Do you listen as much as you talk?
Who remembers that giddy time in the beginning of a relationship – when all the happy hormones are in play, when you are constantly in the throes of lust, desire and attraction and you just can’t keep your hands off one another! You remember?… talking late into the night, missing each other terribly when you’re apart? This is an emotionally intense, uplifting and magical time for couples.
Yet, inevitably, one day, the honeymoon wears off. And it’s here we begin to get weighed down by the dullness of domesticity, the stresses of work and feel the loss of the spark. While this sounds like doom and gloom in the romance and passion stakes, fear not…It is not the end, it actually is the beginning of a deeper and longer lasting connection – real love. But how do we cultivate this and not become complacent?
According to Dr Mark Holder, from the the University of British Columbia, who is heading up a research team studying happiness, this all can change with just three words. ‘Tell Me More”
This work resonates on a deep level for us at Shift, where we do a lot of relationship therapy.
Exploring and learning new ways to nurture fulfilling, passionate and dynamic relationships speaks to the tools for strengthening emotional connections, and repairing emotional disconnections.
Dr Mark Holder’s work suggests that this path of fostering deeper emotional connections requires us to take the time to enquire how happy our partner is, and it is as simple as asking the question…and listening to their answer.
Holder explains that listening is not just about taking in information. Listening is an act of love that validates the speaker. And so the magic, the sweet spot is regularly using these three words in your relationships: “Tell me more.”
It is this intention that lets your partner know that their story matters to you. Reinforce this by following up with the words: “What happened next?”
It is powerfully therapeutic to feel truly heard, knowing that your partner is not itching to say their piece; will not interrupt, be dismissive, offer solutions, or be judgmental.
Today, you can begin. Have that conversation with your partner, and make a commitment to take some quality time for yourselves, no matter how busy you are. Your relationship matters and your connection is everything.