Relationships can be hard work. When two people decide to engage in a committed relationship problems arise. Relationships bring two different people together; two histories, two journeys, two minds. In order to succeed in any relationship, communication is vital. Here are some steps to communicating with your partner.
1.) If something is bothering you, voice your concern.
Often time’s people live with the little grievances their partner is causing. Like never washing their dishes, leaving the toilet seat up, or spending too much time in looking at cosmetics. When we do not voice our grievances over the little things we can create an escalated argument. The little grievances can add up to big emotional explosions in the long run. So voice your concerns, and allow your partner to voice their concerns. Together, you can solve each other’s grievances and develop a healthier relationship in the long run.
2.) Be honest with your partner.
When you doubt the motives of your partner, bring it up. If your partner is doing something you do not agree with, tell them. If your partner is hurting you, let them know. Often, partners do not even realize the results of their actions. A relationship combines two minds. The way you process information may differ from the way your partner processes information. Allow your partner the opportunity to address the issues that cause you to question your relationship, or the issues that cause you pain. Your partner may change their actions to benefit the relationship. Be open to letting your partner give you feedback on the actions you may do that cause them pain.
Change does not often happen overnight. Changing your actions to benefit a relationship, for the person you love, is challenging. There are going to be times when your partner messes up. There are going to be times when your partner unintentionally, or maybe intentionally, hurts you. Give the process time.
4.) Know when it’s time to get help.
Sometimes, the best solution is seeking professional counseling. Counseling can offer the relationship a safe haven for open and honest discussion.
5.) Know when it’s time to get out.
Sometimes, the best solution to solving problems in a relationship is to simply end the relationship. This step is especially vital in cases of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. The best action for you to take is to seek professional help. Your safety is important, and sometimes the safest thing for you to do is to contact the police or a therapist to help you leave your partner.
How do I know if I’m being emotionally abused?
According to the Counseling Center of Illinois, there are warning signs that may suggest you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.
a.) Does your partner aggress you, deny you, or minimize you?
Aggressing can be name-calling and threatening but it can also be criticizing, belittling you, or demeaning you.
To deny you is invalidating your perception.
Minimizing is a lot like denying you. The minimizer denies certain occurrences or questions the details in what you are saying.
b.) How do you feel after talking with your partner?
Do you feel fearful? Powerless? Scared? Minimized? Unintelligent, or embarrassed?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, contact a counseling center for guidance because you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship.
How do I open the lines of communication?
Well, like I said at the beginning of this article, communication is vital to the growth and well-being of any relationship. Below is an exercise that may open the channels of communication.
1.) Tell your partner you would like to do an exercise to strengthen the communication in your relationship.
2.) Start a couple’s journal. On the first page write all the attributes, both physical and mental, that you appreciate about your partner. This will be your safeguard. Opening the lines of communication can be difficult. When your relationship hits a rut, open your journal and read your partner’s writings out load. Then read what you wrote about your partner.
3.) Every week write your partner a love note. Not all of us are extremely articulate. If your partner is not good with words be understanding of that and appreciative of the effort. This letter can be as short as, “I really enjoyed hearing you sing in the kitchen yesterday,” or complex and more intimate.
4.) When you have grievances take out your couple’s journal. Without speaking, write exactly what is bothering you and how it is affecting you. Give the journal to your partner, and have them write you a response. Now, each of you read what you wrote.
This gives you time to think about why you feel the way you do. It also gives your partner a chance to think through the grievance and address it.
Find a solution together, and write it in your couple’s journal. If the grievance comes up again, read the entry about the grievance, and repeat the process. Change is a process, so you might have to do this step many times before the behavior is modified.
5.) Practice intentional pursuit. Relationships take time to work. Make time for each other. This may mean getting up an hour earlier in the morning just so you two can have coffee together. Maybe it means going to bed an hour later so that you both can talk about your day. Or, it may mean sacrificing time with your friends and family to have alone time with each other. Being intentional is about making time for each other. It is also about remembering the details. If your partner enjoys a particular type of ice-cream, surprise them with it when they get home from work. If your partner enjoys a foot rub, rub his or her feet without being asked. These simple acts of service speak love directly to your partner, and show them that you listen to them, and that you care enough to remember their needs and wants.
Active communication is vital in a relationship. I hope these guidelines have helped with your question.