You may think that you effectively communicate with your partner, but if you want to keep your relationship healthy, it is better to know without a doubt that you and your other half are communicating effectively. If you want to test your communication effectiveness, there are a few couple's counseling tactics that you should try at home with your partner.
1. Try your hand at active listening.
If you head to see a couple's counselor, one of the first things you will likely be asked to do is to converse with one another about a topic of interest in your relationship. While this is taking place, the counselor will be taking note of how well you share your thoughts individually, but mainly how well the person not talking is listening. You can try this at home by starting a conversation about something that you may not agree with and making it a general rule that whoever is speaking has the floor and the other partner is only allowed to listen, not react with their own personal thoughts or opinions. Take turns trying this with your partner to build better listening skills between the two of you.
2. Communicate your feelings with simple expressions.
In a lot of cases, of your partner upsets you or vice versa, the immediate reaction will be to defend or come back with something else, which completely eliminates the true inner feelings from being communicated. If your partner irritates you by something snide that they say, express first how it makes you feel that they say these things. The more you can openly communicate and understand how you make your partner feel, the easier communication can become.
3. Engage in negativity-free communication sessions.
After you have been with one person for a long time, it is easy to forget that you can hurt a partner's feelings with just a negative tone in communication, or even make someone feel under-appreciated with criticism and complaints. Set aside a designated time in the day, such as after dinner or in the morning, and declare it negativity-free time in which the only things that can be said must be positive. By taking part in these sessions, where you have to be considerate with every word, you and your partner may be reminded of just how much negative communication happens on a daily basis.
If you take a look at recent studies, lacking communication in marriage is the number one reason some couples end up being divorced. If you discover with home exercises that you and your partner are truly struggling, it never hurts to see a couple's counselor for advice.