5 Small (But Significant) Ways To Change How You Speak To Your Partner

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Relationships are where you will feel the most pain and the most pleasure. It's through relationships where your partner or other people in your life mirror back to you who you are. It's not so easy or fun to see. This mirroring is what causes issues in relationships.

Becoming more self-aware and giving newfound awareness a clear, loving, authentic voice will enhance your relationships. What will happen when you learn how to communicate better in a relationship? All of your relationships will get better.

Communication challenges can let emotions get in the way, or logic get in the way by making up stories only to find out what you were thinking wasn’t true.

Are you a yeller who then suffers from a shame hangover? Or do you shut down and wall off, giving the silent treatment?

If you're giving the "silent treatment," how long does it last? Think of how damaging that is! Maybe you're afraid to speak your truth because you might cause waves.

Are you more of a people pleaser, going along to get along and avoid conflict at all costs? If you keep your truth from others, you will not feel connected. Ultimately, you will feel more resentment than connection.

Not having proper communication skills in a relationship is hurting you. But it isn't your fault.

All of these tactics and ways of communicating were handed down to you. They are a gift from your parents, grandparents, and ancestors. These patterns of dealing with conflict are deeply ingrained in your psyche.

RELATED: The 6 Language Tweaks That Can Immediately Improve Your Relationship

Here are 5 small (but significant) ways to change how you speak to your partner:

1. Don't use "always" and "never."

When you're upset with your partner or someone close, don't use "always" and "never." This includes statements such as:

"He never appreciates me."

"I am always the one who looks after everything."

"Everything" could be another dangerous word if you use it to generalize. For example, when your partner complains, you respond, "Everything you say is negative."

Phrases such as "he always" or "she never" are statements that box the other person in. Though you may think that person may always or never do something, it isn’t reality.

Reality is changing from moment to moment. Higher thought says that you create your reality. "Always" and "never" statements avoid being present with those you love.

It's also a way of avoiding taking responsibility for your part in the situation by blaming the other person. Listen to the stories you tell yourself when you are upset. These stories aren't who you are. They don’t come from your heart and will not enhance your relationships.

Start noticing when you use this very destructive way of communicating. Stop putting the one you love into a limited box and way of being.

RELATED: How To Stop Being Defensive In Your Relationship

2. Avoid using "you" statements when talking with your partner.

"I feel hurt" is different than "You hurt me." So, use "I" statements when communicating.

Using "I" statements instead of "you" is a way to communicate clearly and without blame. Authentic communication uses "I" statements. It’s not selfish and doesn’t mean you care only about yourself.

"I" statements are direct and honest. "I" statements are a way to take responsibility for how you feel and take back your power. You aren't blaming your partner for your feelings. "I" statements are what is happening with you, not judgments of what they are doing wrong.

For example, "I need gentleness" is an "I" statement, as opposed to saying, "You always yell at me," which is a "you" statement, creating defensiveness. "You" inherently is not a negative word; however, when used to victimize, judge, and control — as in the statement, "You are mean" (instead of saying "I feel hurt") — your words become an attack that doesn’t nurture connection.

You place the blame on the other person for causing your feelings. In that phrase, you aren't taking responsibility for your feelings. From this perspective, "you" statements are more self-centered than "I" statements.

Heart-centered communication shows vulnerability. "I feel hurt" is vulnerable. "You are mean" or You hurt me" are attacking.

3. Slow down and don't immediately react.

Good communication requires space and slowing down.

Most of us communicate in reactive mode. We are reacting to something. Speaking before we have time to digest what we have just heard or seen. Develop the skill of waiting to respond.

Maybe you need to wait a minute. Other times, you may need to wait a couple of days. It depends on the situation. Most of us are overreacting and not giving ourselves enough time to process things that upset us.

Take time and slow down. Feel the impact of an upsetting situation. Learn to process your uncomfortable feelings and give them a voice.

RELATED: 7 Things That Happen When You Listen To What Your Partner Is Saying

4. Actively listen when your partner is upset.

Waiting to respond is powerful, especially when upset. When you're upset and triggered, your logic isn't functioning properly. You go into fight or flight mode, and your listening ability goes out the window.

Could you take the time to listen? Actively listen. You have to give what you want to get.

The most valuable gift you can give someone you love is your presence and be there for them. Listen to them. Make sure you understand what they are trying to say. Stop being so fixed on your point of view, and clarify and verify with the other person what they want to tell you.

You can do this by repeating what you just heard them say. Use these words, "What I am hearing you say is..." Then, tell them what you understood them to say. You will be amazed at how often you misunderstand what they are saying.

Make them feel heard and understood, and you will open the door to having them experience the same.

5. Tell the truth.

You might think you are honest, but telling the truth is easier said than done.

What is your truth? Your truth is shrouded in other people’s agendas who want to keep the peace and be accepted.

What would it be like if you had better communication skills? If you could speak your truth without causing major problems? What difference would that make in your life?

The truth is you can’t avoid conflict. It's part of relating. However, you can gain the skills to make conflicts less and less frequent, as well as decrease how long they last. Be a wave instead of a tornado.

RELATED: 3 'Love Language' Communication Skills That Will Make Your Relationship Last

Anna-Thea is an author and certified divine Feminine educator who educates people on how to claim their power in a loving way.

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