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Talking in relationships

CommsMy parents’ marriage lasted 26 years and the latter years felt like wall to wall arguments. Great communication supports good relationships, but few people know how to be good communicators. Communication is a skill and it takes practice to get it right. Are you a good relationship communicator?

The numbers shout volumes

A recent survey found that 1:4 people have experienced the breakup of their parents’ relationship, with signs that this can have lasting impacts on relationships. There’s no simple solution for stopping break-ups, but communication can help to save those meaningless arguments.

Commitment v marriage

The top 3 signs of commitment in a relationship are:

  1. Sharing problems
  2. Exclusivity
  3. Getting married

Sharing problems is an important part of any relationship and getting married is a sign of commitment. There are differing attitudes by age; 35% of the over 65’s thought getting married was the most important sign of commitment. This fell to 12% for those aged 16–24. Half of those aged over 65 ranked getting married in their top three signs of commitment compared to a quarter of 16–24 year olds.

Tips for better communication:

  • Don’t sweep things under the carpet. Avoiding difficult conversations is creating pent up tension that may explode into a row.
  • Don’t put them on the defensive. Telling your partner everything you think they’re doing wrong and making accusations, creates more rows.
  • Pick a place and time. It’s not just about what you say; it’s useful to plan to have a discussion at a specific time and place.
  • Make time to talk and listen. We assume that communication is about making yourself heard, but it’s hearing each other.
  • Practice will make it better for both of you.

Relationships are our bedrock; they see us through the tough times. Having spent the last 21 years with my partner, I have persevered with improving communication and it's not easy. The ability to say what’s on your mind and listen when your partner tells you what’s on theirs. Good luck with good communication – it takes two to communicate.

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Date: 11 November 2019 by Max Robinson