5 Important Communication Tips for Healthy Relationships



1) Pick your battles wisely: Nobody likes it when somebody is constantly nagging and complaining. So let’s say your partner has this pattern of doing something that constantly bothers you (i.e. not taking out the trash, or not texting you when he/she is running late, or that she/he doesn’t compliment you or insults you during an argument). The last one should be addressed firmly and immediately, whereas the rest can be solved through some positive reinforcement and open communication. Let’s say he/she forgot to text because work got busy or he did not compliment you one day, let it go! Too much conflict can make things worse in a relationship.


2) Conflict doesn’t mean you should think about ending your relationship. Just because you are arguing, doesn’t mean it’s the end of your relationship. I think if you both love each other, and there is no history of cheating and domestic abuse, then the relationship should not lead to a breakup. Every relationship has its ups and downs, what makes it stronger is the effort of staying together despite the imperfections.


3) Try using “we” or “I feel” statements, instead of accusatory “you” statements. For example, “You never listen to me” or “you never help me around the house”. These statements sound like an attack towards the other person on the receiving end. Instead of blaming/pointing fingers, just remember that relationship is two people acting as one to make the relationship work; it's not about two separate individuals getting their own way. Using "I" statements, such as "I feel...when you...because..." is far more effective because the other person is more likely to listen and understand your perspective.


4) Never discuss important things via text or when in a rush. Here is a hint: if you are having a conversation of more than 5 or 6 texts back and forth, it’s time to put away the phone and have the same conversation in person. We all know how some text messages can be misinterpreted such as “ok!” or “fine!” and many others. In person, you can read a person’s body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, which may make the communication a lot easier. Remember 90% of our communication is non-verbal and only 10% is verbal. Resolving conflict with an undertone of love/affection can help. Try to hold his/her hand, look him/her in the eyes, and perhaps even put an arm around each other. Physical contact will remind you both that the primary reason you are fighting is not for the sake of getting your way, but because you both love and care about each other and want to work towards building a healthier relationship. Research shows that affectionate communication has been shown to co-vary with healthy hormonal variation and faster recovery from stress.


5) Be honest with each other. It’s sad to see couples when they pretend they are happy. It’s very important to be honest with each other about your feelings and concerns. Don’t let your fear of judgement stop you from expressing yourself. When you bottle things up, it can lead to built-up frustration and explosions later on that can permanently damage relationships.


When should couples seek help?

Every relationship faces different roadblocks, but some issues are more likely than others to create problems in a relationship. Many couples often face conflict when it comes to financing and parenting decisions. For example, one sign of a problem is having the same fight over and over again. In such cases, professionals can help couples improve their communication and find healthy ways to address conflict. Research shows that marital education/counselling that teach skills such as good communication, effective listening skills and conflict resolution skills have been shown to reduce the risk of divorce.


Happy couples, how to keep your relationship healthy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/healthy-relationships

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