20 Ways To Get Even Closer To The Person You Love

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How To Improve Communication & Active Listening Skills To Deepen Intimacy In Healthy Relationship

Happy couples in healthy relationships have finely-tuned communication skills and are experts in the art of attentive listening. Their impeccable listening skills allow them to be penetrated by each other’s words and feelings. They don’t simply receive the information; they are informed by it — and frequently change their behavior accordingly.

When one partner expresses discomfort in response to the other partner’s request for more closeness, a simple remedy for bridging the distance between them is to institute periods of committed listening. It can make all the difference when it comes to learning how to improve your communication and deepen intimacy in your relationship

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When a partner is able to patiently accept the other’s feelings, opinions, and desires and is able to override his (or her) own impulse to be in the spotlight, the relationship will thrive.

Plus, your willingness to show up to honor your partner’s needs deepens the level of trust and respect you hold for each other. And as trust grows, there is an increased willingness to reveal even the most tender emotions which can bring you closer together.

Here are 20 ways to improve your communication and active listening skills that will help you get closer to the person you love.

1. First, remember that listening is love.

2. Make up your mind that, rather than trying to get your partner to listen to you, you are committed to listening more attentively to him or her.

3. Agree upon designated times to discuss important subjects. Spontaneous discussions can always be added.

4. Don’t allow other people (children, the dog, telephone, etc.) to interrupt the flow of your conversation.

5. Be fully present with one another. The quieter you become, the more you can hear. Being fully present with no distractions reassures your partner that you care. When you stop everything you are doing, to be as quiet and still as you can to give your partner your full attention, the results start to roll in. You must be present to win.

6. Turn off any tech devices (laptop computer, cell phone, tablet, and TV), and keep them off during the conversation.

7. Show interest using your body language, such as fully facing and periodically leaning in toward your partner, to show your interest in what they have to say.

8. Practice patience, even when your partner may not be getting to the point as quickly as you may want them to.

9. Restrain yourself from interrupting, so your partner feels your respect when speaking.

10. Be genuinely curious to know your partner more deeply. It's likely to draw him or her out and make your partner more willing to communicate with you.

RELATED: How To Be Completely Honest With The Person You Love (Without Hurting Their Feelings)

11. Ask clarifying questions designed to prompt your partner to go deeper into his or her experience. One effective prompt is to say, “Tell me more.”

12. Resist the temptation to jump to conclusions.

13. Remember that completing your partner's sentence as they're speaking is invasive and intrusive — and not respectful.

14. Show your involvement and interest with a few sincere and well-placed words, such as, “yes," "uh-huh," "I see, that makes sense," and "wow.”

15. Periodically paraphrasing, in your own words, what you are hearing shows you are right with your partner and understanding his or her communication. You also get a chance to have any misunderstandings corrected this way.

16. Restrain from offering your own guidance. You may feel tempted to offer advice, but it is much more powerful if you ask the kind of questions that will allow your partner to draw their own conclusions.

17. If you notice that you're feeling bored, rather than stopping the conversation or changing the subject, see if your questions can take the conversation to a deeper, more-feeling level to have an interchange with heart and meaning.

18. Congratulate yourself as you learn how to be a good listener and become better at it, and enjoy the trust that your attentive listening is building.

19. Showing your partner love by what you do and say is only one way to do it. Sometimes, the best way to show love by what you don’t do and say. Being quiet to show your care with committed listening may be just the method you need to take the well-being of your relationship to a higher level.

20. Sincerely thank your partner for their willingness to share their feelings, thoughts, and life with you.

And remember to enjoy the process. It take to learn how to improve your communication and active listening skills, but once you do, your relationship with be healthier and happier because of it!

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Linda Bloom, LCSW and Charlie Bloom, MSW have been trained as psychotherapists and relationship counselors and have worked with individuals, couples, groups, and organizations since 1975. To learn more, visit their website nd join their Facebook Live presentations every Thursday at 12:30 PM PST.

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This article was originally published at PsychCentral. Reprinted with permission from the author.