Communication is everything. Most people understand that after some time in a relationship. No matter how physically attracted or impressed by your partner you are, sooner rather than later will come a situation in which you need to discuss difficult matters to progress. This requires attention, and it requires the art of listening.

It’s easy to forgo these efforts. We see them in relationships where the little problems suddenly become massive because they are rarely communicated. These are the relationships where one party feels incredibly worried about offending the other or rocking the boat at all. We see it in relationships where inattention leads someone to not know who they are, and by extension, what they want. We also see this in harmful relationships where abuse or unhappiness is the default mode of operation.

In order to avoid these issues, or more distinctly, to follow your best relational health, it’s important you know how to have deeper conversations with your partner. With the following efforts, and some examples to showcase them, we will help you achieve that:

Stay Honest

Stay honest with your partner. It’s important that they know, and you know, that you’re telling the truth. Don’t dance around topics that might offend. State them, with a warning if necessary. You’re not in this to hurt them, but you do need to address something. Remind them, if they have trouble remembering, that it’s a form of respect to be open and honest with your partner. You cannot be fully, 100% in-love and positive about each other all of the time for years, and so it’s worth working through the hard topics and speaking directly about them to set a precedent.

Think about it like working in an office. If your boss comes around once a day and praises you for everything, even the things you know you could improve on, sooner rather than later you’ll stop trusting their judgment, and worse, you’ll be blind to your own potential for growth. If they were only honest about your misgivings, or issues they had and worked towards a solution, you would trust their praise that much more – and would mean more.

Relationships can work in this way, too. No matter, if you need to tell them how much their snoring is affecting you, or how a pithy comment made earlier, did upset you, or even debating the necessity of a vasectomy vs tubal ligation procedure, it’s worth staying open and having conversations that matter to you. This is how progress is made.

Give A Little

It’s important to give a little. No one, no matter how in love with you they are, will be interested in hearing about every single one of their personality flaws or things they should change without some kind of olive branch. It’s important to give a little. Perhaps you’ve noticed that you’re speaking less throughout the day, and you’d like to rekindle those times where you felt more like a team.

It could be that you frame the conversation by suggesting you know how your working overtime hours is leading you to spend less time together, and you’re sorry for it. You would really like to connect with them more. Perhaps if you both made a renewed effort, and attended a dinner out every two weeks, you could get to know each other more closely again.

Give a little. Deep conversations aren’t always about negotiations, but sometimes it can be worthwhile to show you’re in this as a team. As a team, you’re unit. This means you work on problems together, and focus on what the solutions could be with gratitude and strength. That’s a much better manner of approaching a conversation than starting with a few accusations. No one wishes to listen to those.

Find A Time & Place

It’s important to find a time and place for deep conversations. If your partner has your child hanging on their leg while on the phone with their parents and trying their best to get the laundry done, now might not be the time to bring up your ideas about the relationship, or talk about that big new life change.

A time and place can be in a quiet room after dinner, or when taking a long drive to the shops, or in the weekly family-planning meeting. When you know that this is the time to discuss difficult subjects, you can avoid them swirling in your head week-round. It will help you focus on the weekly habits and practices you have. If the topic needs to be considered NOW, you can always make that request. But make sure you’re both present and dedicated to talking through  that problem now, as opposed to feeling a sense of ‘now is never the right time.’ 

Consider The Topic

It’s important to keep your discussion on a particular topic. In relationships, you may have noticed, it’s easy for one problem to suddenly become about every problem you have ever faced, and that leads the spiral to frustration, and both of you make zero progress. Instead, keep the topic constrained. Discuss the matter at hand. If either of you veers off, have the other remind you that this isn’t what you need to speak about.

Okay, perhaps your husband’s snoring is getting to you. He doesn’t see it as a problem. You’re barely getting any sleep. Instead of turning this into an argument about how he always leaves the toilet seat up, or how he barely helps out with the housework, you broach this subject with mutual respect and the means to work as a team. You suggest one visit to the Doctor. He agrees. Because you managed to focus on what was at stake, you made a victory. Tomorrow, you might make another. Then he might make one with (not against) you. This way, the conversation can flow, no one becomes offended, and communication is always the reliable bedrock of your relationship.

With this advice, we hope you can more easily have those deep conversations with your partner. You deserve it.