7 ways to communicate better with your partner

Posted at 02/06/2014 9:38 PM | Updated as of 02/06/2014 9:38 PM

MANILA – Communication can either make or break most relationships.

In an interview on the radio dzMM program “Sakto” on Thursday, family and relationship expert Joji Racelis shared seven tips on how partners can more effectively connect with each other.

1. Keep your voice soft

Talking to your partner in a softer voice – as opposed to shouting or sounding sarcastic – will help a lot in getting your point across without the unnecessary drama, said Racelis.

“Nakakatulong siya kasi kapag malakas ang boses mo, it can be really threatening [for some] lalo na kung sensitive ‘yung pinag-uusapan. Tapos ‘pag pagalit ‘yung dating, magiging defensive ‘yung usapan so they put up their walls,” she said.“Kapag mas malambing ‘yung boses, mas madaling [makipag-usap], hindi nakakatakot,” she added. “So don’t yell [at your partner] o mabagsik ang dating.”Racelis said the key is to make your voice sound “natural with very mild modifications.”

“You have to regulate it pero natural pa rin. Kasi kung ‘yung natural mo hindi naman malambing tapos bigla kang naging malambing, para ka namang plastic. So it’s best to really adhere to your personality with very mild modifications,” she said.

2. Always make him/her feel important

Competition between partners is common, especially if they belong to the same field of work. Men, for instance, tend to feel insecure about themselves if their wives or girlfriends have a higher income, noted Racelis.

Given this, she said partners must be more sensitive and make it a point to highlight each other’s talents and skills.

“Look for areas where your partner excels. So maybe in terms of earnings hindi masyado, but he or she makes them feel safe or he or she is very good with the children,” she said. “Affirmation sa pareho ay important.”

3. Don’t make accusations, just say what you feel

There is a huge difference between saying what you feel and making an accusation, said Racelis, who stressed that the former can cause a lot of harm to a relationship.

“Never make accusations because that is painful,” she said.

When asked to suggest a way to better express your feelings without hurting your partner unnecessarily, Racelis said: “Like when you say, ‘you don’t love me,’ naga-accuse ka. But if you say, ‘I feel like you don’t love me’ or ‘I feel like you don’t respect me,’ malaking kaibahan ‘yun kasi hindi mo dine-declare that it’s a fact.”

4. Make sure actions are consistent with intentions

It’s one thing to want the best for your partner, and it’s another thing for you to give it to him or her, said Racelis.

She said some people do not realize that they are becoming too harsh to their partners because they are blinded by their good intentions.

“For example, my intention is to correct you para ‘di ka mapahiya sa iba, so I have good intentions. Pero minsan ang dating sa partner ay naminintas ka lang. E di nasasayang ‘yung good intention,” she said.

5. Leave your stress at the door

Do not turn your partner into a stress ball when your day did not go well, said Racelis, who stressed that loved ones should be treated with respect.

“We have to protect our partner from our moods. Kung inis tayo or stressed tayo, hindi siya ‘yung punching bag o pagbubuntunan ng stress. We don’t do that to our friends or to other people. Let’s not do it to our partners or members of our family,” she said.

Racelis went on to suggest a way of leaving stress and bad vibes at the door.

“Some people have a very nice ritual na bago sila pumasok ng bahay, they touch something and say a phrase like, ‘iiwanan ko ang lahat ng inis ko rito at hindi ko dadalhin sa bahay.’ It helps. It’s not magic, it just makes you aware na hindi ko ‘to dapat gawin,” she said.

6. Learn to listen, understand

Racelis said a good communicator is a person who can both deliver a message and understand what the other person feels.

She made the statement as some couples tend to focus too much on making their own voices heard.

“A good communicator does not mean somebody na magaling magsalita o magaling ang Ingles niya. Magaling lang siya mag-express. Ang communication is for you to be able to deliver a message and at the same time understand what the person is feeling. Hindi lang ‘yung, ‘o eto, nasabi ko na, bahala ka sa buhay mo.’ You have to be able to be sensitive enough na, ‘ano ba ‘yung dating sa tao? Natulungan ko ba siya? Na-address ko ba ‘yung issue niya?’ Dapat alam mo ‘yun.

“Ang nagpapalakasan ng boses, ang goal nila is not to communicate, their goal is to win an argument. But if you are dealing with a loved one, your goal is not to win – it’s to understand the other person,” she said.

7. Know when to stop

There are arguments that need to be settled before going to bed, and there are issues that cannot be resolved in one go, said Racelis.

Given this, she said couples should know when to take a break and cool their heads.

“Sometimes ‘pag masyado nang heated ‘yung argument, it is okay to call for a timeout, na ‘parang nagkakainitan na ata tayo masyado, baka pwedeng bukas na lang natin ito pag-usapan,’” she said.Racelis also discouraged couples from bringing back past issues.“Stick to the current issue. Wala nang ungkatan,” she said.