Develop better communication.   Most people aren’t born great communicators — it’s something nearly everyone has to work at. The way you talk to your partner might seem small, but you do it several times a day and it does have an effect. Consider these fixes:

  • Don’t use directive language. Try to keep phrases like “you should” or “you can’t” out of your relationship. You and your partner are equals, and neither one of you should have the authority to direct the other.
  • Relay your expectations. If you expect your partner to do something, say it. Don’t expect that he or she should read your mind, and don’t rely on hints. Being clear about what you want gives your partner a fair shot at succeeding. (And keep the above point in mind: instead of “You should take the garbage out every day,” say “I’d really like it if you took the garbage out every day.”)
  • Say “please” and “thank you.” You should be able to let loose around your partner, so there’s no need to worry about having impeccable manners all the time. The exception to this is asking nicely and expressing gratitude when your partner does something — don’t just assume he or she knows how you meant it.
  • Fight fair. Don’t just let all these good communication skills go out the window during an argument. Try to get your point across in a loving, respectful way that doesn’t seek to hurt your partner. If he or she insists on yelling or throwing insults, quietly request a calmer attitude.

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