Invest quality time in face-to-face contact
We fall in love looking at one another and listening to one another and if we continue to look and listen in the same attentive and approving ways, we will sustain the falling in love experience. You probably have fond memories of when you were first dating your loved one. Everything may have seemed new and exciting, and you may have spent hours just chatting together or coming up with new, exciting things to try.
Stay in touch emotionally
Emotional communication—awareness of what you’re experiencing emotionally and what your partner is experiencing emotionally—is a fundamental part of good communication and a healthy relationship.
When people stop understanding or having an interest in their own or their partner's emotions, they stop relating well, especially at stressful times. There is no reason to fear emotions. They are just feeling messages that our brain sends to keep us alive and well. What we do with these messages is a choice. As long as you are connecting emotionally, as well as intellectually, you can empathize with your partner’s experience and work through whatever problem you’re facing.
IMPORTANT TIP: Keep an eye on your partner’s nonverbal signals
BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR PARTNER
Yes, even for the small mercies.
Spend time saying “thank you” and letting your partner know how much you truly value him or her. Also, remember to increase the gratitude you actually feel toward your partner, because this also makes a big difference. Reflect on why you appreciate having your partner in your life or what you would miss most if he or she were not in your life.
SEE THE SILVER LINING IN YOUR PARTNER AND THE RELATIONSHIP
Research on perception and attention shows that we see more of what we look for, so if you’re looking for signs of kindness, that’s more likely to stand out to you. How you think about and interpret your partner’s actions, intentions, and words also affects how you feel and understand a situation with them, which in turn affects how you behave toward them.
Spend a week looking for anything and everything your partner does “right.” You can even jot down anything you notice for each day if you choose.
Stay connected by being a good listener
Choose the right place and time. Finding a time and a place where you’re both relaxed can be a crucial part of communicating effectively. If you’re shouting to each other from different rooms, for instance, you’re unlikely to properly hear what each other is saying. It’s also really hard to listen to someone when there’s lots of background noise or other things competing for your attention.
Use your body language. Facing towards someone when they’re talking means you’re much more likely to focus on what they’re saying than if you’re facing away or looking at something else.
Listen intelligently. Sometimes, people joke about something because it’s easier than saying it openly. Or they might imply something, but not quite say it outright. They may even say the complete opposite of what they mean. Listening intelligently means looking out for the meaning behind your partners’ words – hearing not just what they’re saying, but what they’re trying to say.
Try first to understand, and then be understood. Before you start talking, commit to putting your views and agenda aside.
Avoid judgement. Communication flourishes when there’s trust, but flounders when there’s judgement or criticism. Being able to listen without making judgemental statements or putting each other down is crucial to building and maintaining trust. Even if what your partner is saying doesn’t make sense to you, butting in or picking holes is only likely to hurt them, not convince them.
Show you’re listening to what your partner is saying. That doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing all the time, but rather making it clear you’ve understood them - or that you're trying to understand them.
Make good listening second nature
It’s worth bearing in mind that listening is a skill, and it takes time to learn.