Communicating with Your Partner: Response or Reaction?

CommunicationSometimes, it can be difficult to get your points across to your partner. This is especially true if you are both having a discussion where you both have very strong opinions. Communicating with your partner is often a challenge since you are both individuals with unique thoughts and ideas, so will need to listen to what they have to say if you want to identify what is important to your partner.


If you have a strong urge to speak, disagree, explain yourself, etc. you are reacting to the dialogue between you (or the situation). Take a moment to calm yourself by taking a few deep breaths and do your best to focus on what your partner is saying. Listening to their perspective is very important since it allows you both to gain a deeper understanding of each other. The goal is to be two individuals on equal ground that are sharing and speaking to each other in a way where both perspectives can be appreciated and respected. When couples react rather than respond, conversations tend to be cut short and are often less productive.


Allowing your partner to speak is an aspect of personal and relationship respect. In healthy relationships, couples are respectful of each other’s thoughts, perspectives and desires. If something is bothering one of them, the other will do their best to improve the situation. By waiting your turn to respond to the problem, you are giving yourself the opportunity to switch from a reactionary response to a more respectful, and more appropriate one. After listening to your partner, you should state a summary of the obvious points that were made so that you know where to begin. Stay focused on what your partner has said and genuinely ask questions that can help you understand your significant other’s feelings. For example, you could ask: “How long have you been angry with me about this?” or “What first made you feel this way?”

It can be very hard to switch from a reaction to a response, however, it is worth the effort. After all, communication is a critical component of successful and happy couples. Next time that you feel an argument coming, do your best to listen and formulate an appropriate response that will allow you to better understand your partner.