Anyone that’s ever given out good relationship advice talks about communication. So often it is heard that a relationship or marriage ended because the partners could not communicate effectively. This is because without being able to understand each other, there is no way to find a common ground or set the foundation for the many things that a relationship endures. Communication has to intentionally be focused on or the love will be lost in translation and turned into anger, resentment and confusion.

Here are some tips to help you be a better communicator:

1. Intent

Before you make assumptions of what’s being said by your partner, consider their intent. If you’re with someone who has bad intentions and enjoys hurting others, then the likelihood is that they will do it right back to you. However, if you are with someone who is genuine, and wants the best for you, they will always attempt to help you be a better person. It’s far too easy to think “I can’t believe my boyfriend wants me to call him every night, it must be because he’s a jealous person and wants to keep me on a leash” when in reality it may be that he deeply cares about you and is concerned for your safety and knowing that you’re home gives him the peace of mind he needs to go to sleep. Think about the little nuances that give you the peace of mind, and how quickly it can be misconstrued by bad intentions.

2. Look Closer

If you and your partner disagree about something, try to look at the situation in different perspectives and ask both your partner and yourself, what you could do differently to resolve the issue. It may be as simple as changing your tone of voice to sound softer and less intimidating or giving your partner time to openly express everything they’re feeling before you provide a response to it.

3. Say what you need to say

Don’t bottle things up and wait for the perfect time to bring it up. There is never a perfect time for conflict and the sooner you bring it up, the sooner your heart and mind will be at piece. Sometimes, people wait months before bringing up an issue, or they wait until things are bad and add to it with a slew of past issues that the partner had no idea about. Bottling your issues manifests itself into other things, your work, friends, relationships, and it can cause unnecessary stress. If you see something you don’t like in your partner, or if they did something hurtful to you, in a calm and collected way, sit them down and start with “there’s something you did the other day that really bothered me and I was just wondering if we could discuss it…”

4. Reassure

When it’s fight time, the relationship quickly becomes volatile with the potential of going downhill and ending. While there are serious discussions occurring, make sure you reassure your partner and bring them back to you. Using positive words like, I love you and I know we’re going to get through this. It’s just a rough patch, I’m sure we’ll find a common ground and resolve this soon. I really hate fighting with you, I wish it didn’t have to be like this. I love you and just want to go back to the good times. You get the point. Perspectives can drastically change when you are no longer fighting to fight, but fighting to stay together and being reminded of this can change someone’s outlook on the situation, and of you. In a study by Masaru Emoto, it was discovered that words affect the way that ice crystals are formed and that positive words made beautiful crystallization while negative words made jagged, uneven crystallization. This shows us that the practice of positive words and reassurances can lead to positive results, in our relationships with others as well as ourselves.