Open, honest, loving communication isn’t taught in schools. Perhaps it should be, but for those who grow up without good parental examples of healthy communication at home, the issue can be problematic in adulthood.

Far too often our communication with our special someone tends to focus on goal-oriented speech only. “Can you pick up the kids after school tomorrow? What do you want for supper? I left your keys on the kitchen table. I paid the electric bill this morning.” So goes the typical long-term relationship conversation.

While this type of communication is necessary, our soul longs for the sweet and nourishing words spoken by someone we love. We all could use more of those sweet nothings that mean oh so very much in life.

To level-up your communication skills, try using the twelve starter sentences listed below to initiate a deeper conversation with your significant other today.

Things You Could Say to Your Partner

Deeper communication may require an intentional shift or willingness to expose vulnerability. But isn’t your happiness—and your relationship—worth the risk? Here are some ways to begin:

Thank you for… Everyone likes to be acknowledged and appreciated for what they do. Thank your partner for more than just what you asked him/her to do. For example, you might thank him or her for being a great parent, for always making time for the children.

Would you please… Expecting your partner to read your mind is expecting the impossible. Say what you want and need. When you articulate your wishes clearly, resentments don’t have time to build up, and you can also work together to find win-win solutions.

How do you feel about… Ask, and then listen to your partner’s response, withholding judgment or any need to change or fix the feelings.

I feel… State your feelings and tell the truth. Notice the difference between “I think” and “I feel” statements.

I’m sorry… Admit your mistakes and apologize for them. You may feel vulnerable, but your honesty is likely to inspire the same in your partner and open the door for closer connection.

I forgive you… Accepting apologies for mistakes your partner makes is a way of letting go of resentments, and that frees you both.

I appreciate your… Shine the light on your partner’s qualities. You’ll create an arena of goodwill that shines back on you.

What I hear you saying… Listen, really listen, and let your partner know he/she has been heard.

I agree with you because… Validating your partner’s point of view and perspective helps him/her feel heard and understood.

What are you reading/learning? Open up communication on an intellectual level and you may feel the warmth of common views—or sparks of difference—that drew you together in the first place.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Listen to your partner’s vision, and then share your own. The question may inspire a new, shared plan or uncover the need to build a bridge between your dreams.

I love you… Find your own variations on the words; you can’t say them too often.

Nadine is a counsellor, consultant, speaker, and trainer with over 35 years’ experience helping others professionally. She is a bestselling author and specializes in working with trauma, abuse, relationship issues, and communication. Learn more at and connect with Nadine on FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Do you feel like your issues with communication, trauma, anxiety, stress, or relationships are holding you back? Booking a consultation can help! Why should you work with Nadine?

  • There’s no need to try to fit a specific therapeutic tool when you work with Nadine – your session is designed to fit you, not the other way around
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