To encourage open communication, each person must first accept responsibility for their own feelings.
It is important to be honest, as honesty is at the heart of good communication. Keep in mind that the only thing we have total control over is our own thoughts, attitudes and actions.
- Set aside time for both of you to talk, as talking about what is happening and how it affects you is the first step.
- Try to tell your partner exactly what you are feeling and thinking, even if it might upset him or her.
- State what you want and prepare to negotiate.
- Don’t forget, change can be painful and scary, so let your partner know that you understand this.
- Listen to your partner, put aside your thoughts for the time being. Try to understand your partner’s point-of-view, intentions, needs and wants.
Why should I be the one to make the effort?
For a relationship to thrive, both partners must want to make it work and show goodwill. Don’t wait for the other person to start, it may surprise you how much difference taking the first small step can make. Once you get the hang of it, working at a relationship can be very satisfying.
Our counsellors work with couples to reduce distress and improve key areas like communication. For more information see Relationship Counselling.