Communication is a beautiful dance that takes time, effort, and commitment. Just like ballroom dancing, you must be in-sync with one another, follow each other’s guidance, and accept the flow.
When it comes to the difference of communication between the sexes, we must first look at the difference between who we are as people (not only by gender but by personality). For some, we are more emotional in our nature, love the art of weaving a story, get very passionate about things and truly the act of being heard can be healing and deepening for intimacy. Others may be more direct, to the point, logical and clear. For them, it may be confusing when someone doesn’t get to the point. Weaving a story may seem like a waste of time and deep healing connection is found more in touch, or sex, or shared experiences instead of the actual words.
Now, there are tons of communication exercises out there but one of my favorites were these “Dyads.” In this exercise, two people would communicate and the only response you were permitted to provide when you were receiving was “Thank you.”
For example: You present a question to your beloved such as: “Tell me something about you and fear” or “Tell me something about you and sex.” Questions that would allow your partner to share something personal, concerning, or maybe open the path to sharing something that may have been afraid to share before due to how they believed you would react. In response to their share, you simply say “Thank you.” The idea of saying “Thank you” is NOT saying you agreed, just that you understand.
What many people who perform this exercise realize is that when they are communicating, they are not seeking to be understood, they were wanting to be right! They were looking for validation. To feel acknowledged. The goal is to be able to listen with total allowance, non-judgment, and an open heart.
By learning that understanding does not require agreement, the next insight can pulse through you, and the next awareness bubbles up with ease. We move past the perpetual state of frustration due to feeling as if we are not being heard.
So I challenge you to try this exercise with your significant other. Just do 20 minutes to start. Only say “Thank you” to each other. No other responses, rolling eyes, heavy sighs or glances off. Stay present. When you’re done DON’T speak about it again. Just let what you learned settle into your bones, your heart, your being. See one another with soft eyes of tenderness. Be gentle with each other and most of all with yourself.