Now, why leave something so important to chance? Take time to learn how to communicate effectively, and reap the benefits with relationship heaven!
Talking ranges from everyday chit-chat through to the deep and meaningful stuff, and a successful relationship should span the whole spectrum. No matter how busy you both are, try to set some time aside each day to catch up. If life seems to be one long round of rushing in and out of the house/car/work/playgroup, then make the effort to slow the pace a little.
In the world of the super busy, something's got to give, and you really shouldn't let that be your relationship. Make the effort to share the highs and the lows, the triumphs and the tragedies and the little details of life that make it so interesting. However, this communication lark is a two-way street, so make sure you don't forget about listening too...
Time to listen
There's a real difference between hearing and listening well. Half-hearted attention with one eye on the telly or the kids is often worse than not listening at all because it comes across as if you're not interested. And, you'll invariably get caught out further down the line when you haven't taken in that one vital bit of information (come on, we've all been there...). If you take the time to listen to the everyday stuff and respond, then you can help to avoid major problems down the line.
Talk before you're furious
In a healthy relationship both partners communicate before an issue makes them really upset. Difficult as it may sound, this means avoiding all forms of stewing, festering, sulking and staying out late.
It's all too easy for problems and concerns to snowball, so what could have been a fairly rational discussion turns into a prize fight, with no holds barred and every minor irritation and niggle from the last twelve months thrown in for good measure. As a couple you should try and bring problems to light as they crop up and understand that discussing a concern is a sign of strength in your relationship.
Bear in mind that if your timing's off, then you can make matters much worse. If you're both tired, drunk, stressed, or it's dinner time and the kids are kicking off then do the sensible thing and wait. And it's even more important if you're in company. It's a really cheap trick to bring up an issue in front of other people, and can make for a very uncomfortable situation for all concerned. If you feel that there's something you need to get off your chest, then approach it in a calm and neutral manner when you feel that the time is right for both of you.
If you're finding it difficult to talk to your partner, or feel like there's a general breakdown in communication between the two of you, then you may find it useful to get some outside help. The relationship counselling service Relate offers one-to-one and couples sessions. In fact, many couples going to Relate say that communication breakdown is one of the main reasons they've decided to seek counselling. Most couples, after they have had some Relate counselling, report that communication between them has improved.