Simple, Healthy Phrases That Prove Communicating With Your Partner Doesn't Have To Be Difficult

Relationships aren't always easy. That's no secret. But it's also not a secret that a strong, healthy relationship is worth the effort. And at the heart of every good relationship is effective communication. With strong communication, you're able to cultivate the consistent give and take that builds mutual understanding, trust, and togetherness.

And it's this kind of connection that can help you weather any storm, from the inevitable conflicts that occur in any relationship to the mistakes that partners make to the simple stressors and frustrations of daily life. What is it, though, that makes communication within a relationship so essential? How do you build and maintain a healthy rapport with your partner? Turns out, it's not all that difficult when you know what you're doing and why.

This is especially true when you combine robust communication with deep listening. Listening deeply and communicating actively can help you build an enduring relationship that may well last a lifetime. And it all begins with a few healthy phrases to keep the lines of communication flowing and the bonds of affection growing. We'll show you some of the most effective phrases to help you connect and improve communication with your partner.

How are you feeling?

We live in a chaotic world. From the unwavering pressures of work to the incessant responsibilities of our home lives, it can feel as if the demand for our attention never ends. And then, of course, there's that needy little digital device seemingly affixed to your palm and always attracting your eyes like a magnet. And in the maelstrom that is our modern reality, it can be easy to take your partner for granted and simply assume they're okay and everything is status quo. But that can be a recipe for trouble if your partner is going through something and you fail to notice.

Taking the time to check in every day, making it a point to ask specifically how they are doing and feeling, doesn't just decrease the likelihood that you'll miss something important about your partner — it can also be a hugely important expression of your love.

And it's not just about their physical health. Asking your partner to share their feelings, whether positive or negative, is just as important — if not more so. They may have difficulty opening up at first, especially if they're not accustomed to sharing their emotions. But it will get easier with time, helping you to better understand and empathize with your partner. Even if your partner is not ready to share, at least you will have made the effort, which telegraphs your concern, compassion, and care. And that is a profoundly important way for partners to feel connected, even in challenging times.

What do you want/need?

It can be easy to assume that we automatically know what our partners want or need, especially if you've been together for a long time. But the reality is that people change — and so do circumstances. You can't simply take it as a given that you can anticipate your partner's hopes, dreams, and desires. You're not a mind reader, and your partner isn't an automaton. They're going to grow and evolve, just as you will. After all, change is a part of life. Resistance to change is both unhealthy and unfeasible.

But, sometimes, these changes aren't always easy to predict or prepare for. What makes this question truly beneficial is that it inspires sharing. The goal is both to hear and to be heard, to reciprocate by discussing your own wants and needs. And there's no better way to ensure that you and your partner are growing together rather than apart.

But the benefits of such a question don't end there. By asking — rather than telling — your partner what they need, you empower them to take the lead in understanding and defining their own lives. This allows you to provide support, guidance, and encouragement without being controlling or domineering. All too often, we don't take stock of our own lives. We allow inertia and habit to chart our trajectory. But when you ask your partner what they want and need, you inspire them to reflect on their happiness and well-being. There's no greater or more loving gift than that.

This is what I need from you

Just as it is critical to solicit (and actively listen to) your partner's needs, it's equally important to express your own feelings and desires. Your partner isn't a mind reader either, and it's unwise and unfair to expect them to be. After all, you wouldn't want to be blamed or resented for not always being able to predict what your partner is thinking, feeling, or wanting.

When you actively communicate your needs, you're not only going to have a better rapport with your partner, but you're also less likely to feel isolated, misunderstood, and uncared for. As we've already seen, for example, opening a dialogue about wants and needs can be crucial to bridging the gulf that too often develops as partners grow and change without cultivating strong bonds of communication. When you check in and share, you can negotiate a plan that ensures you're moving in the same direction, working together toward a future that you can both be excited about.

And there's another, broader benefit: When you share your feelings, no matter what they might be, your partner will know you in a way they couldn't if you kept your heart and soul in a locked box. If you want to feel seen, you have to first show yourself.

Thank you

Expressing and practicing gratitude is essential in every relationship, but it's especially important in a romantic partnership. Partners need to feel valued and appreciated by their loved ones in order to maintain that critical sense of connectedness. After all, relationships take work, but no one's going to put in the effort if there isn't an expected payoff at the end.

A simple thank you can go a long way in making your partner feel recognized and, above all, in making them feel needed. We all want to feel as if we have an important place in the world, especially in the life of the person we love the most. When you make it a point to say thanks, you're also making it a point to show your partner you value and need them.

Best of all, the benefits of expressing gratitude aren't just for your partner alone. Showing gratitude also changes you and your perspective. The more you learn to recognize and give thanks for all the ways that your partner enhances your life, both large and small, the more you will cherish your relationship — and that's key if you want a partnership that lasts.

Help me understand

Let's face it: There's no such thing as a perfect relationship. Conflict is inevitable, and the more you care about a person, the higher the stakes. And, often, the more you love someone, the more intense the emotions when conflicts do arise. But there is a way to stop the spiral before a disagreement becomes all-out warfare, inflicting wounds that may scar your relationship forever.

The answer is to stop arguing and start active listening. One of the most significant causes of conflict in a relationship is the inability to understand the other person's point of view. Asking your partner to help you understand their perspective can be a constructive way to resolve a dispute or, at the very least, to cultivate empathy in a challenging moment.

The key is to pause, take a breath, and hear the other person out. You may never come to an agreement on the issue, but the odds are good that you will at least be able to concede the rationale of their position and that, at a minimum, you will be able to appreciate their viewpoint. And that makes it easier to end the conflict and agree to disagree.

