Think about the following situations.
You’re trying to tell your partner about the mess in your home, but their eyes are glued to the TV. Your concerns are met with, “Mm-hmm” and a half-hearted, “Sure.”
A few weeks after you and your partner discussed an issue, you bring up the solution that you came up with. Your partner replies that they don’t remember having that conversation at all.
As you talk to your partner, you notice that they are distracted. They aren’t looking you in the eye, and you’re met with one-word answers that don’t move the conversation forward.
Relationship coaches Tim Higdon or Norene Gonsiewski hear about these kinds of situations a lot. While couples understand that communication is key to a healthy relationship, most of us are still figuring out exactly how to do it in an effective way.
There is one thing that you and your partner can do to eliminate all of these problems. It isn’t always easy to do, but making an effort to do this one thing will do wonders for your communication skills and your relationship.
Are you ready for it?
The best way to improve communication is to…
We’ve all experienced times when we feel like we’re talking at our partner rather than with them. The difference here is whether or not your partner is present in the conversation.
When we are present, we are fully engaged with what is happening around us. We hear the person talking to us. We feel what they are feeling. Nothing (including thoughts, worries, or distractions) is pulling us away from the moment.
We also call this state “being mindful.” If you are practicing mindfulness, you are much more likely to grasp what your partner is saying and create an appropriate response based on your feelings.
This is the cornerstone of effective communication. When both partners are present, they are more likely to remember what they’ve said, empathize with the other person, and create a thoughtful solution to any issues.
How to Be More Present in Your Relationship
Being in the present moment is about living. It’s not a skill that should be limited to talking with your partner. Use these tips to be more present in every area of your relationship and your life.
- Put down your phone and turn off the TV when other people are talking to you.
- Listen to what your partner is saying. If you can’t repeat their words back to them, ask your partner to repeat themselves.
- Take up mindfulness practices, including meditation or yoga.
- Discover mindfulness workshops in your area.
Want to learn more about mindfulness and how to be present with your partner? Reach out to a relationship counselor for more information.