How to improve communication in a relationship

In this article I will teach you how to improve communication in your relationship by learning how to discuss your vulnerabilities, how to set boundaries, how to listen to criticism and how to apologise.

A great amount of suffering could be avoided if we could be more like children. Unfortunately, relationships are not simple and there are issues that need to be discussed, not ignored.

Speaking wisely about most difficult subjects is an important trait that most people don’t have. Clarifying, asking questions and discussing sensitive issues are often dropped or if spoken, they are not heard.

Conflicts and fights bring only pain in your relationship and no opportunity to get close with your partner.

Sometimes voicing your thoughts and feelings can make it less likely for the other person to really hear and understand what you are trying to communicate.

When you deal with a difficult situation or person, you need to use a strategy for communication and learn how to take wise decision about how, when and what to say.

However, feeling insulted, angry, hurt, frustrated or desperate makes people react spontaneous and communicate in a way their message is not heard and understood.


Understanding the stages of love

“Falling out of love is chiefly a matter of forgetting how charming someone is.”- Iris Murdoch

When people are in love, their differences are exciting and bring passion and deep feelings to their relationship. They ignore red flags, convinced their love will eliminate any problem these differences might bring to their relationship.

The infatuation stage makes people blind to real and potential issues and problems. However, this stage can’t last forever and it is usually determined by your levels of endorphins in our body. Read more about the 3 stages of love here.

Having ended the infatuation stage, you observe more and more things that you don’t like about your partner. Behaviours that you wouldn’t consider a problem before are starting to question your relationship.

How to improve communication in a relationship


Communicating vulnerabilities

“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”- Paulo Coelho

When you discuss your vulnerabilities with your partner, it is important to trust that they will not deny, minimise your pain or use the sensitive information against you.

Lacking trust to share feelings in relationships can lead to a choice of staying silent and pretending everything is okay. Silence protects from fear or anxiety regarding your partner’s reaction, but long term will lead to loneliness or resentment.

Vulnerabilities cannot be denied without denying your capability for joy and intimacy. Hiding your own vulnerabilities in order to protect your partner, will bring more pain to both of you than being honest about how you feel.

When people are hurt, they respond with either anger or silence. Having a clam attitude whilst expressing exactly what you want to say can help you get your point across easier.

However, as good as it sounds, this is one of the hardest thing to achieve. When emotions are high, people become critical, defensive and reactive.


Communicating boundaries

”When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.”- Brene Brown

Clarifying your own boundaries with your partner is important for effective communication in the relationship. This preserves your own well-being and integrity.

The first essential step in clarifying your own limits with your partner is self-knowledge. It is important to know exactly what you want and how much you are willing to compromise for the relationship.

Self-knowledge should be re-evaluated and changed according to what you experience in life. You can re-evaluate and change your limits and desires anytime it is necessary for yourself or for your relationship.

Only when you are clear in your mind and heart about your position, you can find the courage to speak and challenge your partner.

When your pain of staying in the current situation becomes greater than leaving the relationship, only then you can speak your mind without reservations, fear or anxiety regarding your partner’s reaction.

Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work as it might be too late to reconstruct yourself in the relationship and ultimately choose to leave.

If properly discussed with your partner instead of avoided, your honest contemplation about leaving the relationship could improve and bring the necessary changes to your relationship before it is too late.


How to improve communication in a relationship


Refraining from criticism

”People tend to criticise their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.”- Gary Chapman

No one values criticism that doesn’t come from a place of love and respect.

When partners are angry in the couple, they find it hard to be their best self and they believe the solution is for the other person to change.

Refraining from criticism and bringing a positive attitude in the relationship can determine more change than criticism will ever do.

Defensiveness is as damaging for the relationship as criticism is. It is a reactionary response that implies your partner is to blame. It comes from a place of lack of listening and understanding your partner.

By deciding not to change yourself, you will keep the relationship in the same place or you will bring it in a worse place.

It is hard to feel empathy and have positive feelings towards your partner when you believe they are in the wrong. However, by forcing yourself to do so you will create change and bring more positivity in your relationship.

Preventing negativity to get out of control is the key to a successful relationship. It is easy to find yourself in a continuous blaming cycle and it is hard to find the means to break the cycle.

