There are communication problems in every relationship. We get misunderstood even when we think that we have made ourself clear. We forget to listen and we think that problems will solve themselves without us having to talk about them but we still turn to our passive-aggressive side, thinking that everything will be OK. The thing here is to admit that none of us knows how to communicate. We know how to talk but communication goes way beyond talking and we need to understand that it’s the foundation of all our relationships. In order for all of us to have better communication with our partners, we need to understand, use and practice these communication skills:

1. Listen actively

You probably don’t listen to your partner properly. We are so consumed by thoughts in our mind that don’t allow us to listen at all. We only hear our own perception of things and we don’t pay attention to what the person in front of us is actually talking about. That’s why it’s very important to know that active listening can save your relationship. Pay attention to your partner and not just to yourself. Listen to his words and the intonation of his voice and look at his body language. Don’t jump to conclusions, simply watch and hear. Be in the moment and let your partner be heard.

2. Talk face-to-face

In this world of technology, we tend to solve conflicts online. It’s much easier, to be honest. You don’t have to face your partner and you can type whatever you want without them seeing if you really meant it or not. That’s why face-to-face is crucial for effective communication. You need to see what they feel in their facial expressions because you can’t send sadness through text messages—emojis simply don’t cut it.

3. The 24-hour rule

Well, we hear it constantly that we shouldn’t go to bed angry. But what’s so bad about it? It can actually help us calm down and realize that we’ve been wrong all along. Or even better, we can calm down and talk to our partner without yelling or using harsh words. Use the 24-hour rule. If you’re mad right now, take a deep breath and distance yourself for 24 hours. If the problem isn’t as important in 24 hours as it was now, then let it go.

4. Physical contact

Touching your partner slightly while talking about a serious topic provokes oxytocin inside them and this love hormone actually creates feelings of bonding and understanding. It helps with releasing stress and it doesn’t create an atmosphere of something bad but rather improves the conversation. Hug your partner while talking or even hold their hand. You will feel more relaxed as well.

5. Be honest

You know that everyone can sense lies. It’s only about the level of understanding of your feelings. Some people simply ignore the red flags inside them telling them that they are being lied to but the truth is we all feel it. So never lie to your partner. Lies ruin relationships and break the trust that was built between two people. Honesty is the highest priority in communication and it can save your relationship.

6. Use ‘I’ statements

Use ‘I’ instead of ‘you’. Instead of, “YOU did this wrong because YOU don’t love me,” say something like, “I felt like you didn’t love me, because I was hurt by this situation.” It’s much easier because you’re not attacking your partner but rather telling them how their behavior made you feel. It will show them what they did wrong and that you really are hurt, rather than yelling at them about the things that they did wrong; that way, you won’t achieve anything but to insult your partner.

7. Don’t interrupt your partner

Being interrupted is the easiest way that you can freak out. You are standing in front of someone who doesn’t respect you enough to hear you out, so why are you even trying to make them understand you? Well, this is how your partner feels as well. Never interrupt your partner while they’re talking and always listen actively. Don’t get consumed by your thoughts and don’t rush. You have all the time in the world to talk things through. You will have your turn to say everything you have to say.

8. Little things are important

Communicate the little things in your relationship that you find to be important. Even if they’re not important, still talk about them. Talk about how your day was or about the weather, talk about that little flower on the sidewalk and the way your partner’s eyes shine when they smile. These things are very important. Ask those small questions like, “How are you?” and say things like, “’I love you.” These are really small sentences that can mean the world.

9. Create a peaceful environment

It’s not OK to yell at your partner for them not being able to do something. Don’t yell at all. Don’t even have that annoyed look on your face. It might seem funny to you now but believe me, it works wonders. Just take a moment and take a deep breath. Have a peaceful facial expression—it will confuse your partner at first but it will make the whole communication process a lot easier.

10. Realize that you can’t read their mind

Women do this too often, thinking that we can read the mind of our partner, but dear, we can’t. We need to listen to our man talk about whatever there is to talk about and not interrupt him with things like, “I knew it!” or, “You did this because you thought that…” You can’t really know what he was thinking, can you? That’s why it’s very important to sit down and ask questions like, “Can you explain your actions? Can you help me understand?”