Ever catch yourself thinking things like
“they should just know how I feel,”
when it comes to your partner?
Yeah, we have all been there. Unfortunately, communication breakdown between couples is a lot more common than not. So yes, take solace in the fact you are not alone! Or, even better, follow these five practical communication tips that can help you reconnect with your partner and continue to enhance your relationship!
— No. 1 —
When is the last time you sat down for 30 or so minutes
for coffee with your partner?
With no talk of responsibilities, just hopes, dreams, and personal well-being? My guess is, WAY too long ago. Taking some time for a chat is a great way to simply continue to get to know each other. For some, this might seem silly if you have been in a long-term relationship. However, life happens and sometimes the person who means the most to us can get put on the back burner because you know they will always be there for you. To overcome this tendency, set aside 30 or so minutes each week for each other. Put it in your calendar, pick a place (home, a coffee shop, or wherever!) and talk about anything but your to-do list.
— No. 2 —
This tip is called “High-Low-Buffalo,” stay with me on this one!
You and your partner each take turns sharing the best part (the high) and the hardest part (the low) of your day. You also share your “Buffalo,” or random thing you just want to mention. High-Low-Buffalo is a fantastic way to make sure you are talking about the important things that happened during the day, as well as the fun stuff we simply enjoy talking about. The key to this exercise is to actively listen while your partner shares and only offer feedback when asked. Perhaps try this one before going to bed every night to have at least a quick check-in with your partner before ending the day.
— No. 3 —
Just a warning, this one can be challenging!
Gazing into your partner’s eyes for a period of time is a fantastic way to feel more connected. Start by looking into each other’s left eye, acknowledge all the feelings that come up. This will more than likely feel kind of awkward the first few times you give it a go but keep trying. Start with one minute and work your way up each time you try this exercise. Afterward, take a few minutes to talk about what you felt during the exercise. You would be surprised where the conversation might take you. Looking into someone’s eyes is one of the best ways to feel connected to them… After all, eyes are the window to the soul, right?! (Had to throw a good cliche in!) But on a serious note, this is a great way to challenge yourself, face uncomfortable feelings, and learn how to talk about them with your partner.
— No. 4 —
Dedicating just a few minutes of every day to this can make all the difference.
You can see huge changes in your relationship by just giving each other 3-5 minutes to speak uninterrupted is the fourth tip we have for you. Set a timer and give your partner the time to talk about whatever they want. You can use your nonverbals (head nods, facial expressions, body language, etc.) to assure your partner you are engaged, but the key is to listen without words! Sometimes, just feeling like you are being heard is enough to reconnect with your partner…and it’s also a great way to show love and respect to your partner.
— No. 5 —
Finally, my favorite tip of all, and perhaps one of the simpler ones.
Write notes! While it is simple, it is so effective. A note is something your partner can hang on to forever. It does not have to be much, just a quick “have a great day!” can go a long way. Try to put the note somewhere they will find it, like on their pillow, in a lunch box, the car, etc.… When my partner used to travel for work, I wrote “I love you” on a sticky note and put it in his briefcase as a constant reminder even when he was far away. We know distance can add extra challenges to communication, so if you have a similar situation this tip could be right up your alley. The big takeaway here is that a little goes a long way. People can be extremely moved by the small effort of a hand-written note.
You might be starting to notice a trend
in some of these communication tips…
A lot of them are more about listening than speaking. Listening is the biggest piece of communication, and often the most overlooked. If you are looking to refine some of these skills, I invite you to join my communication classes. Over four weeks, we will take a deeper dive into active listening, conflict management, and connecting with your partner. Don’t delay as spots fill up quickly!