We all know that talking to your partner and being open about how you feel is important.
But it can be surprisingly easy to let making time to talk regularly fall by the wayside — especially with the demands of a busy working life or looking after children.
Why is talking every day important?
A couple of reasons.
Firstly, it allows you to talk about anything that might be bothering you. Having the space to go over anything that you might be finding difficult —either in the relationship or in life in general — means you’ll be able to express yourself and work together to address the problem.
Without doing this, things can accumulate and create tension. It can be tempting to simply try and sweep things under the carpet to keep the peace. But developing an ability to talk things over in a positive and productive manner (and without the conversation turning into an argument) means you’ll be able to adjust to the inevitable challenges that will come your way during your time as a couple.
Communicating in this way is a skill that comes more naturally to some people than others, and it can be hard to start if you haven’t had much practice. But you can learn. If you’d like tips on talking, check out our communication tips to try with your partner. This short list of ideas will help you to express yourself in a way that is more likely to lead to understanding.
Secondly, talking regular is important, because it’s also quite simply a great way of feeling close to one another. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to feel connected to your partner.
Talking together doesn’t have to mean going over really big stuff — sometimes it can just mean hanging around together and enjoying each other’s company. It can mean sharing a joke, talking about how the day has gone, or making plans for the weekend.
What’s important is that you’re spending time together, without interruptions, to be close, and simply enjoy being in a couple.
How do we create the opportunity to talk every day?
As we’ve said, it can be easy to fall out of the habit of talking regularly. When you’ve got busy lives or stressful jobs, talking can feel like one of the things that ‘can go’ —a bit of a luxury that you can always make time for later.
But the danger with this approach is that you simply never make time later — and any damage done to your relationship in the meantime, you aren’t able to address, because you’re spending so little time in each other’s company.
So – if you’ve fallen out of the habit of talking, the best solution tends to be to make new habits. If you can find a way to build chatting together into your day, then, before too long, it will begin to feel much more organic, and be something you do simply as a matter of course.
Instead of trying to re-arrange your day completely, you may find it’s useful to simply adjust your schedules a little — or take better advantage of downtime that you might use for other things.
For example, if you work nearby each other, you might like to take lunch together a couple of times a week. Or if you’re always eating breakfast on the move, you might get up 15 minutes earlier so you can sit down together and talk about what you’re up to that day. If find you’re simple watching TV together after putting the kids to bed, you might like to take 30 minutes just to talk together. You might like to take the time to chat before falling asleep – ‘pillow talk’ can be a great way of catching up.
How do I tell my partner I want to talk more?
If you feel you and your partner could do more to feel connected, then you could express this to your partner and try to find a way to address the situation together.
Again, while it’s tempting to simply let things be, if you feel like there is a genuine need that’s not currently being met, it’s important to be open and honest about this.
In counselling, we often talk about ‘inviting’ someone to do something, instead of telling them. When you ‘invite’ someone to do something, you’re still giving them the autonomy to decide for themselves – and, as such, they’re less likely to react defensively or feel you’re having a go at them.
It can be useful to approach any conversations on the topic of talking with this idea in mind. Try inviting your partner to talk about what’s happening – without telling them that things ‘need to change’. This is much more likely to produce a positive result, and not be interpreted as nagging. Again, our communication tips can help with this.
You may find that, once you start to make moves towards talking regularly again, it soon becomes second nature. Often, it’s the first step that’s the hardest.
What if we never talk?
If you feel like you simply never connect with each other and things have been this way for a while, you might need a little bit of outside help to get things kick-started again.
It’s in situations like this that counselling can be really helpful. Your counsellor will give you both the opportunity to express yourself and help you think about ways to reconnect. They can help you talk about how you got to this point in the first place and to explore any issues that might have contributed.
Your counsellor won’t rush you into anything, tell you what to do or take sides. They’ll simply listen, and help to facilitate you and your partner having a productive and honest conversation.
You can talk to a Relate Counsellor online for free with our Live Chat service or find a Relate counsellor near you.