What you say in a relationship is important but, perhaps, equally as important, is all the stuff you don’t say yet impart with your body language.
It’s important to learn how to improve non-verbal communication in all of your relationships.
Non-verbal communication has a profound effect on your connection, which is why it helps to improve your non-verbal skills.
In this way, you can create a better and more intimate relationship — the kind you’ve always wanted.
There are many kinds of non-verbal communication styles. They include but aren’t limited to touch and body language.
Here are 4 ways to improve your non-verbal communication in your relationship.
1. Consciously use touch.
Expressing love in a relationship can be done in many ways.
Sometimes, you and your partner tell each other explicitly how much you love one another. Other times, how you feel is communicated through touch — or lack of it.
If your partner rarely touches you or you only ever give your significant other a half-hearted hug, this could indicate a lack of connection.
However, you could also just as easily have forgotten how important these moments of touch are.
It’s easy to fall out of a good habit, so make a conscious effort to use touch to communicate to your partner what they mean to you.
This can include things like touching your partner briefly as you pass them in your home or giving them a proper hug and kiss hello.
Another way of consciously using touch is by making an effort to find time for sex. Sex can be a great way of connecting and boosting your relationship and shared intimacy.
As a clinical sexologist, I work with a lot of individuals and couples who have stopped having sex for various reasons.
A lot of times it has to do with low libido in one or both parties. If this is you, know you’re not alone and that there are lots of things you can do to get your sex drive back.
2. Open up.
Closed-off body language can speak volumes — to your partner and to you.
One common way of closing off your body is by crossing your chest with your arms. Sometimes, you do it because you’re cold but, other times, it’s actually a way of protecting ourselves or showing your dismay.
While it may not be a conscious move, it’s an effective way of shutting people out as it communicates that you don’t want to engage.
When your partner notices you crossing your chest with your arms, it’s telling them you won’t let them in — so they can’t get in.
Instead, try letting your arms rest side by side or in your lap and see what happens in your communication with your partner.
You’ll likely find you feel less defensive and more open as your body language not only communicates how you’re feeling to your partner but communicates how you feel to yourself, too.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why you can reduce anxiety by moving your bodies or adjusting how you breathe through breathing exercises. By changing your physiology, you can affect how you feel, mentally.
3. Turn towards your partner.
It’s easy to become unaware of non-verbal communication in a relationship, especially when you’re in the middle of something — watching a dramatic scene on T.V. or reading an exciting novel in bed.
As your partner inches closer to you on the sofa, you just don’t notice them at all and almost turn away from them by habit: you’re concentrating.
Just as crossing your arms in front of your chest isn’t always a conscious act — turning away from your partner communicates defensiveness — whether you’ve actively chosen to do it or not.
Your partner might take this as a sign of disinterest, like you don’t care what they have to say or just be left alone. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s nice to be alone.
But, if you regularly turn away from your partner, it might start to affect your connection.
Next time, try turning towards your partner when they creep down next to you in bed. This shows them you care and you’re invested — and this can really boost intimacy and trust.
4. Move from multitasking to monotasking.
Life is stressful — it seems there are endless amounts of cooking, cleaning, and emails to answer — and getting through it in time often entails multitasking.
The thing is, when you multitask, you stop being present in the moment.
Even if laundry isn’t a task worth experiencing mindfully, this multitasking habit can easily creep into your relationship.
If you’re constantly doing something else while your partner is trying to talk to you, you risk losing vital moments of connection but also, of empathy.
By allowing your partner to see your face, they can pick up on non-verbal cues of empathy or understanding. And this goes both ways!
By looking at their face, you can also gauge what they’re actually saying. Sometimes, your words aren’t enough to convey what you really mean.
Instead, you say one thing with your mouth and another with your facial expressions or body language.
Try making an effort to monotask next time your partner is saying something. Make a point of looking at them and seeing them, not just for their words but for what their body and face are telling you.
Are they upset, frustrated, happy, or ashamed? What do they need, in this moment?
Non-verbal communication is the way to go.
When you talk about communication, you often focus on the verbal kind. While working on verbal communication is certainly important, non-verbal communication in a relationship can also be paramount.
This is why, sometimes, improving your relationship can be as easy as changing your body language.
By focusing on opening up, turning towards your partner, consciously monotasking, and using touch — you can boost your connection in an instant!
Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and writer with a Master of Science in Sexology. She’s been featured in Women’s Health, Thrive Global, The Good Men Project, Glamour, Elephant Journal and more. For more advice on sex and emotions, visit her website. To start working on your communication skills and emotional intimacy,, download her free resource: The Guide for Intimacy.
This article was originally published at LeighNoren.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.