The Importance Of Communication In A Relationship

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated April 4, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Laura Angers, NCC, LPC

Communication, whether it be with your significant other or just someone important in your life, is something key for the development or maintenance of any relationship. Without communication, things could get lost in the mix or forgotten about altogether. Communication is sometimes entirely looked over or taken for granted. Communicating effectively is something that rarely happens naturally for a lot of people. It is often something that people have to work at in their relationship. Despite being difficult, communicating effectively with your partner is possible and well worth it. Establishing this healthy communication in relationships is incredibly important for many different reasons.

Why Communication In A Relationship Is Important

To Reduce Conflict And Resolve It Quickly

Conflict in a relationship is something that every couple will deal with at some point. Truthfully, not all conflict is bad. However, it should be resolved healthily and quickly. When conflict cannot be resolved, and one or both partners are intentionally hurting each other, it becomes unhealthy. As Anne Grady from Entrepreneur puts it, “With aggressive communication, you’re forcing your anger on the other person.” Clearly, this is not a healthy approach when communicating with the person you love most. The most important thing to resolve conflict is to communicate healthily. Telling your partner clearly what they did to hurt you and how you would have preferred them to go about it will help your relationship tremendously. When you have great communication skills, you and your partner will be able to resolve conflict quickly and healthily.

When You Are Doing Long Distance

Good communication skills are incredibly important when a relationship has to be long-distance for whatever reason it may be. You may be having to work in different cities or be spending long periods with family away from your partner. Whatever the reason for doing long distances, it can cause strain on your relationship. If there is a lack of good communication, couples can become distant and feel disconnected from each other. Communication is very important when you cannot see the other person daily, weekly, or even longer. This is because you have to choose to communicate with the person consciously. Whereas when you are with them in person, it is much easier to communicate effectively.

When doing long distance with your partner, you must put in additional effort into your relationship. As cheesy as it may sound, good communication, through whatever medium, is the only way you can healthily maintain your relationship. A relationship is not something you can just check in on every once in a while and assume everything will be fine. The development of a relationship, whether it is a new relationship or an old relationship, can depend on the intention and thoroughness to which the people communicate.

They Are Your Best Friend

Investing in a relationship and figuring out your best communication in a relationship can reap so many benefits in your life. The person that you are in a relationship with is probably your best friend, your partner, and your go-to person. Many people consider their partner their best friend. In fact, according to Dr. John Gottman of the Gottman Institute, friendship is the foundation for a healthy relationship. In other words, a great friendship is necessary for a great relationship. But, the term “best friend” only means something if the relationship is developing as time goes on. Your partner can be your best friend, but if you do not communicate with them properly, you can fall out of touch, and your communication link can get lost. It is important to communicate with your partner, so you two can develop your friendship, which also improves your relationship.

Getting Deeper Than Surface Level

Some healthy communication is typically better than none at all. However, small talk can sometimes be nothing more than some entertainment or filling silence. Communication is a great tool to dive deep into someone and who they truly are. It can help you understand why they are the way that they are. You may have several surface-level friendships, but you should be on a deeper level with your significant other. At the end of the day, a surface-level relationship will not satisfy you. However, communication will help you have a more meaningful relationship.

It might be hard to open up about something that you keep locked up inside. Common barriers to opening up to people are caused by childhood trauma, eating disorders, previous unhealthy relationships, and more. However, you never know if your partner has gone through something similar and can help you with your journey. So, doing your best to open up about these things can be beneficial. This can improve your relationship overall and help you explore new sides of each other that you would not have found otherwise. If you feel that you have something blocking your ability to connect with others deeply, it is highly recommended you seek out counseling. A professional counselor, such as one from BetterHelp, can help you knock down any internal barriers you have so you can have a deep and meaningful relationship.

How To Better Communicate With Your Partner

Learning how to communicate with your partner better can take your relationship to a whole new level. It is important to note that every person communicates very differently. So, keep this in mind when exploring new methods of communication with your partner.

Learn Their Love Language

It may be beneficial to ask the person that you are in a relationship with what their love language is. Love languages could be an important factor to consider because it is directly correlated with communication. Someone’s love language could be words of affirmation. So, how you communicate plays a role in how you affirm someone. In this case, it would be verbally. Another method of communication is physical touch. If you act standoffish or distant, how will the other person feel? Learning how your partner likes to receive love and give love will help your relationship tremendously.

Form A Friendship With Your Partner

As mentioned above, friendship is the foundation of a satisfying romantic relationship. So, communicating and intentionally forming a relationship with your partner will be very beneficial. To form a relationship in the first place, feelings are generally processed and then communicated to ensure that both parties are on the same page. It could be difficult and confusing to navigate through a brand-new relationship if the other person cannot communicate where they are at. You cannot form a firm foundation on something unclear. It is important for both people, in the beginning, stages of a relationship, to define their goals, needs, and vision for their relationship. Even if everything is not written in stone, a general conversation could ensure that everything is heading in a good direction and flowing smoothly.

