Communication is the most important thing in any relationship. Without it you are doomed to a life of uncertainty and misunderstanding. Non-communicative couples seldom last and usually end up living separate lives, which leads to separate relationships. Once you are able to really talk with each other, the blocks to risk taking, overcoming barriers and letting go of ego diminish.
Here are ten ways to encourage effective emotional communication in your relationship:
1. Find the emotional connection with your partner. Take a moment to look in their eyes, hold their hands and re-experience the reason you fell in love with them.
2. Create an environment of openness; encourage your partner to talk with you. Asking fun questions like "What do you think was the best movie we ever saw?" is a great way to begin a conversation. Once the door is open it’s very easy to move to the next level.
3. Make it safe to talk about emotion in your relationship. Let your partner know that you are there for them. It can be very empowering to say, "You can cry on my shoulder if you ever need to. I won’t think you’re weak, your feelings are important to both of us." Once your partner knows they will not be judged for being emotional, and that their words will not be used against them, they will be more open to sharing their deeper feelings.
4. Help each other learn basic conflict resolution skills. Understand that in every conversation (no matter how heated) there is a speaker and a listener, when the speaker is talking, the listener needs to hear what they are saying. Then the roles reverse. This alone will make difficult conversations much easier.
5. Encourage informality – learn to be relaxed with each other. If things get difficult and you feel like you have to walk on eggshells, let your partner know that you also feel the tension and that you are willing to agree to drop the attitude.
6. Encourage your partner to bring their “whole” selves to the relationship. Let them know that they don’t have to edit their feelings and that you are willing to hear whatever it is they need to say.
7. Admit to your partner that not all of your actions, words or ideas are good ones. We all make mistakes and we have to give each other room to be human.
8. Support your partner in thinking out loud. Nothing unsaid ever goes unnoticed. Even if people don’t talk about what is on their mind, their behaviors will reflect their true feelings. Talking about what you are feeling will prevent you from acting out and perhaps creating an unnecessary conflict.
9. Promote the belief that laughter is good, playing it ‘cool’ is not. A sense of humor may be one of the best you can bring to a relationship. Couples who laugh together stay together and also stay healthy. To be able to joke about your lives is a sign that things are healing.
10. Recognize that your emotional connection to your partner makes the impossible seem possible. Having a strong emotional bond will help both of you deal with the inevitable difficulties that arise in life.
Even if you only use one of these tips it will add to the depth of your communication and your relationship. Couples who trust each other enough to share their true feelings create wonderful relationships.