How many times have you sat down to watch a movie and thought about how all the drama could have been avoided with better communication? Sometimes people talk about how unrealistic Hollywood dramas and tv shows are—but nine times out of 10 what brings people to therapy is that they don’t know how to communicate with each other.

It makes sense if you think about it. In school we’re taught math, science, English, and history—but how much time do we spend learning how to express ourselves and how to listen to others? It’s a skill, and just like playing basketball, writing poetry, or playing an instrument, it takes practice!

In today’s blog, we’ll explore communication tips for couples to help you and your partner get on the same page.

Work as a Team

Okay, so, the first and most important tip: you and your partner are a team—and that means when you have a problem it’s something to solve together. Whether your issues are in the bedroom or on day three of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, making each other happy should be a priority. Work together to discuss what the issues are and come up with a resolution that satisfies both of you.

Express Your Needs

You have to tell your teammates what you need from them to be successful. This doesn’t mean saying “Do more around the house” — it means giving them specific examples and working out a plan together. Both of you should make a list of what you need and expect from each other in order to feel happy, safe, and satisfied.

Set Your Boundaries

Some asks are too much—it’s okay to say no. By the same token, you may want something from your partner that they can’t or won’t provide. It’s important to sit down and have some serious talks about what you can and can’t give.

Open Communication

A lot of the couples I work with struggle with communication because they don’t feel safe being honest. We can get hurt when we open ourselves up, which makes vulnerability scary. However, if we can’t be honest, we can’t feel heard.

Make Each Other Feel Safe

With that in mind, you have to feel safe with each other. Listen without judgment. Focus on what they’re saying without jumping to conclusions. Give each other grace and recognize these conversations don’t have to be high stakes. If you’re a team, be a team. Help each other succeed.

Check-In Regularly

Good teams check in regularly with each other. If what you have together is important to you, make time to take care of it. Go over what you need, what you want, and where your partner’s head is at. Sometimes there’s nothing to talk about and when that’s the case you can still use that time to connect.

Be Appreciative

One of the big secrets in life is that honey gets you a lot farther than vinegar. Cultivate a relationship where you and your partner regularly show appreciation for each other. Compliments, kisses, and a little extra something from the store on the way home goes a long way.

How do you like to be appreciated? How about your partner? Learning each other’s love language goes a long way to improving communication.

Schedule a Consultation

Sometimes even a good team needs a little outside coaching. Do you and your partner keep having the same argument? Often, the argument we think we’re having is actually about something else. A qualified therapist can help provide a little clarity and guidance on that front.

If you and your partner need some help learning to work as a team, reach out to learn more about couples therapy.

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