3 Key Communication Skills To Master In Your Same-Sex Relationship

strong communication skills

Yes, it's different with LGBT love!

When it comes to communication, being a same-sex couple gives you an advantage over your heterosexual, husband-and-wife counterparts.

It’s probably not surprising that straight couples have a taller communication hurdle to overcome because men and women communicate differently. Having one male brain and one female brain in the mix always poses greater challenges.

But don’t fool yourself … just being in a same-sex marriage doesn’t mean you have the gift of effortless or flawless communication.

What’s the big deal about having strong communication skills if you’re in a gay or lesbian relationship? Simple…

Strong communication skills can help you have a strong same-sex marriage. And I, for one, am in favor of showing the world that same-sex couples have the strongest, happiest, and most secure relationships on the planet.

Related: How To Save Your Marriage — Even if You Have To Do It By Yourself

I’m not going to drone on here about the long and tired list of communication tips that have already been written about a million times. You know the ones: verbal and non-verbal communication skills, active listening, paraphrasing, asking open-ended questions, and using “I” statements…

Instead, I want to distill the key elements of strong communication into just three simple skills:

1. Tune In

Communication is like a two-partner dance. (No solos or line dances here!) It’s a creative and highly interactive process that works best when both of you are tuned in. Tuned into each other’s cues, and tuned into your own sensations.

In order to really tune into your honey, you’ll have to listen to their words as well as their body language. Really listen. And look for those subtle facial micro-expressions that speak volumes. If you’re not paying attention, you will miss them.

This skill is to tune in whether you’re the one talking or the one listening. Just like on the dance floor, it behooves you to be completely tuned into your dance partner, either as the one leading or following. Otherwise, you’ll  likely step on their toes.

The best way to tune in is to eliminate distractions. That can mean putting down your cell phone, turning off the t.v., or simply turning so you can face your partner eye-ball to eye-ball.

Another pesky distraction that gets in the way of optimally tuning in can show up in the form your own thoughts.

If you’re the one talking, beware of censoring yourself for fear of being judged or of upsetting your spouse.

And if you’re the one listening, don’t indulge in formulating what you’ll say next. That instantly causes you to tune out. And it keeps you from hearing (and understanding) what your partner is saying.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Talk To People Who Are Angry And Intense ALL The Time

2. Take Turns

Be fair.

You’ll never have strong communication if you don’t take turns.

Speeches, monologues, lectures, and soap-box diatribes weaken communication and relationships. Those styles will make your partner tune out, forget your initial point, and feel like you don’t really give a damn about their thoughts and reactions.

So be mindful of letting your partner have their fair share of time during the conversation. Slow down. Pause. Listen. Ask questions. And try not to interrupt. 

I know…that’s a really tough one! Especially if it’s during an argument. But you’re going for fairness, so give it your best effort.

3. Tell All

Tell each other everything. By telling all, you will protect your partnership and make your relationship strong.

This isn’t a license to be crass or insensitive. You still have the responsibility to communicate in a way that isn’t mean, doesn’t threaten your relationship, and won't throw you partner under the bus.

The key to this communication skill is a mutual agreement to be radically transparent and completely authentic with one another.

Some couples make the mistake of believing that their relationship can’t handle knowing everything.  But here’s the thing, your relationship will be weakened by secrets. Period.

Secrets destroy intimacy.

If you and your partner don’t tell each other everything, that needs to stop now. Before you go to bed tonight, make the agreement with one another that from now on you will both tell all.

That’s it! Only three core communication skills to focus on:

  • Tune in
  • Take turns
  • Tell all

Make a commitment to practice these skills every day. Then sit back and watch your marriage or relationship get stronger.

RELATED: 20 Signs You Need To Get To Marriage Counseling ASAP

Lynda Spann, PhD, LMFT is the founder of The Lesbian Couples Institute and a couples counselor. For more information visit the LCI website.