Relationships are hard.[arrow_list]
- Are you married? It’s hard.
- Do you have a brother or sister? It’s hard.
- Do you have aging parents? It’s hard.
- Are you dating someone? Its HARD.[/arrow_list]
It is little wonder that so many Millennial’s are skipping the relationship step and diving headlong into the hookup culture.
When we are young sex is easy, intimacy is hard. But as we age sex becomes more complicated and eventually — as the hormones die down — less interesting if it is not supported by the foundation a meaningful relationship provides.
One of the skills we are intended to learn as children is how to be in relationship. But if you spend your childhood playing video games, or surfing social media looking for distraction, relational competency becomes elusive.
Even Gen Xers (those were now between the age of 30 and 50) lack many of the relational skills their grandparents took for granted. It is little wonder that we see so many falling into the trap of sexual addiction. An addictive process is the disordered comfort sought by the isolated, the alienated, and the lonely.
So if you believe there is room to strengthen your relational skills and deepen your relationships, here one thing to do to keep yourself vital, intimacy-rich, and alive.
Explore. Ask your partner questions about process.
We are talking about personal processes here. What does you partner perceive, feel, believe, and think about the word?
What does she perceive in the world. When she looks out the window what does she see? What does she hear on a busy street? How does that entrée taste, or that scoop of ice cream, or that specialty coffee she orders every day?
What we see, taste, feel, smell, and hear are filtered by what we believe to be important. Our brains automatically filter out what does not matter to us. And so when someone asks me what I see, I cannot help but reveal what I care about most.
What is true about perceiving is also true about one’s emotional experience.
When you explore, ask your partner about what they are feeling emotionally. Emotions surge thorugh our personal experience every day. Invite your partner to disclose what she is feeling and when she does, do not judge her. Simply receive her feelings as a gift.
When you explore with another person by asking questions, you are telegraphing the important message: You matter.
You are also inviting them to welcome you into their inner experience. You are saying: I want to be where you are.
When you ask a person how they are feeling, and you really want to know, they bring you inside. There you find treasure unimaginable. You discover a whole new world that you have access to in no other the way. You discover a world of another person’s unique experience. When that discovery is followed up with affirmation, appreciation, and validation you will be amazed how much easier your relationships become.
Relationships are hard. They become so much easier when you take the time to explore the personal world in which other people live. So put down your smart phone and look into the eyes of that person sitting across the table from you and simple, “What do you see?”
You may be amazed to discover where the conversation takes you.
Image by: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