Communication Skills for Lifelong Relationships

Use Communication Tools
Show your partner what you want to receive.
Show your partner what you want to receive.

Steve Stewart, author of 52 Simple Rules to Improve Your Relationship, says that each partner needs to get what he or she wants from a relationship for it to be successful. To help couples communicate more effectively, Stewart uses four simple but effective tools:

  1. Ask for what you want. Stewart says that most people don't ask for what they want because they think they can't get it. But the opposite is typically true. Most people are surprised to learn/to find out that they can get what they want simply by asking.
  2. Show your partner what you want to receive. "In other words," says Stewart, "give your partner what you would like your partner to give you."
  3. Learn to negotiate. Relationships are give and take. For example — "Honey, I will cook dinner, if you will do the dishes afterward."
  4. Learn to modify what you want. "Ask yourself if what you want is really something you have to have," says Stewart.

While Stewart believes that couples can overcome communication style barriers, he says sometimes it may be more work than it's worth. "If you're always giving in, or if you cannot ask your partner to give you anything, it may be time to move on.

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