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Small Things Couples Can Do Every Day To Keep Their Relationships Fresh

Small Things Couples Can Do Every Day To Keep Their Relationships Fresh

Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship will tell you: the overwhelming infatuation you feel at the beginning of a relationship doesn’t last very long. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When you first meet someone you’re attracted to, it doesn’t take much effort to forge a close bond. What does take work is keeping the relationship from growing stale and boring. But just because it takes work doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. It totally is.

Ask about their day – and listen to their answer

Do ask them how their day went. But this is the equivalent of asking your friend “What’s up?” They will most likely answer “Good” and move on to something else. But if you’re genuine when you ask them this question, it lets them know you truly want to know about their day – the good and the bad. Allow them to open up to you on a daily basis, and you’ll continue growing closer each and every day.

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Show gratitude

You’re definitely thankful for everything your love does, but do they know that? Make it a point to give thanks constantly, even for the littlest favors. If they serve you dinner, be sure to tell them how much you appreciate it. If you come home to a clean house, make it a point to say “thanks” for their hard work. Most importantly, thank them simply for being who they are, and being there for you when you need them most.

Show interest in their passions

You’re both separate people, with separate interests and hobbies. But you should always be willing to try new things together, especially if it’s something your significant other loves to do. Expand your comfort zone; you might end up finding a new passion that you can enjoy together for the rest of your lives.

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Schedule down time together

It’s no secret that we live in a busy world. Because of this, it’s incredibly important to find time to just relax together. Even if it’s ten minutes in the morning or right before bed, make it a point to turn the TV off and spend some quality time together. It may be a while before you get the chance to do so again.

Pull your weight

A relationship simply can’t be one-sided. You both have to put an equal effort into every single part of it. If your significant other’s working, make sure dinner is on the table when they get home. If you both have a night off, don’t make plans with your other friends and leave them sitting at home. Don’t be the one that forgets anniversaries and holidays. Put your all into the relationship; it might be the most important connection you make in your lifetime.

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Be excited for them

Be enthusiastic about every little thing that gets them excited. Maybe they just got a new job, or a new opportunity opened up for them at work. Maybe something interesting happened to them on the way home from class. Whatever it is, be just as excited as they are when they come to you with something worth talking about. They’re only telling you because they want to share their exuberance with you.

Be weird together

Being in a relationship with the person of your dreams should mean you don’t really care what anyone else besides that person thinks. You’d do anything to make them smile, even if it goes against social norms. Be the one to jump in a puddle and start singing in the rain, or the one who to do a cartwheel in the middle of the park while walking to a picnic bench. While taking your relationship seriously, it’s important to remember not to take life too seriously.

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Featured photo credit: Sunset / Laura Gineitytė via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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