Communication Tips in Relationships | Mental Health Monday


Des Moines Mom is committed to creating a safe space for ongoing conversations about mental health. 

man and woman on a couch

Communication and conflict can and will arise in any relationship. We can’t NOT communicate – communication happens all the time, whether that’s in the words that we say, silence, or our non-verbal communication. In our latest Mental Health Monday conversation with Taylor Zaun, LMFT with Family Legacy Counseling, we discuss ways we can become better communicators in our relationships and in times of conflict. 

mental health monday

Taylor Zaun is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing at Family Legacy Counseling in Johnston. She is a Des Moines native passionate about working with children (8+), teens, young adults and families who come to therapy for a variety of reasons.

Tips for Communication in Relationships

1. Be self-reflective.

Ask yourself “how am I communicating? What is going well in my relationships that feel healthy?” And on the opposite end, “what feels distressing?” Taylor recommends asking for feedback from the people closest to you — ways that you are communicating well and areas that could be improved. 

2. Be a better listener. 

As hard as it is, think about how you are listening – are you listening to respond or are you listening to hear?

  • An excellent way to improve your active listening is to use a reflective listening technique by repeating back and using the words “So what I hear you saying is …”
  • If you don’t get the interpretation right the first time, ask them to repeat what they said because it’s important to understand. 

3. Recognize that a pattern of conflict is the problem – it is not you or your partner.

  • Take a deep breath to regulate your emotions and ask yourself what you can do differently to change the pattern of conflict. 
  • Ask for a timeout to try and self-regulate. 
  • Change the location to one that might not feel so emotionally charged. 

Watch more of my conversation with Taylor Zaun about “Communication Tips in Relationships.”

Connect with Taylor Zaun

communication tips in marriage
Taylor Zaun received a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mount Mercy University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Iowa State University where she played collegiate volleyball for the Cyclones. She has a license in Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT). Taylor has worked in agency and private practice settings where she has experience providing services to individuals, couples and families of all ages and walks of life.

Thank you for making time to help normalize the conversation about mental health. In this ongoing monthly series, we will be talking about mental health for ourselves, for our kids, our spouses, and our families. 

See more of our conversations about Mental Health

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Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show. After a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara is still figuring out which way is north. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life and work. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media. Kara enjoys yoga, reading, gardening, cooking, sewing in straight lines and singing along to musicals. A spender by nature, but thrifty by necessity, Kara is always in hunt of a bargain. She’s an active member of Northpoint Church and a resident of Grimes. Her vision for life includes “doing the best we can with what God gives us.”


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