Women's Health

Don’t Just Say Anything…Say This

Communication, communication, communication—yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve heard it’s the key to a closer bond and all that. But before your eyes glaze over, know this: It’s also the number one predictor of relationship satisfaction, per a 2016 survey of more than 25,000 men and women in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy. So mastering the art of talking isn’t an empty trope—it’s the ticket to a happy union.

Sure, communicating can mean airing a grievance in a way that won’t make your partner recoil. But it also means regularly deploying words of kindness, of understanding, of humor, of playfulness. That all sounds logical, except that finding the perfect words to express how we feel—and get the results we want—isn’t necessarily intuitive.

Unless you’re clocking hours on the couples therapy couch, no one ever tells you what to say. “Sometimes we feel we’re conveying what we mean, but the message isn’t being received in the way we intended it,” says Eli Finkel, Ph.D.,. And it’s not just about getting the wording right, but paying more attention to context. The tone you use, and the circumstances in which you bring something up, can mean the difference between conversation and confrontation.

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