You asked your partner for a straightforward request: be on time, so you do not miss the beginning of the movie. But he is late, and you are going to miss the film’s plot layout. How do you respond? Do you yell? Do you keep your frustration to yourself and fume inside throughout the movie? Or do you assume there must be a good reason he is late and forget about it?
Relationships are rewarding, but good relationships don’t just happen. They need intentional nurturing to grow strong. Most of us know about the importance of communication in a relationship. But how does that practically look? Here are three tips for improving communication in your relationship:
1. Seek to Understand
When you seek to understand, you are actively listening. Active listening means you are trying to understand your partner’s point of view.
We all want to be understood. Have you heard the phrase, “There’s another side to every story?” It is an excellent reminder to enter every conversation to understand the other person’s perspective before getting our viewpoint across.
Using the movie scenario as an example, you would be justified in being disappointed. At that moment, you have two options. You can begin by trying to make your partner understand your disappointment, or you can start by seeking to understand your partner’s perspective.
If you jump right into trying to make him understand your disappointment, you are most likely assuming your partner was irresponsible or disrespectful by running late. If you begin by asking the right questions and seeking to understand, you might discover there was a legitimate reason for his delay. In that case, you have just built a bridge between the two of you.
Another way to improve communication is to cultivate mutual respect for one another.
2. Cultivate Mutual Respect
When there is mutual respect in a relationship, it means one person does not have power or control over another. Both partners can express themselves freely. Each partner can have their own opinion, and it is respected by the other even if they do not agree. Other signs of respect in a relationship also include:
- Speaking about and to each other considerately
- Supporting one another’s interests, education, hobbies, etc.
- Interdependence vs. independence or codependence
- Always honoring each other’s boundaries
Cultivating mutual respect in your relationship is a great way to strengthen your connection with your partner.
3. Pursue Connection
At the core of every relationship is connection. Connection is an emotional bond that holds you and your partner together. When there is a sense of healthy connection in a relationship, improved communication follows. You can look at connection as the glue that strengthens your relationship. There are simple ways to enhance connection with your partner:
- Show appreciation every day.
- Give your partner your full attention when you are talking.
- Be the first one to apologize (without defending yourself) for your part in a disagreement.
- Make physical connections daily by holding hands, hugging, etc.
- Show compassion for your partner’s experiences.
- Create fun time to laugh and play together.
It is not unusual for relationships to become more challenging when you are facing an unexpected pregnancy. Keep reminding yourself of who you are and what you really expect out of your relationship and what each of you can do to make it work.
We Are Here for You
If you think you may be pregnant and would like to visit us for a pregnancy test and ultrasound at no cost to you, please make an appointment at Willow Womens Center by calling 608-312-2025. You can also schedule your appointment directly on our website.