Secret Recipe to Understanding a Relationship

When going through difficult times, you may find yourself looking for that quick fix, that one secret ingredient to solving your communication problems and really understanding a relationship?

Unfortunately, there is no one secret ingredient. Just like baking a cake, there are a multitude of key ingredients to help ease certain frustrations. However, one thing that I’ve noticed over my years of working with strained relationships is that couples often have one thing in common; not listening to understand your partner.

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”

– Steven Covey

I find this quote beautifully demonstrates how we sometimes have a tendency to just miss the mark on communication and how it can affect how you understand your partner’s needs.


Notice this and when you “catch yourself”, try being transparent with your partner. Say something like:

“I realize just now I haven’t been listening as closely as I want to.

Can you say that again because I really want to understand.”

And then be sure to really listen!


To change a bad habit, you need insight (which comes from noticing) and practice (which you can’t do without noticing). That’s why I suggest being transparent about your genuine desire to understand your partner and listen in a relationship. Maybe your partner will join you in working to break this common habit – but don’t make that your agenda because no one likes to be told they have a bad habit! Notice how genuine listening to understand changes the way you interact with the world and ultimately your partner.

So, in short, the secret to better understanding a relationship is to work on your listening skills and how to listen in a relationship. It’s not about how you respond but about how much you hear and understand what your partner is going through.