Talking About The Things That Matter

Holding on to feelings that are making you uncomfortable is a very difficult place to be. There are different ways of doing it. You may withdraw, you may feel like you’ll explode (or implode) with bottled-up emotion, or you may know something’s wrong but not be able to put a finger on why you’re feeling a certain way.

If you’re dealing with this issue in a relationship, it’s time to talk about what’s going on, and you need to do it in an appropriate way. If you come across in a calm and constructive manner, it will make things much easier. No one likes to feel under attack. In areas where the two of you have had difficulties in the past, point them out gently and don’t be vengeful.

It’s always important to remember the basic rules of communication. There is a speaker and a listener. The speaker speaks while the listener listens without getting defensive or accusatory. You can start by each taking two minutes to say what’s on your mind; the other person gets one minute to respond, and then you trade places. This process will allow you to help each other heal old issues as well as current ones.

It helps to ask follow-up questions like “Is there anything that is still unresolved?” and to ask each other if you are both keeping up with your commitments. It’s important to follow up on past decisions. Doing this will help you trust each other as well as the process. Once you agree that an issue is resolved, there is no need to rehash it.

Another great way to avoid a rehash is to make sure that you hear each other’s feelings and acknowledge that you understand what the other person said and feels. You do that by paraphrasing what your partner said to show you heard and that you actually got it—a little contrived perhaps, but it will help you avoid a lot of awkwardness and upset.

Discussing future plans is another great communication tool that will increase your bond. You can talk about the calendar for the coming week and bring up the future, both near and far. Happiness comes from moving toward what you want, so make sure you always have goals and dreams.

Feelings get hurt inadvertently, so don’t be a jerk and try to hold your ground. Admit that you said something wrong or stupid (for example, not all my jokes are funny), and move on. It’s easy if you and your partner just give yourselves room to be imperfect, or just human.

I love our deep conversations. The ones where we both laugh and cry or when we get mad and then kiss and make up (or make love). The best part is this deeper sense of connecting, of knowing who the person next to you in bed really is, and knowing that your partner truly cares for you and for this relationship with you.

When the two of you can spend the entire night talking, you know this is someone you can spend a lifetime with. Your conversations will get deeper with time, as will your love for each other. After everything else fades, your deep conversations can keep you stay connected forever.

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