Poor communication between couples is the leading cause of divorce. When couples don’t feel heard, understood or respected, it creates a fast track to the relationship’s termination. Maybe you learned your communication style from your parents—or from previous relationships. However, since poor communication in relationships is so pervasive, learning through imitation may not be the best approach.

In today’s post, we discuss how to communicate effectively with your partner—and boost your chances of your relationship’s success.

  • Speak your mind. Many partners try to avoid conflict by opting not to say what they really think—if it contradicts the opinion of their partner. However, keeping your opinion bottled up can make you end up feeling resentful toward your partner.
  • Be conscious of your body language. Non-verbal cues speak volumes. We can convey disinterest or dismissiveness by shrugging, avoiding eye contact or rolling our eyes. If your partner is trying to share something meaningful with you, show them the respect of your attention, and engage by making eye contact.
  • Your goal in a fight shouldn’t be to win. When emotions get heated, it’s easy to want to prove to your partner that they’re in the wrong. However, even if you “win” the argument and make your partner feel that they’ve “lost,” it won’t serve you in the long run. This approach will lead to additional communication barriers and resentment—and a less respectful discourse the next time you argue. Instead, the aim is to come out of an argument feeling that both parties have been understood.
  • Focus on the positive. Nagging is a primary cause of anger and altercation in a relationship. Pressuring your spouse to help with the chores or making them feel guilty for procrastinating on a home improvement project is unmotivating. Instead, encourage the behavior you desire. When your spouse does the dishes without being asked, let them know how much you appreciate it.

Taking proactive steps to develop effective communication with your partner can help to ensure that your marriage is long lasting.