Everything in a relationship comes down to communication. Whatever issues you have, there’s no way you can even start to solve them without cutting the BS and actually talking to each other. Here are 15 strategies to help you get — and keep — your relationship on the right track.
Sweat the small stuff.
White lies may seem like a good idea, but can lead to a pattern of keeping things that bother you to yourself. Start with being upfront but relaxed about the little things, and you’ll see this type of communication trickle down into every other aspect of your relationship.
Call each other out when one of you is being inconsiderate.
And accept being called out with grace.
Don’t apologize for how you made someone feel, apologise for your actions.
Put the phrase “I’m sorry you feel that way” on your list of BS things to never say, and keep it there.
Never apologize if you don’t feel sorry.
You might want the fight to be over, but it’s more damaging to lie.
Evaluate how you argue.
Are you arguing to win points, or are you arguing to improve the balance in your relationship and come to a positive conclusion where you both feel validated and loved? Be honest with yourself so you can be honest with your partner.
Don’t let things fester.
Resentment is one of the biggest relationship killers around.
Thank each other, genuinely.
Appreciate the small things you do for each other without even thinking, as well as the big things. It’s not enough that you feel grateful – say it and show it, too.
It’s important to trust each other’s responses. If someone says they’re OK, they’re OK. Don’t second guess your partner and question them once they’ve told you they’re fine.
If you’re not ready to talk about something, then say so.
Instead of saying everything is fine and then bringing it up later, be clear that you’re upset but you don’t want to talk about it right now.
Your grudges will grind you down.
If you find that you can’t let go of something, even though you thought you were over it, make sure you’re clear about the issue and are open to working on what’s bothering you.
If your partner can’t let go of something, don’t react by getting defensive.
Have a conversation about your reaction, but don’t let it overtake your desire to work on getting back to a good place together.
Respect a reaction, even if you can’t understand it.
Belittling or trying to practically ‘solve’ emotional reactions isn’t why we lean on each other. Fix a problem after you’ve dealt with its urgent symptoms, i.e. the first reaction. Laughing off someone’s stresses or worries is a sign that you can’t be trusted with someone’s vulnerability.
Be clear about what you want.
Don’t assume people have any idea how you, specifically, want to be nurtured, loved or supported. Your partner wants to help you but they’re not psychic.
Honesty in the bedroom will make you honest everywhere else.
Talk openly, don’t take offense, and bring in a sense of play. If you can joke about what goes on between the sheets, you’ll be able to improve – which is good for everyone.
Keep it light.
Making honesty a big heavy conversation that requires long, serious-faced talks into the night isn’t healthy. Honesty should bring you intimacy, lightness, and the ability to free yourself up to be playful. Its primary function is to keep you in sync and keep the load off.
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