We have to talk about what’s bugging us, what we want from the other, our dreams and disappointments.
And we have to listen, really listen to what the other is saying.
What can we do to avoid fighting or arguing entirely? What about our financial situation might become a recurring problem? What about our work might become a recurring problem? How will we let each other know what we want sexually? What will I have to say to get your attention when I’ve not been able to? What need of yours have I not been able to satisfy? What kind of memories do we want to create together? What will keep us happily together for years to come? What will be the early warning signs that our relationship is in trouble? How will you be able to forgive me if I’ve done something that really hurts you? What will you do if you feel tempted by another person? What personality differences do we have that might cause a problem? When we argue, how will you take responsibility for your part of the problem?
Good and close relationships require letting go of some of that turf, compromising, and accepting that the other person’s needs and feelings are as valid as our own.
Simply living in the same space with another person provides plenty of fodder for arguments.
As stilted as it may seem, meeting with your spouse or partner on a regular basis to ask questions and learn about each other will protect your relationship from altercations and even better, it will create a new level of intimacy between you.1.
What should I never say to you, even in anger or frustration? How much time and space do we need apart from each other? What activities and interests can we develop that will bring us closer?
When you are first in love, the boxers left on the floor are just adorable. But eventually, familiarity breeds, if not contempt, plenty of irritation.
All problems in relationships boil down to one thing: lack of communication. We are turf-oriented creatures, even with our most intimate relationships. Whether our concerns relate to money, sex, kids, affection, career or any of the various reasons we fight or get angry, when we don’t communicate our needs and discuss our differences, things will inevitably break down. We want to protect what’s ours — emotionally, psychologically, and physically — often at the expense of those we love most. How can we both get our needs met when we want different things on a particular day? What happens if one of us needs more space that the other? You must exercise some self-control, even when strong feelings make you want to say unspeakable things. The most successful, intimate relationships involve proactive communication before a fight ever breaks out. What happens if we can’t agree on something important that involves both of us? What kind of physical touch best says “I love you” to you? What could I do that would cause you to pull away from me?
To do that, you must divorce yourself from your personal needs long enough to put first.
That means communication can’t devolve into protecting your turf or being right. When you get home from work, what would you like me to do or say in the first few minutes? Who do we know that has the kind of intimacy that we want? What changes will I need to make in order for you to be really happy? Where will we be in this relationship five years from now?