4 tips for people having trouble communicating with their partner

By Liz Paul, Psychotherapist & Counsellor

Most of us aren’t born with great communication skills.  They need to be developed.  And here are 4 skills I teach my clients who need help to communicate more effectively with their partner when an issue arises:

  1. Try to understand rather than give advice

Most times, the goal of a conversation with your partner should be to understand their point of view, the issue, and how it makes your partner feel.  Try not to go into problem-solving mode as this can result in your partner shutting down the conversation.

  1. Let your partner know how you feel

If you focus on communicating why you feel a certain way about an issue, rather than on the detail of the issue, you will have a much deeper conversation, and your partner will better understand who you are and how you respond to issues.

  1. Use open-ended questions

Help your partner communicate more effectively by getting them to explore how they feel about an issue.  Examples include:  ‘How do you feel about that?’ or ‘What’s the worst case scenario here?’ or ‘How is that going to affect you?’.

  1. Express empathy

Show your partner their feelings about an issue are valid by saying you understand why they feel as they do and it makes sense to you.  Of course, that doesn’t mean your feelings match your partner’s, but that’s okay because both your feelings are valid given you both have your own perception about the issue.


What are the issues for which most people seek assistance?

  • Relationship break-ups
  • Constantly fighting with your partner
  • Loss of intimacy with your partner
  • Communication problems with your partner or child
  • Difficulty parenting toddlers or teens
  • Pre-marriage counselling
  • A child misbehaving
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Family counselling
  • Wanting to separate from their partner amicably
  • Helping the children cope after a relationship break-up
  • Trouble staying in relationships
  • HSC stress for students and their families
  • Relationship commitment issues
  • Problems at work
  • Couple counselling
  • Difficulties with step-children
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Problems with in-laws
  • Substance addiction
  • Facing major life changes
  • Making new life choices
  • Relationship counselling