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Frowning woman after argument with husband

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Communication is complicated. Sometimes we say so much more with non-verbal communication – like facial expressions or even silence – than we do with our words. When emotions run high, it’s hard to say what we need to say without adding a little something extra or hurtful. But if you’re in a long-term relationship or are married, the key to success is continually perfecting your communication skills with your partner. Research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found a correlation between positive communication and relationship satisfaction.

When we talk about communication in a relationship, we should be talking about expressing needs and finding a mutually beneficial way forward. However, sometimes – whether we admit it or not – our intentions aren’t always mutually beneficial. They might include wanting to win, wanting to make a partner jealous, wanting to make a point or wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. These micro agendas are counterproductive to effective communication. And yet, we’re all familiar with them and guilty of them. If you’re serious about becoming the best communicator you can be, then it’s time to be honest about these dysfunctional forms of communication in a relationship.



young black couple talking together on sofa

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Scorekeeping is a dangerous habit to get into. It’s the fast track to getting nowhere. Psychology Today reports that scorekeeping is an indicator of a lack of trust as well as rigidity in a relationship. But, when we’re accused of something, our pride kicks in. Sometimes, it feels the only way to redeem our reputation is to point out the flaws in someone else’s.

However, even if you are correct, mentioning a time your partner did the same thing of which they’re accusing you now is a dead-end effort. It doesn’t make the action okay. It doesn’t erase your partner’s feelings about it. The old adage, “Two wrongs don’t make a right…” has never been more relevant. It doesn’t matter if your partner did the same thing in the past that they’re now accusing you of. The only productive way forward is apologizing and fixing it.

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