Each of us has a desire to matter most to someone and to be loved as we truly are. Before marriage we often fantasize about hours spent together, looking into one another’s eyes, into one another’s very souls, and being delighted by the wonders we find.
Then we get married!
It’s as if the cares of this world rise up and choke our dreams. The floor of the marriage counseling office has literally been drenched by the tears of partners who are dying to be heard by the most important person in their lives.
Somehow we find ourselves missing each other.
The agonizing cry is the same, “We just don’t communicate anymore.”
A woman came to a marriage counselor. She had made up her mind that she wanted to divorce her husband. The marriage and family therapist asked her a few questions that he believed would assist in his understanding of the complexity of her case.
First he asked, “Do you have any grounds?”
She replied, “Yes, we have an acre.”
“That’s not exactly what I mean. Do you have a grudge?”
“No,” came the reply. “We have a carport.”
Trying a third time, the counselor asked, “Does he beat you up?”
“No, I’m always up before he is.”
“Well then, why do you want to divorce your husband?” the frustrated counselor asked.
“Because I can’t carry on an intelligent conversation with him.”
I can almost hear some of you groaning now.
Forgive me. I couldn’t resist. Yet is there any way we resemble this woman?
Talking is not to be confused with communicating.
One hundred couples were equipped with microphones to determine how much conversation went on between them over the course of a week. The researcher eliminated grunts, all simple announcements like, “The car is leaving in 4 minutes” and such minimal replies as “Yes, dear.” The result of the study was mind blowing.
The average couple communicates a grand total of 23 minutes a week.
No wonder couples often feel alone and disconnected.
Couples may not talk much, but never do they stop communicating.
We are always communicating through our body language, facial expressions, gestures, mannerisms, tone of voice, and even our silence. The question is what are we communicating?
Are we communicating value or disrespect?
love or indifference?
curiosity or a closed mind?
interest or disinterest?
respect or disdain?
intentionality or passivity?
empathy or boredom?
vulnerability or anger?
attraction or repulsion?
Marriage brings out the best and the worst in us. One evening you share a beautiful, romantic, candle-light dinner at the ocean’s edge together. You feel so connected and loving. The next morning at 2 AM your wife falls in the toilet because you left the toilet seat up. You are awakened, by piercing cries on the part of a wife who is seriously considering murder at the moment.
Leo Buscaglia puts it well:
To live in love is life’s greatest challenge. It requires more subtlety, flexibility, sensitivity, understanding, acceptance, tolerance, knowledge and strength than any other human endeavor.
Are you up for the task? The work of keeping in touch with each other , of discovering and willingly discarding expectations, of facing ourselves, and our anti-loving tendencies, goes on through the entire lifetime of a marriage. There is no such thing as instant success. There are daily loving choices.
When we make those we are truly communicating, not just talking!
Until our next Conscious Lover’s Blog…