It really is as simple as making the other person feel connected. Guess what? DON'T FOCUS ON TALKING! Or pouting, or slamming doors, or happily acting like everything's ok.
Often the results of talking things out end in further frustration and alienation. In no way am I saying don't discuss big and small issues with your partner. What I am saying is that if you or your partner do not feel CONNECTED to the relationship, then trying to talk about ANYTHING is not going to work at making you feel loved, valued, or heard. That spark that flared with your partner at the beginning, the one where you felt like you were falling head over heels in love--it will not come back unless you nurture your CONNECTION with your loved one.
Why am I advocating to stop talking, and instead focus on connecting to keep your relationship alive? When you focus on connecting, then you are focusing on your relationship and keeping it fresh. The topics, life events, illnesses, job promotions/losses/changes...all of these "things" will constantly be ebbing and flowing in your life. If you feel connected to your partner, then you can face these "things" together. If you get stuck in trying to merely communicate both verbally and nonverbally about what is and isn't going right in your life it can get downright crappy. Why not focus more of your energy on reigniting the spark? First you may ask why has the spark fizzled in the first place? More brain chemistry reasons. Basically, your in a different love phase. Before you were falling in love, you were infatuated with the person. After two years the chemicals in your brain normalize and now you have to focus on staying and keeping the love alive. Another reason the spark has fizzled is becausen outside stressors, whether they are positive or negative, are being allowed to take up all your energy and time. If you make a concerted effort to keep your connection in your relationship--that spark and knowing that the other person gets you, honors you, respects you, notices the small things--alive, then there will always be a place in your life where you can let your guard down and rest so that you can face the rest of the world and what that requires.
If you stay connected to your partner, then all of those skills on communicating assertively (no passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive type communicators here, right?) will fall into place and help keep your relationship healthy. If you're not there yet in your ability to communicate compassionately and honestly--the best thing you can do in your relationship is focus on connecting. It's a daily job. Once you both feel connected, then you can work on communicating and negotiating conflicts. Now that's one of the basic definitions of a relationship: relating to another person in a give and take fashion. And, guess what? It is as simple as saying, "honey, thank you for taking out the trash it lets me focus more time on making a yummy meal for you!" Or, "sweetheart, I know you've been working long hours, and I get frustrated that you keep missing dinnertime, but I wanted to let you know that I appreciate what you are doing for our family by providing for us." Even more simple..."I'm proud of you and how hard you work." Or, "Thank you."
This article was originally published at
. Reprinted with permission from the author.