How to have Emotional Communication with your Partner?
Most people have never learned how to communicate. Without this skill, a person is handicapped in an intimate relationship. Without being able to express themselves and listen to another, partners cannot achieve intimacy.
People often confuse communication for talking or making conversation, and this is the root cause of why many of these same people are so unsuccessful in communicating with their partners. Communication in relationships, at its core, is about connecting and using your verbal, written and physical skills to fulfill your partner’s needs – not just making small talk.
By developing your communication skills, you and your partner will be able to establish and preserve a loving, respectful relationship between two people who love each other.
BE PRESENT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
To truly understand what your partner is telling you, be present, be here now: Put time aside and dedicate yourself 100% to communicating with your partner. They should know, truly feel, that they have your full attention and that they are your number one priority.
It’s difficult to listen and be fully present, aware and mindful when you’re angry and stressed or are working on things that take time away from your relationship, but remember that intimacy, love and trust are built when times are hard, not when they’re easy. If we gave up at every sign of resistance, we would never progress and evolve. Seize these opportunities to grow and flourish with your partner.
Resist letting a simple discussion about what’s happening now devolve into a rehash of every wrong that has ever happened between you and your partner. Instead, assess the present situation and identify what you can do at this moment. Pause and remember why you’re here, and remember that your goal, the outcome that you value, is to strengthen your relationship and build intimacy. There’s absolutely nothing either of you can do about the past right now, so let it go.
Finally, be honest and open — say what you mean, and make your feelings and your needs clear. Retreating from conflict seems deceptively safe and comfortable, but it’s no substitute for trust in a relationship. Walking away from an argument is a temporary way to deal with an ongoing communication issue. When you disagree with your partner, you must be able to trust that what you say will be heard and respected, and so does your partner.
If you or your partner (or both of you) is averse to conflict, you may find yourselves burying your emotions to please each other and avoid problems. This temporary peacekeeping band-aid turns a two-way relationship into a one-way street, and that’s not a sustainable outcome. The happiness and intimacy you used to share will gradually erode, and it will take the relationship with it. Instead of ignoring issues, it’s crucial that you both learn how to communicate with each other.
As a couple, you’re constantly talking about what’s for dinner and plans with friends or family. The day-to-day running of your lives together, particularly if you have kids, is often the central focus of your conversations. Talking about these things is necessary, but the most important piece that you should not gloss over is how you feel about what’s going on in your life day to day.
Why Talking About Your Feelings Helps Couples
These deeper conversations are necessary to make the “glue” that holds you together and creates the intimacy people desire in their marriage. It’s critical that you talk about your highs and lows that have been sprinkled throughout your week. These topics may be from outside interactions with others or something specifically between you and your spouse.
This kind of heart-to-heart communication helps:
- Keep fights from escalating.
- Prevent “resentment” that couples therapists often hear about in their offices.
- It helps your partner feel empathy and “walk in your shoes”.
- Set off bonding hormones.
- Create a deep and meaningful connection with your partner.
- Get out of having only superficial discussions.
10 Ways to Encourage effective Emotional commuincation
Here are ten ways to encourage effective emotional communication in your relationship:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What to Do If You Struggle With Talking About Deeper Topics?
Some people really struggle to bring up the topics that impact their relationship. This is because it taps into our worst fears about being rejected, abandoned or some other dreadful action by our partner. But, like the everyday life topics, it’s not enough to just talk about your thoughts and opinions on the tougher issues (parenting, sex, in-laws, finances and so on). You must also discuss (you guessed it!) how you feel about these topics.
When one partner is reactive or avoidant about broaching one of these subjects it is often indicative of something deeper. Couples must cut through defensiveness, escalated anger or shutting down to discuss their underlying “core” emotions.
The deeper, core emotions are what keeps a deep and meaningful connection and romantic bond thriving.
Remember that you are together because you make each other smile. Problems are obstacles that need surmounting, and it’s easy to give up, but the truth is that these are the moments, the opportunities, to seize and move forward. Listen to your partner, discover the needs they value the most, and fulfill them. Remember that communication is key, and giving is the secret to fulfillment.
Also read – What is Empty nest Syndrome?