"One can be very happy without demanding that others agree with them." ~ Goethe

One of the strongest challenges to a relationship is communication. Assuming you know what your partner is thinking is most unwise. But if you work on your communication skills, you can work together to turn your "I thought you meant" into "Ah, now I see where you are coming from", and you'll both enjoy a more harmonious relationship.

Communication skills will serve you well in all the aspects of your life, but more so in your intimate relationship, because no matter how strong the love is, even very tiny rips in the flow of information can turn into torrents when you add your misunderstanding, your prior history, and your erring conclusions to what might have been a very innocuous communication.

There are some red flags in the area of communication for which you should be on the lookout. That would be habitual criticism, bossiness, partner not actively listening, incompatibility, how each feels about handling money, the division of chores, not making your relationship a priority, lack of trust, and overblown emotions.

All of these involve communication skills, and if you work to resolve them without harming yourself or your partner, you can foster a more harmonious relationship.

Be Supportive Via Touch.

A hug or a kiss is often the very thing which allows your mate to feel supported. The meeting of the eyes in agreement over the heads of the children allows you to know you're working together.

Ask Questions.

Assume nothing. If you find yourself thinking "Oh, I know he'll want this," make sure you are accurate by asking him. You can foster deepness in your communication by asking questions and then listening attentively. Are you sure you know your partner's hopes and dreams? Ask him or her.

Just Do It!

You know that tough area that scares you to discuss? Set up a time and talk about it openly. Behind every relationship problem is a ten minute discussion you've been avoiding. Do it now and let it pass.

Never Begin a Sentence with "You."

When you begin a sentence with the word "You" it can be received as accusatory and your partner might feel as if she needs to defend herself. Instead, begin with the word "I," and she might be more prompted to listen attentively. You, of course, will have to know your own thoughts and feelings to be able to put them out there.

Listen Without Judgment.

When you listen with both ears open and your mouth shut, you can send empathy thoughts to your mate mentally; you can show with your eyes that you love him or her; you can indicate with a hum or a nod that you are on their side. And you can listen for the clues inside your partner's words about the real problem that is troubling him or her, because seldom is what appears to be an issue, the real issue.

Agree to Disagree and Come Back to It.

You might need a time out if you feel overwhelmed. You might need to think about what has been said. You might need some distance to be able to see the good in the other. Acceptance - even though different from your take on things - is one of the most practical forms that love assumes, so work to tolerate their ways of being. Show empathy, compassion and support so that your mate feels safe to share deeply.

Honesty is the only way to reach a harmonious agreement. Turning all of your cards face up on the table is the only way to reach agreement. Your communication skills have to be acquired and then sharpened through practice. It can be a life-long effort, but if your efforts create a harmonious relationship, don't you think it would be worth it?

Author's Bio: 

With over 20 years' experience across television, radio and print, Maria Khalifé's insightful teachings combine powerful techniques and spiritual wisdom to enable personal transformation for her clients. Maria brings to the world life-changing experiences for those who seek extraordinary lives and want to reach their maximum potential. Please visit http://www.changecoachinginstitute.com