Talking might be considered cheap but it’s vital to maintaining a good relationship.
As every marriage guidance expert knows, communication is paramount to enhancing togetherness. Yet, if you often hear that sensible message, you notice something is missing.
What is that missing thing? That there is more to communication than merely talking. Couples can speak for hours about almost anything (and many do). But when it comes to the things they need to talk about… dead silence.
Communication is not a science. It’s an art. That means that all the talking in the world doesn’t constitute much of anything if it skirts around how people are really feeling. Superficially, chatty couples seem to have it covered. Beneath, they could merely be generating white noise to hide their true thoughts and feelings.
Why do we focus on talking and avoid sharing with honesty? Because it’s tough. You and I risk rejection and being misunderstand. So to avoid that kind of pain we prefer doing verbal somersaults and going through conversational hoops, hoping that the truth will magically safely leak out and we will (somehow) be wonderfully understood.
When you think about, that’s pretty stupid, isn’t it? Yet, how many couples play this game daily, year in and year out? Clearly, the kind of talking that matters takes honesty and a whole ladle full of gumption.
Still, despite the risks, I am happy to say the rewards are worth it. Telling your partner about your fears, and the stuff that secretly irks you can clear the air (much like a thunderstorm does). While we might wish for a neutral hearing, we can’t rely on it. But talking over your emotional truths is immensely freeing. Better yet, it has genuine potential to grow your relationship.
Recognizing the power of talking honestly and its inherent risks also implies something else that’s fundamental: sharing intimately also requires you to listen.
Now listening is a much undervalued means of developing stronger bonds and without it talking is almost pointless. So sharing deeply invites us to do plenty of listening too.
In a way, if your partner is motivated by your honesty to have lots to say, it’s a compliment (They really are listening!). Though, often, misunderstandings, backhanders, and reactions can be the first answers back. In some ways, that’s to be expected, especially if your honesty is delivered in the form of “hot potato” comments. Given, talking through emotions isn’t easy, it pays to develop patience if you want to get to the heart of matters and find resolution.
For talking to go beyond mere information, listening needs to be active. There also needs to be a willingness to come together and trust that your love is big enough to cope with disclosure. These are emotionally costly so good quality communications is anything but cheap. But the results in the form of renewed intimacy, security, and understanding are precious and nothing less than relationship gold.
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