7 tips to improve communication in relationships

Review of Netflix’s “Marriage Story”


Have you seen the award-winning Netflix production “Marriage Story” starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson?  The acting and writing is fantastic.  The actors deliver powerful character portrayals of a man and woman in relationship that is at a turning point.  The story is both relatable and potentially triggering if you have found yourself in a similar marriage situation.


From the audience’s perspective, we see this couple’s relationship transform over a series of months as they proceed through divorce.  Our heart strings are pulled as tears are shed, angry words exchanged and the back-and-forth with their son becomes increasingly difficult.


This fantastic movie brings up a lot of questions about relationships and the value of communication.  In fact, from the very beginning, this movie would have been a completely different “marriage story” had the characters had stronger communication.


The struggle can be REAL when it comes to communicating!


Why is communication between humans often so difficult?  Can you think of a time when you have had tension in a relationship over a simple misunderstanding?  Most times, hindsight shows us that the issue could have been worked out quickly and yet, when we forget how to communicate, we end up angry, frustrated, confused and sad.


How then do we improve our communication in our most-cherished relationships so we don’t end up hurt and having to “break-up” with those we are care for most?


7 Sassy tips to improve communication in your relationships


Check out these 7  tips and see which ones resonate most strongly with you!


Tip 1: Don’t be afraid


Many times we don’t communicate our true feelings because we are afraid of how the other person will react.  However, that fear is all in our minds.


It is possible that the perceived outcome of your communication could be the reality, but what if it isn’t?  What if you express yourself and the response is a big, warm hug and a smile? In fact, I bet that has happened to you before!  It has happened to us!


Our minds can play tricks on us to protect us from the unknown.  When you let the fear get in the way of truly communicating what is on your mind, you deny yourself and the other person the opportunity to engage in dialogue that could easily solve the problem.


So, pony up girl!  Don’t be afraid to open your mouth and communicate what you want to say.


Tip 2: Get out of your own head


Have you ever found yourself overthinking?  Our brains are powerful and creative and come up with all sorts of stories.  Often times, overthinking and procrastinating are just another means of self-doubt.  When they show up you have to reach into your mindset toolbox and move through it.


For example, imagine if you overthink what your partner is going to say when you express a particular desire.  Then, you make up a whole story about how he/she is going to react.  However, you may be completely off base!


You have many tools in your toolbox to get out of your own head and change your narrative.


You have many tools in your toolbox to get out of your own head and change your narrative.  One of them is practicing gratitude.  When you recognize you are overthinking, STOP, and start saying things you are grateful for about your partner and your relationship.


Say gratitude for yourself for having opinions and the ability to express them.  This will help break the cycle of overthinking and help you get back to a rational place of communication.


Tip 3: Don’t play the victim


You know how we feel about the victim-mentality… it is NOT SEXY!  When you make yourself a victim you don’t do yourself or anyone around you a service. Being a victim can seem fun in the beginning.  You get sympathy and support.  Others might coddle you and tell you it’s all OK.


But let’s be honest.  Relationships go two-ways!  In any given situation, there are 2 sides to the story and you have to accept your role.


When you play the victim card, you will increase your anger and frustration.  This will bring you further away from productive communication with your partner.  Plus, it’s an immature move and you are a SASSY, IN DEMAND WOMAN!   If you want to have good relationships, then you have to own up to your decisions (past and present) and step into your power!


Tip 4:Identify what you want and state it!


News flash… your partner is NOT a mind reader.  It may seem like he/she should be at this point in your relationship, but it’s NEVER going to happen!  So many arguments and miscommunications can be avoided if we don’t make assumptions about what the other person knows or thinks.


If you want something you need to communicate it clearly.  This applies to simple things such as where you want to go on your next date night to more complicated decisions like whether or not you should move to a new city.


When you clearly identify what you want and communicate it to your partner, he/she will know what you are truly feeling and you take out the guessing game.  Wishy-washy behavior leads to miscommunication and you will feel better if you just say what it is you actually desire!


Tip 5: Accept yourself, accept your partner


You and your partner are different people.  The longer you are together, the better you get to know one another and your tastes and preferences.  That said, you are different people!  There may be aspects of your life that you never see 100% eye-to-eye on, but when you respect your partner, you also respect your differences.


Communication often comes down to strategy.  We all hear things in a different way.  Be mindful of how your partner prefers to be communicated with and you will be more successful in clearly stating your point.


We all hear things in a different way.  Be mindful of how your partner prefers to be communicated with!


For example, do you know about the 5 Love Languages?  Dr. Gary Chapman asserts that we each have a primary love language that dominates how we like to be loved.  If you know your own love language and your partner’s, (and your partner knows your and their own) if will make it much easier to communicate based on each of your styles/preferences.


Truly accept who you are and who your partner is when you are communicating.  By communicating in a way that will appeal most to your partner, you are much more likely to have a productive conversation that will result in a positive outcome.



Tip 6 : Don’t share your problems with others


It’s one thing to confide in your bestie when you need a shoulder to cry on or you need to vent.  Sometimes it’s also great to get outside perspective to help you get out of your own head space (see above!).  However, when you air your dirty laundry and talk shit about your partner at every social event you go to, you make yourself look foolish and you decrease your credibility.


We all experience challenges in our relationships.  Relationships take work because we are humans and we are complex and that’s just how it goes.


Don’t be the girl who is dishing out the dirt about her partner at Girls Night Out hoping for sympathy and attention.  This brings us back to being a victim…and we already covered that one.


If you start airing your dirty laundry all over town, you will lose credibility with your partner and your chances of properly communicating decreases dramatically.  Instead of being passive-aggressive and telling everyone else what you think, create space to talk to your partner and start talking.  You are a big girl, a capable adult and mature enough to know this is the best strategy to work out your issues.


Tip 7: Come from a place of love


We wanted to save the best for last!  Bottom line is that if you are in a serious relationship, love is there.  Even if it needs to be dusted off like the vase on the back of the shelf, the love exists and you need to start there.


When you lead with love, you will be able to communicate ANYTHING you desire.  Your partner will feel the respect and your intention to resolve the issues.


Love is an extremely powerful emotion.  When we truly love, we open up ourselves to vulnerability and hurt.  But we also have the opportunity to give of ourselves mind, body and spirit and feel the most incredible feelings we have ever felt.


Lead with love and you will be able to communicate ANYTHNG you desire!


When you channel the love and the energy as you communicate, you will be able to clearly express yourself and, most likely, work out whatever you want to work out!


And if you think the love isn’t there anymore, take some time to write down all the things you did love about your partner in the past.  Is it possible that some of those still hold true?  We hope you discover they do!



In conclusion


Communication is the key to every successful relationship.  If you want to thrive in your relationships, you have to be able to strongly communicate.


Can you image a world where excellent communication happened all the time?  There would be no hate, no hurt, no wars, no unrest, no divorce, no anger.   Perhaps that is a Utopian viewpoint, but we can dream right???


Our hope is that you start to use these tips more often to improve your own relationships.  Even if a small percentage of people start communicating more clearly and effectively, the butterfly effect will cause a beautiful ripple that has the potential to positively impact so many lives!

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