Communication Exercises for Couples Who Can't Afford Counseling
Communication is a huge part of every relationship, and can really make or break romantic relationships. It’s so important to know how/be able to communicate your feelings and needs to a partner, while being receptive to their feelings and needs as well. Communication breakdowns can lead to anything from feeling neglected and alone, to not being satisfied in the bedroom.
If you feel like your relationship is struggling due to communication problems, but you and your partner can’t spend the money or time to go to professional counseling, you should check out some of the following communication exercises:
Going on walks
If you’re feeling disconnected from your partner, or like you don’t spend enough quality time together, it can be fun to schedule togetherness that’s free of distractions like phones, social media, emails and tv. Going on a walk one-on-one can be a great way to carve out some distraction free time as a couple. Sometimes breakdowns in communication are due to not spending enough time together. Afterall, if you’re not spending quality time as a couple, you don’t have time to talk things over. Going on walks can encourage more open communication and allow you and your partner much needed space to express yourselves to one another.
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Reading a book together
If you ever find that you and your partner struggle finding new things to talk about, or even if you are just looking for an activity to do with one another, it can be fun to read a book together as a couple. Finding a book that you both are interested in may be a little difficult, but there are plenty of couple’s reading lists posted online that you are your partner can peruse to get some ideas. Reading a book together can provide you with new conversation topics, and can allow you to explore new ideas as a couple. Sometimes it’s easier to analyze situations in books than it is to analyze what’s going on in your relationship. Having conversations about fictional conflicts and struggles can inspire you to address these problems in real life. It can be fun to involve other couples in this process, creating a couples book club can inspire even more open and different discussions.
Doing something spontaneous for each other
The beginning stages of relationships are often characterized with doing nice things for your partner out of the blue. Whether it’s a nice text during the work day or a small present, these things show your partner that you are thinking of them and care about them. These small things often fall by the wayside as people get more and more comfortable in relationships. Or maybe just as you and your partner get involved and busy with other things.
Doing cute spontaneous things for your partner, without any expectation of reciprocation is a great way to show that you care about them without verbal communication. A lot of people identify with giving/receiving gifts as a love language, and it’s possible that’s your partner’s preferred way to give or receive love. If that is the case, it’s extra important to keep up with these small spontaneous acts so that your partner feels loved and supported by you.
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Set aside specific nights/times for intimacy
Intimacy is a super important part of any romantic relationship, and can be considered a form of communication aside from verbal communication. If you find that you and your partner are in a dry spell (due to business or a period of distance or anything else) it can be helpful to schedule in intimate time together. This may feel a little prescribed at first, afterall scheduling intimacy often doesn’t come off as super sexy....but it can also give you something to look forward to during a busy week. Making time for intimacy, even if it’s not sex, is critical to maintaing a happy relationhsip. Even if you and your partner are being intimate regularly, it can be fun to schedule in intimate time during a time you’re not used to. Do you normally have sex at night? Pencil in some intimate time in the morning! Cultivating your intimate and sexual relationship as a couple will make you feel closer, which can inspire you to communicate more openly about your feelings and emotions.
Answering a series of harmless questions
Who doesn’t love a game of 20 questions? Sometimes life gets hectic and we forget to check-in with our partners. Getting out of the routine of asking things like “how was your day”, and “are you feeling supported” can cause real communication breakdowns in your relationship. If you are out of the pattern of asking these types of questions, it can seem a bit redundant at first, but will become more and more natural as time goes on.
You don’t need to get into the nitty gritty communication on a daily basis, and you by no means need to run through a list of twenty entire questions, just make sure to check-in with your partner frequently to engrain good communication in your relationship. If you are able to communicate about things frequently, things are less likely to build and become a significant problem. Also, if you get comfortable talking openly about harmless questions, you will feel more comfortable coming to your partner about bigger things.
If you and your partner have gone through these exercises on your own, and still feel like communication is a problem for you as a couple, you should consider looking into apps like Relish. Relish is a relationship coaching app that uses quizzes and partner profiles to help you understand and work through your relationship problems. Including communication problems! Relish pairs you with a personal relationship coach that can help you and your partner set specific goals to improve your relationship. Sometimes relationship problems really can’t be navigated without the help of an expert.
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