Couple relationships have many different aspects
Couple relationships have many different aspects including:
- companionship - sharing experiences, interests and concerns, showing affection and appreciation
- intimacy - being able to be close to each other, to comfort and be comforted, and to be open and honest with each other
- a sex life that you both enjoy
- organising a shared home and a shared life; making decisions about issues such as money
- working together as parents in caring for children.
Open and honest communication is a key element to all these aspects of relationships. You might have differences, but if you know what they are and why your partner feels that way, you can often talk matters through and reach agreement. Double checking your understanding of what your partner is saying can be useful. Misunderstandings can easily occur and can lead to hurt, anger or confusion.
Communication is more than just talking
You give a great deal of information without using words, by your body posture, your tone of voice, and by the expression on your face – and you can see others doing the same. These non-verbal ways of communicating tell the other person how you feel about them. If your feelings don't fit with your words, it tends to be the non-verbal messages that are heard and believed.
To enhance communication you can:
- kiss and hug your partner every day and give them a smile when you make eye contact
- set aside time to talk without interruption from other people or distractions like tv, phones or computer games
- talk about what is happening in your lives, the good and the not-so-good, and how it affects you. Talk about small things and big matters; about something funny you saw or heard; about how you’d like to spend your birthday; or where you‘d like to go for a holiday one day and your concerns about the children
- when appropriate, in a respectful way, try to tell your partner what you are feeling and thinking about a particular matter, even if it might upset him or her
- really listen to and observe your partner and try to understand his or her intentions, needs and wants
- state what you want and need, and negotiate if you have differences.
If you would like to learn more about couple communication or need help with a relationship issue call 1300 364 277 to find out about courses or counselling near you.