As we are right in the middle of the “digital age,” communication is something we are always partaking in. How we communicate is really how we share ourselves to the world. When taking conscious breaks away from technology and letting our devices charge up, it is important that we, too, plug in to see how we are connecting with one another. Our communication with each other, especially in our relationships we have with our partners, helps to maintain and balance the relationship.
Here are some basic communication principles for a healthy dialog between partners.
Active Listening – Allowing the listener to be involved with the speaker, active listening is to better understand what is being said and gives us the opportunity to be fully present for the speaker. Focus on what the other person is saying by establishing eye contact, nodding and using encouraging phrases. Also take the time and consideration to really acknowledge the speaker’s thoughts and feelings.
Nonverbal Communication – Communication experts estimate that 90 percent of our messages is not what we say, but rather how we say it. Our body language carries the credibility of the messages we send and will either reinforce or contradict our words. Often times, when we are not talking is when we are saying the most. Use eye contact to establish a connection and keep your body posture open and accepting rather than closed and defensive (i.e. – arms crossed over your chest).
Own Your Messages – Take responsibility for your feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Owning your message allows us to express ourselves without attacking others. It also prevents judging – or assuming we know – what the other person is thinking or feeling. It invites continued dialogue and is a vehicle for communicating our own subjective awareness. Taking responsibility for your choices is a powerful way to really tune into who you are and what impact you are having on your partner.
Keep Anger Contained – Remember that when a difference of opinion occurs, it is not an issue of “winning” or “losing” with your partner; it is a matter of creating understanding and/or resolution. Create boundaries around disagreements, or in other words, rules for when you are fighting. Share your feelings with one another and take a time out if needed. Always remember that relationships are an equal balance of give and take; negotiating can be very useful during a disagreement.
Remember To Have Fun! – Make sure you are having fun with your partner! Do things that are stimulating, that create anticipation – and memories – that allow you to enjoy each other’s company and that let you laugh!