Let's work this out together

As we've already seen, every relationship will go through its rough patches. When you're close to someone, conflicts will arise. Trying to avoid them will only exacerbate the problem. However, conflict can actually be a positive thing for your relationship if you approach it in a healthy and constructive manner. More specifically, by taking a problem-solving approach to conflict, what was once a point of dispute between you can become a catalyst for growth in your relationship.

In essence, what you're doing when you approach a conflict from a collaborative, problem-solving perspective is shifting your paradigm for disagreements. No longer are disagreements seen as points of contention over which a battle is waged. You're no longer trying to "win" at your partner's expense. Rather, you're engaged in a mutual — and mutually supportive — effort to come to a resolution together.

Such an approach to conflict is designed to preserve the sense of connectedness within a relationship while at the same time fostering your growth as a couple. After all, you can't work out a problem together if you aren't willing to negotiate, compromise, and deal with matters maturely if and when some things don't go your way.

I was wrong

No one likes to admit when they're wrong. In fact, for many of us, learning to gracefully acknowledge and atone when you've made a mistake is the hardest part of "adulting." It's a skill that some people never learn. But the unavoidable reality is that you're only human, and sooner or later, you're going to flub up. And that's okay, provided you're willing to admit your error and learn from your mistakes.

The first step comes when you acknowledge you're wrong and sincerely apologize for your actions. That's not always easy, though, and it rarely happens overnight. A sincere apology requires you to dig deeper. It's not about simply saying the words — it's about experiencing genuine remorse. And that requires you to understand and empathize with your partner's experience.

Once you are able to show your partner genuine remorse and that you truly regret the pain you've caused them, you can begin the process of healing and rebuilding trust. And that means that mistakes, which are inevitable and human, don't have to become rifts in your relationship.

I forgive you

You're not the only one who's going to make mistakes in your relationships. Your partner will too. That's a certainty. And that means that, at some point, you'll need to forgive just as you have been forgiven. Holding a grudge is like a cancer eating away at your relationship. Far too often, a grudge becomes an unconscious defense mechanism, a way we protect ourselves from future pain after we've been hurt.

But there's also frequently a darker motive. Grudges can become a dysfunctional form of power, a cudgel that the offended party wields against their offender. This can often be a subconscious way to exploit the other person's guilt in order to manipulate and control them. Whatever the cause, though, it's always destructive for the relationship. Sooner or later, they're going to get tired of feeling guilty — and you're going to get tired of playing the victim and punisher.

The important thing to remember about forgiveness, though, is that it doesn't mean the transgression has been excused or forgotten. It doesn't mean that what happened was okay. But it does mean that you're no longer going to allow yourself, your partner, or your relationship to be ruled by the act. It means you're moving on. No, healing won't happen overnight, and trust won't be restored immediately, but making the decision to genuinely accept their apology, and speaking that decision aloud, is an essential first step.

You're awesome

Remember how starry-eyed you and your partner were when you first fell in love? Chances are, the compliments flowed like water between you. But how long has it been since you gave your loved one a compliment? When did you last moon over your beloved?

Praising your partner about something specific, even if it's as simple as how they load the dishwasher or make the morning coffee, can revive those butterflies you felt in the first throes of your romance. Ultimately, it boils down to gratitude and mindfulness. Learning to praise your partner again requires you to be present in the moment and notice those little things you've gotten used to.

But noticing is only the first step. You also have to remember how to cherish those fine details. Praise, like criticism, is learned — and perfected — through practice. So rather than criticizing that your partner didn't soak the skillet as soon as dinner was finished, celebrate that they had a delectable meal on the table by the time you got home from a hard day at work.

I'm in this

When you were single, you probably spent most of your time dreaming about finding a partner to share your life with. You probably yearned for the sense of stability and certainty that comes with true commitment. And, more likely than not, your partner once longed for the same thing. That's why, when it comes to building healthy communication with your loved one, it's especially important to remind them that your commitment hasn't faltered, even when times are tough.

This is also why the words "divorce," "separation," or "breakup" should be the "Voldemort" of your relationship. It should be the word-not-to-be-spoken between you because the less secure you and your partner are about your relationship, the easier it is to turn elsewhere for safe harbor. On the other hand, when your partner knows that you are in it for the long haul, they're far more likely to make the effort themselves. After all, it's easier to stick things out when both partners are pulling in the same direction.

Similarly, by affirming your commitment, you're not just reassuring your partner of your intentions — you're also shoring up your own resolve. We move where our attention is focused. If your attention is fixed on seeing it through, working out your issues, and preserving your relationship, then that is what is likely to happen. If, on the other hand, your focus is on separation — or the possibility of separation — it's going to be much easier to drift in that direction.

Let's play

When we talk about communication in a relationship, we tend to focus on how communication helps (or harms) relationships when problems arise. But the fact is that productive communication is critical all the time, not just through the rough patches. And one of the most important ways to make the good times even better is to focus on play.

So share your day. Tell stories about what went on. Collect jokes and end each evening with a laugh. Above all, do fun things together and build memories you can talk about later. Learn things together and discuss the things you found interesting, surprising, or just plain weird.

The key, ultimately, is to be open, excited, and engaged. Talk and listen. Explore and share. Find the spark of interest that was kindled when you first met and fell in love, when your romance made everything seem new, fresh, and wonderful. The more you talk, the more you will find to talk about. The chances are pretty good that you'll find yourselves talking late into the night, just like you did when you first started dating. And you might even find your exciting new boyfriend or girlfriend again in the familiar partner you share your life with today.