It has been said that men and women communicate so differently that they may actually be from different planets. Learning how our partner sees the world can help us learn to communicate more effectively and ultimately strengthen our relationship.

Here are six tips to help us bridge the communication gap from relationship counselor Gerri Hoegler, LPC, NCC and Imago Counselor. Gerri is based out of Tuckerton, NJ and practices Imago Therapy for couples.

  • 1

    Talk From Your Own Perspective

    Use I statements - "I think…" "I feel…" "I experience…." rather than “you this and you that”, which will put your partner on the defense.

     

  • 2

    Focus on Behavior, Not Character

    When you do need to express a frustration with you partner, make it about the behavior, not their character- such as “It frustrates me when there are dirty socks left on the floor” rather than “you’re such a slob”

     

  • 3

    Be An Active Listener

    Put  aside your own thoughts for a moment and keep you own emotions in check to "take a trip" into your partner's world and hear their perspective. Easier said than done, I know... that's the "active" part. It takes effort!

     

  • 4

    Eliminate Negativity

    Open communication requires emotional safety. Eliminate negativity from your discussions and relationship in general. No shaming, blaming, or criticisms. If it feels negative to you partner, even if you did not mean it that way, treat it as a negative. That means figure out what happened and make amends.

     

  • 5

    Expect To Have Differences

    Conflict is inevitable in relationships. Do not avoid it, because the issues will just keep coming back. Expect differences because you each have different perspectives, both just as valid and real as the other's. Then learn how to talk it out, owning your part of the problem and better understanding your partner. Remember, the only one you can change is yourself, so use the dialogue to figure out what and how you need to grow.

  • 6

    Show Some Love

    Don’t forget to say the good stuff out loud… Too often all we talk about is problems. But it’s the positives in a relationship which give it the strength to get through the struggles. Express appreciations to your partner each and every day- make it a habit!