8 Ways to boost intimacy through healthy communication
Research shows that most couples divorce for two reasons⸻ growing apart and poor communication skills [source]. Effective communication is one of the basic building blocks of healthy developing relationships. Communicating well with your partner doesn’t have to be challenging, and by implementing a few helpful communication tips, you may see your partner open up to you in ways you haven’t seen before.
Read on to find out why communication is essential in a relationship and eight ways to grow together as a couple through healthy communication, so intimacy continues to grow.
Why communication is important in a relationship
A relationship without communication is like having a houseplant you don’t water. Its roots have no nutrition for it to thrive, its flowers wither up and fall, and its slow death is inevitable unless it gets some water and nutrients fast. Often, relationships have some form of communication, and you can’t be in a relationship without talking to the other person sometimes, right? Communication problems cause relationship rifts, struggles with connection, and issues in the bedroom.
A few signs of poor communication in your relationship might be:
- Yelling at one another
- Exchanging criticizing remarks
- Giving the silent treatment
- Dismissing your partner’s feelings
- Little to no intimacy
Healthy communication is the water and nutrients that the plant of your relationship needs to be fruitful and meaningful. Couples can have a better shot at experiencing intimacy, closeness, and out-of-this-world sex through healthy communication.
A few benefits of healthy communication in your relationship are:
- It helps avoid conflict
- It allows openness on thoughts, feelings, and expectations
- It draws you and your partner closer together
- It deepens your understanding of one another
- It helps to mature your relationship
- It helps develop strong emotional connections for greater intimacy
Here are eight ways to communicate better with the special person in your life.
1. Listen closely
They say we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, and that is that we should listen twice as much as we speak. The first way to improve communication in your relationship is to listen closely. Let’s be honest, many of us aren’t good at this because while the other person is speaking, we’re busy thinking of ways to respond. While we are busy forming our reply, we miss important information vital to good communication. Listening will help you focus on what your partner is trying to say to you. Your partner may also feel better about openly communicating because you’re giving them the space they need to speak without interruption.
2. Understand your feelings
You might be the kind of person who knows exactly how you feel at all times, or you may need some time to figure it out before communicating your emotions to your significant other. Whichever camp you’re in, knowing how you feel and why you feel the way you do helps you to be crystal clear with your partner on your perspectives. If you take a short time to think about your feelings, you may be able to communicate with a level head versus out of anger.
3. Paraphrase your partner’s perspective
To avoid miscommunication or communication breakdowns, check in during your conversation to make sure you hear and understand your partner correctly. Research shows that summarizing your partner’s view helps reduce negative feelings [source].
You can use statements like “What I’m hearing is…” or “If I understand correctly, you feel…” This shows your partner that you’re listening to them, and it also tells them how well they’re communicating with you.
4. Spend distraction-free time together
You know the feeling you get when you’re telling your partner about something that happened during your day, and they mumble “mmhmm” while scrolling through their news feed? It’s not a great feeling because their focus is obviously elsewhere.
To give your communication a boost, be intentional about spending time together without devices so you can connect without distractions. If you can focus better on one another, you’ll be better able to experience bonding and healthy intimacy.
Many couples enjoy watching Netflix shows together, but if you want to communicate better, it helps to engage in an activity that requires more talking and eye contact, like playing a game or going out dancing.
5. Use “I” statements
“You aren’t making any sense.” “You are being unreasonable.” Statements like these have something in common⸻ they all begin with “you.” “You” statements point the finger at the other person, which feels like an instant attack. These statements tend to lead to conflict and poor interactions for couples [source].
Consider switching up your language to say statements that include “I feel,” “I think,” or “I need.” For example, “I feel unwanted and undesired when you don’t initiate sex with me.” Your partner can better see where you’re coming from instead of feeling personally attacked.
6. Get playful
Grow close to your partner through nonsexual foreplay, an underrated communication style that serves as sweet reminders you and your significant other desire one another. Whether it’s hand-holding, leaving love notes, or giving a lingering hug, healthy communication goes beyond what’s said, but it’s also done through our actions.
7. Speak positively
Let your significant other know you care for them by sharing your feelings in ways they will like. You might send a quick text while they’re at work that says “I miss you. Everything is better when you are here.” Build up your partner with your words to remind them how much you appreciate sharing life with them.
8. Talk face-to-face
Eye contact is significant for healthy communication in a relationship, so it's critical to have serious conversations face-to-face instead of via text. Texting can often worsen communication because it can lead to confusion, misinterpretation, and frustration so be sure to defer what you have to say until you and your partner can talk about it through an in-person conversation.
Ready to grow closer as a couple?
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Gaby McPherson MS, RDN, LDN
Gaby is a full-time freelance writer, specializing in evidence-based health, nutrition, and wellness articles, as well as creating engaging content for health brands. Her clients have been Healthline, Ovia Health, Happiest Baby, Once Upon a Farm, EatingWell, and more. She's very passionate about reproductive and family health. When she’s not writing, Gaby spends her free time dancing to the Encanto soundtrack with her beautiful preschooler.