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Communicating with your partner

Many of us fall victim to the idea that we are communicating with our partner as long as we talk with them. However, this can be extremely misleading; merely talking without making any real connection, discussing important issues, or expressing genuine feelings is not enough to make your relationship the way you want and need it to be. Truly communicating in a fulfilling, open way with your partner can nurture your relationship so that you both flourish.

Be honest and open up with your partner

We all carry baggage from past experiences that were hurtful. For many, this leads to a reluctance to communicate openly. And over time, this can harden into a stubborn inability to connect.

Many of us have learned over time that retreating rather than connecting is the safe way to go through life. This feeling is even stronger during times of stress, and all relationships have those moments during times of turmoil. You need to make a concerted effort to become aware of your inclination to retreat and then make the decision to stay engaged. And when you see your partner retreating, ask what you can to do help. This will help maintain the connection in your relationship and show your partner your unwavering love and support.

Also, make it a point to open up to your partner. Rather than retreat, let your partner know when you’re having a problem, or even just a moody day. Be courageous: share things with your partner that no one else knows. Yes, there is risk in this kind of openness, but you chose your partner for a reason. Trust your partner and they will return that trust.

Be here now

We’ve all been there: a simple discussion about dishes somehow becomes a heated argument about every past bump in the road of your relationship. But remember, you show your love and commitment to the relationship by staying in the present moment. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you need to be here now.

Everyone has six human needs that must be met in order to feel important, needed and unique. Your partner is no exception to this rule, so pause to spend time with them, especially when they are not at their best. This builds intimacy while also strengthening your relationship.

Don’t lose your patience and resort to taking cheap shots, and remember that there is no way to change the past. Let it go. Stay on topic in the present moment and you will be able to resolve the actual conflict. No human yet has found a way to rewrite history during an argument, so don’t try it; you’ll end up in an escalating emotional storm with your partner.

Listen and really hear

Even when you pause during an emotional discussion because it’s your partner’s “turn,” chances are you are too busy thinking of your next point when you should just be listening carefully with an open mind. Take a moment and listen to your partner, and then “reflect” back to them what they’ve said — that means, paraphrase what they said to make sure you understand their point and that you aren’t missing anything in the heat of the moment.

Laugh about it together

No one thinks arguing with someone you love is fun, but you can inject humor and laughter into even more serious discussions with wonderful results. Humor helps you step back and get some perspective and balance. It also eases your frustration and gives you a boost in your physical happiness. Perhaps most importantly, as you laugh with your partner you remember that your partner is someone you love being with.

Team Tony

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