When people are angry and resentful towards their partner, they stop trying to make any effort to make them happy.

Moreover, the longer couples are together, the more they forget to work on their relationship and establish a loving connection.

Start re-thinking what your partner wants and desires to be happy, what gestures warm their heart and what will break the blaming cycle.

It is extremely difficult to listen to your partner when you are being accused for their pain. You are looking for inaccuracies and exaggerations in order to defend yourself from the criticism.

In order to change the blaming cycle, you need to listen to them without judging and without the intent to reply.



“Apologies aren’t meant to change the past, they are meant to change the future.”– Kevin Hancock

An apology is not only beneficial for the receiver. Apologising can restore a sense of well-being and integrity for the person who was in the wrong.

When you fight with your partner and they apologise, what counts the most is the behaviour that follows.

An apology can be easily forgotten if after the apology you engage in the same behaviour. It is important after the apology to do whatever it is necessary to rebuild trust.

Arguments are never solved between couples when the behaviour of the partner that was in the wrong remains unchanged.

How to improve communication in a relationship


Final thoughts

I hope this article taught you how to improve the communication in your relationship. Learning to communicate difficult feelings, expressing your vulnerabilities, setting boundaries, accepting criticism and apologising are the cornerstone of healthy relationships.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer them.

All the best,


  (Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)

For counselling and coaching appointments scan the QR code or press here.

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8 thoughts on “How to improve communication in a relationship”

  1. Hi Ioana,

    This is a very important article for me, my girlfriend and a lot of couples from all over the world. It is very eye opening to me and I have learned that I need to listen a lot more when it comes to our communication. I have a strong personality and can come across a bit overpowering at times, and I need to take a step back and refrain from time to time. We are both very passionate people and sometimes can’t see things from the other’s point of view. So I think we both need to empathise with each other a bit more.

    I’m so pleased I came across this, and I am going to share it with my girlfriend and see if we can use some of your techniques to help with our relationship. I will let you know what we both think when we discuss this topic together.

    Thank you for sharing another great article and keep up your amazing work.

    All the best,


    • Hi Tom,

      Thank you for your comment. I am pleased to see that you are going to share this article with your girlfriend and apply the knowledge to your relationship. Having empathy towards each other and taking time to listen and understand each other will definitely improve the communication in your relationship. Please keep me updated of your progress.

      Wish you all the best,

  2. Thank you for this fantastic article. As one half of a couple who has happily been together for 30 years I can certainly attest to the validity of your suggestions. Communication is key. We have found that it is best to deal with situations as they arise rather than letting them fester, that only leads to an explosive argument and hurt feelings for both partners. We work together to achieve our goals in life and this has made us stronger. We also take time to play, go sailing, rock climbing, hiking, camping, bicycling. Just getting out and doing things together in a playful manner is important and we find we have become each others best friend. I find it sad that in today’s world so many couples give up as soon as they hit a little rough patch. Try remembering what initially attracted you to the person and think about the qualities you really like about them and soon the situation doesn’t seem so bad.

    • Hi Deb,

      Thank you for your comment. I am pleased to see that you can relate to the information in this article. I agree with you, discussing the situations as they arise is an effective way to avoid explosive arguments and ultimately ending up hurting your partner.

      All the best,

  3. First of all, great advice. I like your outlook on communication in relationships and I am definitely going to apply this to strengthen relationships with my loved ones. Secondly, I like those quotes you have inserted in this post. The last one about importance of apology by Kevin Hancock is definitely my favourite. Thanks for sharing this post and keep up the good work!

    • Hi Ivan,

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to see that you enjoyed reading my article and decided to use the advice to strengthen your relationships. Please keep me updated on your progress.

      Kind regards,

  4. Proper communication is the key to every successful relationship and it’s true that sometimes people react differently when they are angry and you may find that at the end of the day, they’ve destroyed even more. When I’m not on good terms with my partner, I decide to sleep or get some fresh air and when I’ve cooled down, then we can talk about the issue. What is important is to always fight the problem, not ourselves. Anyway, thanks for sharing this important tips about how to improve communication in a relationship

    • Hi Kokontala,

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to see that you enjoyed reading my article. I hope to see you back here soon.

      Kind regards,



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