Last week I shared how the silent treatment doesn’t work, but only creates more detachment and negative emotion. I also mentioned how it’s difficult for many men to share their feelings since they perceive this as a weakness and would rather avoid being vulnerable. The problem is that since emotions connect people, when there is little emotional conversation, there is very little connection. So how do couples go about being more “in-sync” and connected? For starters, we need to change our expectations and not assume that our partner can or will express themselves like we do. It also helps to give the other person time to process their thoughts and feelings without jumping in to interpret their emotions. In some situations being silent for a few minutes may be your best approach.
For others, a different form of expression may work better initially. For example, writing down thoughts and feelings before expressing them works better for some people. When sharing your feelings remember to focus on the behavior and not the character of the other person and be sure to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. While men connect more through activities and women through conversation, both parties can create opportunities for connection by accommodating each other. There can even be intimacy and connection through conflict if you can successfully reach resolution.
The bottom line is that we should learn to work with each other, accept our differences, and cut each other some slack. Some of us have short attention spans, others love drama/emotion, some can’t be still very long, while others enjoy sharing all the details; I could go on and on, but you get the point. We are different and need to work together, accept our differences, and focus only on changing ourselves if we want a healthy relationship. Experiencing deep, personal, and intimate conversations on a fairly consistent basis will produce a greater connection and a more joyful relationship.