How Do You Feel Today? 3 Steps to a Better Relationship

MisunderstandingSomething happens in relationships when you get close to people, doesn’t it? You have more power to hurt the people closest to you and more ability to be hurt by the people closest to you. What happens when you do that?

A stone wall would be a good metaphor for the response that usually follows an emotional disappointment or sting. Once that wall goes up, someone or both of you are apt to stop communicating your feelings. According to statistics, usually one person has no problem whatsoever with talking about feelings (good and bad) while the other retreats at the thought of talking about anything more personal than the weather that affected them that day. Why should knowing how someone feels make any difference to how couples get along on a day to day basis?

Without knowing how the other one feels, the spouse is left trying to evoke a physical response of the feelings because obviously it’s not going to be conveyed using words. While very temporary, it causes silence, outbursts, sulking, and a rinse-and-repeat cycle until both of you know how the feelings in the house are across the board. All of which can be avoided by telling each other how you feel, even if that makes you uncomfortable.If this stone-wall approach sounds like you, try these three things:

  1. Start by telling your spouse that talking about how you feel makes you uncomfortable. This allows the listener to get into a position of just listening and not judging. You are probably uneasy about it because you fear negative effects from exposing your mind and heart.
  2. Try something positive first. Share a goal or a dream that you have that you have never told your spouse. Do you want to discover a new species of cave mold? Say so, and try to not flinch when you’re done. If you can’t think of any dreams, try something positive that you appreciate about your spouse. They certainly won’t judge you for being nice (you’d better be honest, though; no flattery allowed).
  3. If that is well-received, take the plunge and go for a fear or concern. This is where you will reap great bounties of closeness. If you haven’t cried together yet, you aren’t close. Period. End of sentence.

When you do those three things, drop a note here and encourage others. We’re all in this together.