it work. Individuals who practice good communication skills are more likely to develop relationships that are fun, affirming, forgiving, and healthy. Check out these three ways to know if you and your partner are communicating well:
1. Express your true feelings and opinions without fear. Create a safe environment where you and your partner can honestly share and listen to each other’s feelings. If you are upset or concerned, talk about it. Working through difficult situations builds trust and helps make relationships even stronger. Being able to share honest feelings doesn’t mean you can just “say what you want to say, how you want to say it.” It means being kind with your words, saying what you mean—but in a way your partner can hear it most positively.
It is equally important to share the good things you appreciate about your partner or when something your partner does makes you happy. Don’t be that person who always complains and spreads negativity. When partners express their feelings about the good things happening in the relationship, both confidence and self-esteem are developed.
2. Listen to each other. Sometimes the biggest fights happen because one partner feels like they are not being “heard” by the other. Assuming you know what your partner is thinking or feeling can lead to major stress in a relationship. If you have a question about something, ask. Be ready to listen to what your partner has to say without interrupting or judging. Try to understand his or her perspective. Even if you do not agree with each other, you both have a right to be heard.
3. Compromise. Does one of you always seem to be “right” in every situation? That might be a red flag for a growing problem. No relationship is perfect all the time. As problems arise, remember it’s okay to have disagreements. Partners often have different desires, opinions, and ideas. They have the right to think differently. However, partners need to respect each other’s unique points of view and work out challenges together. Each partner is an equal participant in the relationship and should be able to share in decision making.