Talk to me: How to talk to your partner about anything

10 tips for effective emotional communication with your partner.

By Barton Goldsmith, PhD

Emotional communication tips 1-5
Communication is the most important thing in any relationship. Without it, you are doomed to a life of uncertainty and misunderstanding. Noncommunicative couples seldom last and usually end up living separate lives, which leads to separate marriages. Once you are able to really talk with each other, the blocks to risk-taking, overcoming barriers and letting go of ego diminish.

Here are 10 ways to encourage effective emotional communication in your relationship. Even if you use only one of these tips, it will add to the depth of your communication and improve your relationship.

1. Find the emotional connection with your partner.
Take a moment to look into their eyes, hold their hands, and reexperience the reason you fell in love.

2. Create an environment of openness; encourage your partner to talk with you.
Questions like, "What do you think was the best movie we ever saw?" are a great way to begin a conversation. Once the door is open, it's very easy to move to the next level.

3. Make it safe to talk about emotions.
Let your partner know that you are there for them. It can be very empowering to say, "You can cry on my shoulder if you ever need to. I won't think you're weak. Your feelings are important to both of us." Once your partner knows that they will not be judged for being emotional and that their words will not be used against them, they will be more open to sharing their deeper feelings.

4. Help each other learn basic conflict-resolution skills.
Understand that in every conversation (no matter how heated) there is a speaker and a listener; when the speaker is talking, the listener needs to hear what they are saying. Then the roles reverse. This alone will make difficult conversations much easier. (Read 8 issues all couples clash over for more conflict-resolution advice.)

5. Encourage informality.
Learn to be relaxed with each other. If things get difficult and you feel like you're walking on eggshells, let your partner know that you feel the tension and that you are willing to lighten things up. If they agree, then kiss and move on.


Page 1 of 2 – Find five more ways to connect with your partner on page 2.

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