With kids running around, events to attend, and a house to maintain, where is the time to communicate with your loved ones in a genuine way? Here are six tips, discussed in the book Boy Meets Girl: Hello Courtship by Joshua Harris, that can be utilized when communication starts to become a novelty in the hustle of life.

Assess Your Emotions

Check what is going on in your heart and mind before you start talking. Acknowledge if you are feeling irritated with your spouse, your kids, your neighbor, or just life in general. Then set the negative feelings aside before you start talking. The irritations that you feel can easily come across in your body language, words, and tone even if the irritation is not directed at the one you are talking with.

Make Quality Communication a Fun Event

If life is busy, set aside a little distraction free time a few nights or mornings a week for just you and your loved one to talk. You can move outside and pour a glass of wine or a pot of coffee to make this quality time for communication more fun.

Listen

We are given two ears and one mouth for a very clear reason. Listening goes much farther in communication than responding does. Avoid responding when anger rises and be slow to respond with negative input. Ask questions and put aside the growing to-do list actively clouding your mind so you can genuinely listen.

No Pressure

Relieve yourself of the pressure of responding in a perfect way. If you are listening attentively, and your loved one knows you want to understand and be present while he or she communicates, responses do not have to be perfect. Oftentimes, giving your complete attention and time to talk goes farther than saying the perfect thing.

Discuss Difficult Feelings in a Productive Way

A busy life makes it easy to build resentment as negative feelings are repressed when you are too tired or discouraged to talk. Taking the time to discuss these feelings in a calm way, with the above steps in mind, can be productive for you and your relationships.

Start With a Smile

Start your conversations off on a positive note. You never know when a simple smile will diffuse a difficult conversation or ignite the start to a pleasant one. Consider this advice by Phyllis Diller: "A smile is a curve that sets everything straight."

For more communication tips by Joshua Harris, Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship is available at Amazon.

What communication tips do you have for keeping communication strong in your relationships?

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