Some people might naturally be more talented at communicating than others and this still does not mean that you just have to shrug your shoulders and accept things the way they are. Communication is a skill and therefore can be learnt, trained and improved with willingness and dedicated practice.
Tip #1: Listening
Becoming a better listener is the first part in practicing your communication skills. It is when you really listen to your partner that you will find out what is really going on. Often we make assumptions based on past experiences and fail to notice changes.
Start to practice listening by summarizing and feeding back to your partner what you have heard. Refrain from paraphrasing and adding your own interpretation. Ask clarifying questions, even if you think you know. Let your partner know that you have your own idea of what you think they mean but you are genuinely interested in what THEY meant.
Tip #2: Take time
Take time to have an in-depth conversation. If you need to, make it a date or an appointed time in your calendar if you have to juggle children, work commitments and courses or study. Allow each of you to take turn in speaking and listening. Remember to choose a specific place that suits the conversation you are going to have, for example discussing child-rearing when the children are in bed as opposed to on the dinner table.
If emotions are running high agree to a time-out. If you are flooded, meaning your heart rate is above 100 beats per minute, you are no longer able to think constructively and solution-focused. In these circumstances it might be better to defer the communication to another time. Agree another time to finish your conversation.
Tip #3: More than words can say
Words transmit only 7% of the communication. 38% is delivered with our tone of voice and 56% by our body language. Remember that rolling your eyes at a statement of your partner conveys more harm to the communication than saying: ‘I don’t agree with what you are saying.’
Stay true to your feeling and remember to communicate them. Even if you are frustrated it is better, in the long run, to let your partner know than to leave him/her guessing why you are making a face.