Remind Them That You Still Care

When in a relationship, it can be highly important to communicate that you still care about your significant other. This sounds like something that would be assumed; however, when life is going and going, expressing feelings and emotions can just get forgotten about or lost in the mix. It is of value to take a second to remind your significant other that you care for them and care about what happened during their day. Providing support is even more important if your partner is struggling with something such as joblessness, an eating disorder, or family problems. Even if you do not explicitly tell each other your feelings every single day, love or fondness could be shown through little acts of kindness. It is possible to “communicate” through the little things. This could include things like cooking their favorite meal for them, writing them a card, folding a load of laundry, or even buying their favorite snack for them at the grocery store.

Keep Up With Their Lives

To stay up to date with the happenings in your partner’s lives, both ends need to communicate things like how their day went, what events are coming up, or even what they had for lunch. These things do not sound pivotal at first glance. However, the little occurrences in someone’s life can add up and be a big deal. If the details get lost in the mix, your significant other might find it difficult to understand exactly how you feel. At the end of the day, the little things in life can make you who you are. Would you want your significant other to miss out on the little things that make you unique?

Learn Their Preferred Communication Methods

Preferred communication methods for different people can differ across the board. Mediums of communication could include in-person verbal speaking, texting, video calling, emailing, or even snail mail. Whichever method you enjoy should be expressed so that your significant other can communicate with you in a way that is pleasant for you. There are pros and cons to each method for sure. The communication link could be broken or be flowing at a slow speed if someone is distracted in their minds by other dilemmas, if they do not check their mail or phone, or if they just are not making a conscious effort to stay in the loop.

Verbal and nonverbal communication can play a large role in a relationship. Sure, your voice might be saying one thing, but if your body language indicates something else, mixed signals can be sent. It is important to be aware of the nonverbal types of communication. This could include things like the level of eye contact, facial expressions, posture, hand gestures, proxemics, and tone of voice. Sometimes you may unintentionally make a weird facial expression or keep your distance. Your partner could pick up on your out of the ordinary behavior or mixed messages.

Be A Good Listener

When communicating with your partner, try practicing active listening. Active listening is a soft skill in which you put all of your focus on your partner. According to the United States Institute of Peace, active listening can improve mutual understanding between people. This is very important in every relationship. Maybe you are communicating effectively and to the best of your ability, but your partner needs to work on their active listening skills. Communication is a two-way street with winding roads and potholes. When just one person is practicing active listening, conflict can be resolved much more slowly and less effectively. This is why both partners need to practice active listening in a relationship.

If you take a step back and think about yourself lately, are you listening to what others are saying to you? Are you just going through motions and getting from point A to point B? Asking your partner if you could improve on your communication could potentially be beneficial to your relationship. If you do get feedback from your partner or anyone else in your life that you are not an active listener, try to make improvements. As crazy and fast as life can feel, it is important to slow down and be present in your conversations.

Venting To Help Release Stress And Avoid Tension

Do you ever have a bad day and feel the need to pour your heart out to someone to help get it off your chest? Trusting the person that you are in a relationship with enough to pour out your stress to them shows them how much you trust them. Honest communications build higher levels of trust because they know what is going on in your life. Additionally, when you let them in on what is frustrating you in your life, they can feel secure that you are not upset with them. When people are in a bad mood or are sad about something, it is easy for their partners to worry. They are upset with them. Letting them in on how you are feeling can help them feel more secure in your relationship. Additionally, when you release your stress to someone, it can help you feel less bottled up inside and provide you with an avenue of relief.

Be Respectful To Your Partner

If there is ever something that you need to get off your chest, it could be a good idea to go about it calmly and respectfully. Being respectful while communicating can help the other person be more susceptible to hearing what you have to say. Even just acting respectfully in general communicates and shows that you do have some kind of level of feelings for that person. This could be romantically or just on a friendship level.

Avoid Sending Mixed Messages

Are you saying what you mean? It is important to relay exactly what you mean when you are in a relationship. Mixed messages are unclear communication and can cause a lot of confusion between people. Transparency helps mend tension or conflict because people can get down to the deeper levels of conversation and help them get to the point. When communicating with your partner, try to be as transparent as possible and avoid sending mixed messages. Being intentional about communicating clearly can improve your relationship greatly.

Communication In A Relationship

Hopefully, this article has helped give you some ideas on how to communicate effectively in your relationship, and has shown you how important communication in a relationship can be. At the end of the day, when both people in a relationship are being intentional about communicating effectively, your relationship will likely see great benefits. Remember to be patient about improving communication, as it is a learned skill. Communicating effectively does not happen overnight. So, be patient with yourself and your partner during this process.

Helpful mental health resources delivered to your inbox
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.