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5 Simple Phrases to Improve Your Relationship

June 22, 2014

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Relationships are nurtured through our everyday communications, but sometimes it can be a challenge to bring conscious attention to interactions that can feel mundane. Too often, our richest relationships devolve into half-hearted inquiries about our partner’s day and bickering over whose turn it is to take out the trash. By allowing half-hearted communication to take the place of meaningful interaction, we not only show our partner that we take him or her for granted, but also rob ourselves of the joy we once drew from connecting with this person.

If we want our romantic relationships to last, this won’t fly. One of the easiest ways to show our partners that we are attentive and attuned to them is through our words. Instead of the tired and meaningless “How was your day?” try using these five fresh and compassionate expressions to improve your relationship and strengthen your communication:

“I’m hearing you.”

The desire to help your partner by fixing their problems is both normal and healthy. It’s a sign of how much you love and care for them. But many times when your partner is sharing a difficult life event, the first response that they need is one of support and empathy. Telling your partner in a loving and compassionate voice that you are hearing and understanding their struggles can be enormously validating.

“What do we do now?”

There comes a point in every argument or disagreement that feels like deadlock. Neither of you know how to get back to relationship harmony. You both feel yourself sinking into the quicksand of relationship distress. That’s the moment when an open and forward-looking phrase like “what do we do now” can have the most power. Not only is it a call to action, but the “we” also reinforces the notion that the two of you are a team and implies that you will work together to reach a happier place.

“I would encourage you to think about it this way.”

No one likes being told what to do, and your partner is no exception, but there are times that call for advice. In order to ensure that this advice doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a commanding dictator, try framing it with the above phrase. Being extra careful to keep any sarcasm or superiority out of your voice will help to ensure that your advice comes across as a compassionate suggestion instead of a condescending directive. 

“It means a lot when you . . .”

We notice when our partner does something we don’t like, but how often do we take the time to point out the positive things they do for us? Offering affirmations to your partner when they provide you with help, comfort, or care is a great way to show your partner how much they mean to you. Try to affirm your partner at least a few times a day.  They’ll feel valued in the relationship, and it will likely lead to more positive interactions in the future. 

“Can you give me just a few minutes while I think about this?”

Impulsive reactions are perhaps the biggest cause of unnecessary escalation during arguments. Taking just a few minutes away from a simmering debate can keep things from boiling over. This phrase gives you and your partner a moment to collect your respective thoughts, and then allows you to respond to each other in a more conscious and mindful manner.

What phrases do you use to better your communication with your partner? Share them with us in the comments below!