How many times have you wondered why your relationship feels like it has only grown to a certain point of depth, or felt confused about your loved one's complaints around your being
cool or distant, even abrupt or irritated in your communication? How many of you have shut down and pushed away from your partner and can't quite pinpoint what for?
The answer may lie within a very protected place in you, a place that is yearning to show more of your naturally occurring kindness, tenderness,
softening the hard edges that we may think keeps us safe from being hurt. Yet it sometimes can keep an otherwise glowing couple apart.
Following are some steps that can lead towards more feelings of warmth and being held in each other's' hearts.
Firstly, take the focus off of blame and onto what you want to shift in the interaction. Express this at a time when your frustrations have subsided from the peak they often reach in intensity during what you consider an argument that
left you sad or angry. You both can really get stronger results with this if you imagine how you personally can best express this
with a softer quality, whether it is in your tone, gestures, postures, or some more specific ways that can be enhanced with a helping professional.
Leaning towards idea two, it is important that what you come up with to communicate really is felt within you and comes across as real. Get someone to reflect back what is most receivable and believable.
Thirdly, practice speaking with gentleness
in everyday interactions in subtle ways that feel comfortable to your
personality and situation. Stop and check in with yourself after saying your words and hone as you go on if it seems awkward. For
example, "I love when you help me with the garden" instead of "Finally, I thought it would take forever for you to help me!"
Fourth, use touch with special attention to when your loved one is open to it.
You may be better than you have otherwise believed at picking up on how receptive your partner is to your taking their hand or brushing back the hair from their face, and at which
special moments. Again, stop and take in the knowing of him or her warming to you in those kind of exchanges. What is highly useful here is both of you have a better chance of
heightened memory of the event and the body will remember it at future times, working for you beneath the surface.
For number five in ways to infuse gentle loving, empathy can bring so much richness into the relationship, even outside of conflict. Your partner wants to know that you get him or her, or at least are attempting in let them know what you are hearing
from them. Take a moment to put yourself in his or her shoes, and let it be spoken in a caring way what you imagine it must be like to live in their moment. The trick here is to keep from
assuming you are correct about what your loved one experiences and to let then clarify if desired. Also remember to stop expecting he or she thinks exactly like you and to welcome
the difference...you might learn something refreshing to your mind and soul!
Finally, creative expression can touch the other deeply and can put you
in touch with yourself.
Write, write, write, use music, drawings/painting, body movements, poetry, or song. The right side of the brain is activated and heartfelt messages sparkle when shared in this way with
your Love. Can you mirror each other in this lighter state? Soften your heart and speak from it, and you can both understand the
absolute strength in gently, yet passionately, loving one another.
Carol Jaron, MFT