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Exercises for Communication in Couples

by
author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Exercises for Communication in Couples
A couple having an intimate conversation at home on the couch. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Overview

Communication is a vital part of any relationship, but it's especially important in love relationships. Whether you are in the beginning stages of a relationship or have enjoyed 30 years of marriage, a reminder of the right ways to communicate can help you keep the lines of communication open for a more satisfying union. Exercises for communication in couples can help you hone your skills so that communication comes more naturally to you and your partner.

Three and Three

In the "Three and Three" exercise, you take some time alone without your partner. Both of you retire to a quiet place and write out a list for the other person. The list will consist of three things that you love about your partner and three things you don't like. You'll then present your list to each other in a quiet and neutral setting. Instead of rejecting or feeling offended when your partner reads the three things he doesn't like, take them into consideration and thank him for his honesty. You'll both have some things you can work on, along with three things that you can feel proud of.

Positive Language

Positive language is universally more acceptable than negative language. Using negative language can make your partner feel as if she is being attack or accused. The next time you feel inclined to say something negative to your partner about her behavior, stop, and think of a more positive way to say it. Use "I" statements for a more effective approach, recommends the University of Maryland Health Center. Instead of complaining that you came home to a house she didn't clean up, tell her that you appreciate it when she keeps the home tidy and that it makes you feel more relaxed.

Prediction Method

A study performed by three universities and published in a 2006 issue of "Human Communication Research" found that couples often overestimated the similarities between how they would react to a situation compared to how their partner would react to a situation. Refrain from making assumptions by writing a few different situations on slips of paper and then predicting how your partner would react. It opens the door for discussion about feelings concerning certain problems that could arise in a marriage, like sickness, infidelity or mistrust.

I Feel Blank

You may sometimes have a difficult time expressing yourself to your partner. The "I Feel Blank" exercise allows you to state clearly the way you feel in certain circumstances. The B.C. Council for Families lists a number of typical, everyday occurrences for couples. You are urged to read aloud a variety of scenarios, like "When you surprise me," "when you come home late" or "when you help with the kids," and then follow with, "I feel --." You fill in the blank with your emotion when it occurs. This is an ideal strengthening exercise that can be practiced throughout the relationship as a communication refresher.

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