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Communication in Couples Leads to Relationship Satisfaction

Author:NeuroGym Team

Communicating About Work Stress Is Important for Couples

No matter how good your relationship is there will always be stress, whether it’s from work, family life, or anything else, something will always come along to cause friction. This is why communication in couples is so important, and has been proven to be an important indicator of life and relationship satisfaction.

The Study

A new study published in Current Psychology assessed the satisfaction in life and relationships of 149 couples in Romania. In the couples studied, both people were gainfully employed and earning a regular paycheck. The study was looking at how the quality of communication about work impacted each couple’s satisfaction.

The study found that it was vitally important for couples to discuss stress at work. The results showed that it was important to communicate about work because it allowed each person in the relationship to understand what goes on in their partner’s life and, in turn, support them.

Don’t Leave Work Stress at the Door

So, while you may not want to burden your partner by making them feel like they have to be your therapist, the clear takeaway from this study is that you shouldn’t be hiding anything from your partner that causes you stress. We can’t push our stress down forever; eventually, it will come out.

This is particularly important in long-term relationships. Sure, when we first start a new romantic journey, we’re in the honeymoon phase where we try to put our best, most well-adjusted and perfect foot forward. But this phase can’t last forever, and nor should it. While it’s nice being in the perfect stage of a relationship where everything is like a romantic fantasy, it’s necessary to come back down to Earth at some point. You and your partner are both real people with real lives and real problems. It’s important to share these with each other.

A toxic work environment can be a major cause of conflict, both in the workplace and in outside relationships. And even in a generally nice work environment, there will still be bad days and plenty of stress. We spend roughly one third of our lives in work, which means there is a lot of potential time for problems.

If you don’t tell your partner what’s causing you a problem or making you feel upset, they won’t be able to understand. While we often think of our significant others as our soulmates, they aren’t mind readers. If you avoid discussing things that have caused you stress in your outside life, your partner can’t help you get through it.

Communication in Couples

As we’ve already established, your partner can’t read your mind, so it’s important to clearly communicate. There is no point waiting for your partner to guess what problem it is you’re dealing with. You need to explain to them what’s causing you stress; whether it’s work, something they did, or something else entirely. 

Timing is important when sharing your stressors because your partner also has a lot going on in their life. It’s a good idea to wait until you are both in a good state of mind to discuss whatever is going on. This simply involves asking your partner if it’s a good time to talk about an issue. Sometimes, you may have to wait a little while so you can both communicate in a healthy way. If one of you is in a bad headspace, avoid discussing emotionally charged issues.

It’s really important that you practice active listening. It’s not helpful if you’re just waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can jump in. Active listening is when you’re hearing what the other person is saying, engaging with what they’re saying, and showing them you have heard them. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, it just means you understand where they’re coming from. But what if you don’t understand? Well, then you need to ask them to explain what they mean. It may feel unusual and overly formal, and maybe even like you’re talking to a coworker, but active listening is a key part of ensuring conflicts don’t escalate.

Here are some tips on how you can practice active listening:

  • Look at the person and try to make eye contact.
  • Don’t interrupt; let them finish what they’re saying.
  • When you’re finished speaking, give the other person time to think about what their response is.
  • Show the other person you’ve heard them by restating what they said.
  • Ask them open questions like “how did that make you feel?” to show you’re interested.
  • Reflect on what they’ve said to you.

Check in Regularly

For your partner and yourself as individuals, and as a collective in a relationship, it’s important that you regularly take stock of how everything is, both externally and in your relationship.

An Environment of Understanding and Support

But how can you and your partner make sure you are both free to discuss external stressors in your life? This requires setting up an environment that’s understanding, nonjudgemental, and supportive. Emotional safety is important in any relationship.

The first thing to do is remember that just because there’s a conflict in your relationship doesn’t mean it’s you versus them. A relationship is a partnership, and you have to work together to solve issues that arise. Relationships can be ruined when one person can’t put their ego aside and accept that neither of you is perfect. 

It’s important that your relationship is a safe space for you both to discuss things that are bothering you. When your partner is struggling, don’t avoid them; part of being in a relationship is showing support for each other through difficult times.

Quality Time

While it’s important to discuss work and the stress that comes with it, it is also important to eventually leave those worries aside and focus on home life. This doesn’t mean you leave work stress at the door, it just means that once you’ve both spoken about it, you move on. It’s important to understand when you’ve spoken enough about something, especially when it’s negative. It can be draining to have to constantly hear about bad things, so once an issue has been discussed, leave it behind.

It’s important in relationships that you set aside time to enjoy each other’s company in a positive way, too, so that you can express your love. In a life full of work, chores, and socializing, it’s important that you have space in your schedule for investing in your relationship. Otherwise, you can grow resentful of each other and drift apart.

Depending on whether or not you have kids or how many other things you need to do throughout the day, it may seem hard to choose a time where the two of you can just be together. But for something as important as a relationship, it’s crucial that you make the time. Even if it’s just setting aside 20 minutes where you enjoy each other’s company, that alone will strengthen your relationship.

But what should you do during that time? Well, for starters, no stressful stuff. This is the time for a nice chat and showing your love for one another. A good way of doing this is choosing three things you love about the other person and sharing that with them. They can be the smallest of things, but it will show that you care. Talk to each other about what you love in your relationship. Positive words have a lot of power, as do negative ones, so use this time to stay positive and use active listening. At some point in the day, it’s important to step away from external stressors and enjoy each other.

Active listening

Tips For Spending Quality Time With Your Partner

  • If you live together, go to bed at the same time. Even if one of you has to get up again, it will give the two of you a nice intimate moment to end your day by cuddling in bed and talking.
  • Choose a show to watch together. We live in a world with an abundance of streaming services and TV channels to choose from. Find a series or make time to watch a movie each week so you can bond over it. It could be something you love, or better yet, something you both think is so bad it’s good!
  • Prepare meals together. We all need to eat and sometimes cooking can feel like a chore. So make it fun by sharing the time and cooking together.
  • Schedule the time. Remember, it won’t happen automatically; you need to set time aside each week to spend with your significant other.
  • Put the phone away. You don’t need to hear from anybody else right now. This is time for just the two of you. Texts and social media can wait, enjoy each other.

In Summary

There will also be conflict in relationships, whether it is coming from an external source or from the relationship itself. Remember to discuss things that cause you stress, including work. Communication is a make-or-break part of any relationship, so practice active listening and regularly check in with your partner. Remember to also spend quality time together where you can have fun, enjoy each other’s company, and put the stress aside!

About The Author

NeuroGym Team

NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.

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