Why experts say communication in relationships is so crucial

Communication, both literal and nonverbal, can be tricky. The things that we say to each other are crucial, and on top of that, we’re always communicating with our bodies through body language, facial expressions, and eye contact. On average, adults speak over 16,000 words a day, and while we can use these words to develop deep connections, it’s likely that at least a few of them are misunderstood.

Especially in the virtual age, we connect almost 24/7 through text, calls, video chats, and Tweets. So how can we make sure we’re communicating clearly and effectively? Stick with us as we break down expert testimony on what makes communication so crucial and how we can improve it in all of our relationships.

a young couple sits outside chatting and smiling while the woman holds a coffee mug
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Why communication in relationships is important

Communication is a skill that you have to learn and practice, just like any other. Learning how to communicate effectively lets us state our intentions, express our truths, and get to know one another more deeply.

“Communication is about more than just being able to sit down and talk to your partner about your day. Maintaining a high level of communication in a marriage is about being able to have open and honest discussions about literally anything in your lives. You and your spouse must be able to communicate with each other effectively…and build trust so that you know and understand each other’s feelings, thoughts, and emotions,” says Nicole Beasley & Karen Devlin, LPC

Nurturing your communication skills with your partner will give you the best shot at solving and preventing serious misunderstandings. Marcelina Hardy, a Board Certified Coach and counselor, told Love To Know,”[w]ithout communication, couples may become upset with one another without even knowing why or how it started. Positive communication can lead to clear expectations and greater empathy for one another’s feelings.” With some communication practice, you’ll be able to set reasonable expectations and identify potential moments of conflict before they take over.

Steve Earlam, counselor and behaviorist, recommends that you initiate a conversation with your partner about communication if you feel like you are not being listened to, frequently argue with them (often over the same things), feel that your time together lacks genuine connection, act defensive, or notice your partner acting defensive.

Voicing your concern is one thing, but working to rectify it is a different process altogether. That’s why we’re here to help; we’ve compiled several communication exercises to improve your relationships. Keep in mind that the very best guide for relationship communication is a professional therapist, but these exercises will encourage you to practice clear and honest communication with all the people in your life.

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Relationship communication exercises

Bonding over shared interests is one of the best ways to build relationships and is a fantastic method to maintain them. According to Courtney E. Ackerman, MSc., a positive activity should be something you can do with your partner regularly that allows for healthy and honest, but not always comfortable, conversation.

Another exercise is called Highs and Lows, a practice Beasley and Devlin made notable. Each person shares a high and a low point of their day, giving each party a chance to be heard without interruption. If your partner has a low point which you believe you can help with, ask if they’d like advice or just a listening ear.

Ackerman also recommends a round of Truth or Truth to dive a little deeper into the conversation. Whether you use this as an activity on its own or a segue into a heavier topic, taking the time to ask each other direct questions can reduce the amount of passive aggression and increase your comfort level with breaching vulnerable subjects. Simply take turns asking each other questions, as innocent, vulnerable, or vulgar as you like. Eventually, an open and honest conversation takes over and you learn more about each other in the process.

These exercises are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bettering your communication. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to talk about communication with your partner, whether you want to ease tensions, or reach a deeper level with your significant other. While it may be uncomfortable, direct communication will bring you closer than ever.

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