How To Keep Conversations With Your Partner Going Strong

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How To Keep Conversations With Your Partner Going Strong
Love

Deepen the emotional intimacy in your relationship to grow closer than ever.

How much time you spend on your cell phone and social networking in comparison to how much time you devote to caring conversations with your partner?

My intuition is that the difference between the two is where opportunities for deepened intimacy and mutual growth lie ─ regardless of how busy each of you is.

And my goal is to motivate you to enhance the time you invest in conversations that benefit and give pleasure to you both, deepening your overall connection and emotional intimacy.

Use and adapt any suggestions below to build on strengths you already share and increase the value of what you give one another. They can also serve as antidotes to feelings of loneliness and disconnection that occasionally emerge in even the closest relationships when time and energy are given over consistently to chores, work demands, and “administration” that comes with daily living.

Such routines contribute to a paradox of loneliness even in intimate connections because they sap potential depth and soulfulness.

RELATED: 9 Things The Happiest Couples Talk About On A Regular Basis

Recognized as an epidemic by recent Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, patterns of loneliness and disconnection are also supported by the results of a study conducted by Cigna in 2018.

They found that one in four people rarely or never feel as though others really understand them, and 43% sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, who served as U.S, Surgeon General from 2014-2017, suggests that the best way to solve this problem is by actively working to ensure deeper face-to-face connections with people you love.

“It’s worth considering carving time out in your day to be with people, without your phone,” Dr. Murthy told NPR. “Just spending five minutes with someone who you trust, who you love, can be incredibly important.”

Conversations, especially heart-to-heart ones, are good ways to start and promote that process.

One key to having a great conversation is making sure they it's genuine, in contrast to what I call tip-toe chats, polite time eaters that avoid or talk around serious issues, concerns, and even opportunities related to changes in lifestyle, activities, and choices.

Another key to having great conversation is developing ways to collaborate on something of value to you both.

In other words, avoid recurring habits and routines of communication such as “How was your day?” or “What happened with ...?” Instead, discuss specific matters of mutual interest or concerns that have meaning and relate to your relationship in positive, productive ways.

RELATED: 10 Tips For Talking About The Tough Stuff

Of course, going deeper might involve some risk, especially if this type of communication varies from your current, seemingly safe and ;predictable routes and habits.

Start with small steps by clarifying together how you’d like to move forward. Perhaps even agree first on different venues to take you away from distractions and repetitive associations.

They could include situations that protect privacy such as:

  • Taking walks in nature
  • Sitting on a park bench
  • Going to a new vacation location

To avoid surprises, discuss in advance a few topics you’d like to bring up. Ask your partner for their ideas as well.

Do this not to create a script, but for a sense of what’s on one another’s mind for an open, fresh conversation. A common theme can be what each of you wants in your life together.

A relevant article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2019 suggests that the key to bliss for a dual-career couple is creating a contract.

Though that may sound a little cold, she described how she and her eventual husband entered their continuing understandings with a psychological, not legal, contract. As such, it is flexible over time and supported by regular attention. Revisiting their prior agreements together leads to building trust as both parties stay open, straightforward and vulnerable with one another.

This process includes naming and expressing emotions, as well as discussing practical matters such as what you are willing to give, what you want and what your ambitions are.

Examples of emotions and other important, less concrete things to talk about include:

  • What frightens you?
  • What excites you?
  • What joys do you want to share?
  • What are your hopes and dreams?
  • What values you cherish?

To avoid overloading each other with too much information and encourage focus, consider one or two topics for each bullet you agree on exploring. Then, stay open to where the conversation takes you.

RELATED: 100 Get-To-Know-You Questions To Ask Your Partner When You’re Craving Intimacy

The more concrete and willing to explore the meanings and natural interconnections of what you want to talk about, the more likely you’ll both open doors to improved understanding and mutual appreciation. Opportunities to address complexities and make progress will continue.

Over time, you’ll likely experience shifts and transitions in life related to work, identity, and goals. In turn, that will lead to adjusting and clarifying the processes, assumptions, and approaches with which you began. The more you consult with your partner on doing this, the better your collaboration and outcomes.

To sustain and improve the quality of conversations you want with your partner, choose one of these three options to discuss together or any others that come to mind:

To prepare for action now, here are three questions to ask yourself first, perhaps jotting down a few notes to help you focus:

1. What is the most important or worthwhile matter you want to discuss with your partner now?

2. How can you avoid unproductive conflict and deal with initial misunderstandings?

3. The incentives and rewards you both could agree about and enjoy to strengthen your conversations and follow up actions.

Above all, bring gentle humor and flexibility into your communication processes.

Loving kindness with openness and vulnerability are fine criteria for sustaining great conversations.

They will deepen your intimacy with your partner and promote mutual growth and benefits.

RELATED: 10 Fun & Creative Things To Do With The Person You Love When You're Bored

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Ruth Schimel, PhD, is a career and life management consultant and author of the Choose Courage series on Amazon. Obtain the bonus first chapter of the upcoming, Happiness and Joy in Work: Preparing for Your Future on the Books page at her website, where you’ll also find your invitation for a free consultation.

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