Love

20 Unsexy Ways To Grow Way Closer To The Person You Love

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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 that can bring you closer together.

Here are 20 unsexy ways to grow way closer to the person you love: 

1. Remember that listening is love

Make the effort to really hear your partner and understand their message.

2. Don't force your own point of view

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. Make a date to talk about important things

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

4. Shut out distractions

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

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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.

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6. Tune into your partner and out of electronics

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

Practice 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. Wait for them to finish speaking

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

10. Be genuinely curious

Try 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.

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11. Extend the conversation with questions

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. Reserve judgment

Resist the temptation to jump to conclusions.

13. Be respectful during a conversation

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

14. Use brief, positive interjections to build conversational momentum

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.”

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15. Rephrase what you heard for clarity

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

16. Refrain 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.

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

17. Stay interested

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 level to have an interchange with heart and meaning.

18. Give yourself some credit

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. Be mindful of non-verbal communication cues

Showing your partner love through what you do and say is only one way to do it.

Sometimes, the best way to show love is 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. Show that you're grateful

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

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

RELATED: What Your Myers-Briggs & Enneagram Personality Types Reveal About The Way You Communicate In Relationships

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.

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