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How to (Successfully) Talk About Relationship Problems with Your Partner

Relationship Communication: How to Address Issues Together

Healthy communication is the key to a successful relationship. But unfortunately, many couples struggle to communicate, especially when it comes to discussing problems in their relationship. They may choose to stay silent in an effort to please their partner or avoid conflict, but ignoring problems in a relationship will not make them go away.

It's essential to learn how to successfully talk about relationship problems instead of sweeping them under the rug. Follow these tips to engage in a healthy dialogue with your partner about issues in your relationship.

Use “I” messages

A conversation can quickly turn heated if your partner feels attacked, which can make it difficult to resolve the issue you are trying to address. To avoid this problem, try using “I” messages when communicating with your partner.

Do you want to talk about how you feel your partner doesn't listen?  Instead of saying, “You don't listen,” say, “I feel unheard.” Do you want your partner to help out with household chores? Try saying, “I'm stressed and could use some extra help” instead of, “You never help me around the house.”

Rephrasing your statements in this way can help you get your point across without making your partner feel attacked, which can lead to a more productive conversation.

Take responsibility

Blaming your partner for all of the problems in your relationship is not a healthy way to resolve these issues.

If you want to reach a positive outcome, take responsibility for the role you have played in the conflict, too. Taking responsibility will show your partner that you are willing to put in the work to improve your relationship, which will motivate them to make an effort as well.

Choose the right time

Timing is important when it comes to having difficult conversations about your relationship. This should be a private conversation, so don't initiate it when you are in front of other people.

You should also hold off on starting this conversation if one or both of you are angry. You may be eager to hash it out, but it's hard to come to a resolution while in a truly bad mood. It's best to wait until you've both had plenty of time to cool off.

Use questions to keep the conversation on track

It's easy to go off track when talking about a problem in your relationship, but bringing up other arguments or issues from the past will not help you reach a positive resolution. If your partner starts to move the conversation in a different direction, help them get back on track by asking questions.

For example, if you are trying to talk to your partner about a specific issue, they may bring up a similar argument you had in the past. This could derail the entire conversation and stir up negative emotions. To bring the conversation back on track, ask questions like “How can we work together to resolve this issue in the future?” or, “What do you think we both could do differently to prevent this issue?”

The caring therapists at Foundations Counseling can help you and your family overcome life's greatest challenges. Contact us today!