There are plenty of guides to effective communication for couples out there, and I’m not going to replicate them by talking about non-violent communication and I-statements. Ultimately I believe that each person has their own unique communication styles and idiosyncrasies, and when you are in a relationship communication successes are mostly based on learning how to mesh your style with your partner’s. Maybe your partner has a tendency to raise her voice when she gets involved in a discussion, but it doesn’t mean she’s angry so you can learn to not get defensive about it. Or maybe he needs to take five minutes to be silent before he responds to something serious so you can learn to go do deep breathing exercises while he does that so you are more ready to hear what he has to say. Ultimately, when you have to have a serious conversation or an argument, the most important thing is how you both approach it. If you are looking at the argument as a chance to prove you are right and win, someone is going to get hurt. But if both of you are looking at it as a chance to understand each other’s feelings and communicate your own and reach an agreeable compromise or a solution to your problem, the chances of everyone leaving the conversation happy go way up. Learning to not take digs that you know will hurt your partner, learning to understand how they communicate and how you can make them understand you is hard, and I’ve found that it can take a long time, but when you realize that serious conversations don’t have to lead to arguments your relationship will go more smoothly.