The C-Word

The C-Word

By Sarah Mountford & Lauren Verweij

As Self Studies reaches its second birthday, we're excited by the many lessons learned along the way. Among them, the importance of communication shines brightest.

This article is a testament to our commitment to sharing not just products, but knowledge gained from our experiences and the connections we've made with the amazing people we meet along the way. Join us as we delve into the heart of our biggest lesson yet and explore how effective communication can transform relationships and elevate our shared journey of love and intimacy.

In this article, we aim to share insights gained from our journey, focusing on a fundamental aspect of relationships: effective communication. We explore how this simple yet profound principle has shaped our path and enriched our understanding of intimacy and connection.

In the intricate tapestry of relationships, effective communication and conversation serves as a sturdy backbone. Whether these are relationships we have with a family member, a loved one or a colleague. Communication and conversation is what binds partners together. It's the cornerstone upon which trust, understanding, and intimacy are built. Yet, amidst the chaos of daily life, a job, doing the groceries, the kids, friends, family, communication can sometimes falter. Quite spectaculary. Leading to misunderstandings, conflicts, and emotional distance.

Fear not, mastering the art of effective communication with your partner is not an overly difficult pursuit. Armed with patience, empathy, and a shared appetite for growth, you're poised to dive into the depths of understanding and strengthening your bond into a relationship that's not just fulfilling but downright electrifying. Here is our roadmap, crafted after consulting with various professionals from diverse fields.

Practice Active Listening
Communication isn't just about expressing yourself; it's equally about listening attentively to your partner. Practice active listening by giving your full attention, maintaining eye contact, and we know how hard it is, but refrain from interrupting. Show empathy by acknowledging their feelings and validating their experiences.

Express Yourself Honestly
Be open and honest in your communication. Share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns openly, but do so respectfully and tactfully. Avoid bottling up emotions or resorting to passive-aggressive behavior, as these can breed resentment and distance.

Use "I" Statements
When discussing sensitive topics or addressing issues, frame your statements using "I" instead of "you." For example, say "I feel hurt when..." instead of "You always make me feel..." This approach encourages personal responsibility and prevents the conversation from turning into a blame game.

Practice Empathy and Understanding
Seek to understand your partner's perspective without judgment or defensiveness. Put yourself in their shoes, empathize with their emotions, and validate their experiences. Remember that empathy fosters connection and strengthens bonds.

Be Mindful of Nonverbal Cues
Communication isn't limited to words; nonverbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice also convey messages. Pay attention to these cues, as they can provide valuable insights into your partner's thoughts and feelings.

Set Aside Quality Time
In today's fast-paced world, quality time with your partner can easily get sidelined by other commitments. Make a conscious effort to carve out dedicated time for meaningful conversations and shared activities. Disconnect from daily distractions such as kids and screens to fully engage with each other.

Practice Patience and Understanding
Effective communication takes time and effort, and it's normal to encounter obstacles along the way. Be patient with yourself and your partner as you navigate through challenges and learn to communicate more effectively. Celebrate progress, no matter how small, and approach setbacks as opportunities for growth.

Seek Professional Help if Needed
If communication issues persist or become overwhelming, don't hesitate to seek guidance from a couples therapist or counselor. Professional intervention can provide valuable tools, insights, and support to help you overcome communication barriers and strengthen your relationship.

However, we know that professional guidance can be a bridge too far, on so many levels. It’s the realisation that you are seeking professional help, it’s the additional expense, it’s the extra time required, and for many, it’s the shame.
We totally get this and we hear this often. So, if you are seeking additional support, or a starting point for assistance, or even just a fun approach to foster meaningful conversations, we highly recommend exploring the conversation cards from the School of Life. They support all different elements of communication and conversation. From the little conversations that we know we need to have but just don’t want to initiate, mostly because we’re unsure how to broach the subject without sparking conflict, to the lighter discussions about what excites us and what turns us on. These cards serve as invaluable tools for navigating various conversational scenarios. Moreover, their portability makes them ideal companions for any setting, whether you're on holiday, enjoying a weekend getaway, gathering for dinner, or simply looking to engage in meaningful conversations throughout the day, even when you're not physically together.

Find the following Conversation Cards on

Know Yourself Prompt Cards: In this fast paced world, it’s sometimes hard to know who we are and what we want, how we feel and why we react as we do. Here are 60 prompt cards to help you navigate the important task of knowing “you” better.

Connect: 100 questions that helps couples remember why they’re attracted to one another. We tend to talk about the stuff that doesn’t matter, but these cards encourage you to talk about what really matters, they help clear the air and make you remember why you chose each other in the first place. 

Pillow Talk: Although the pleasures of sex and intamacy are well known, what is less emphasised are the pleasures of talking about sex: what feels good, what we daydream about, what turns us off, where are our boundaries? This pack of cards provokes the best kind of pillow talk.



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