Most couples or relationships I work with come in because of repeated communication breakdowns, their inability to talk to each other, have and get through conversations that need to be had, i.e. regarding unexpressed feelings and unresolved issues. As a facilitator of conversations, I give them directives and opportunities to practice and develop essential communication skills like listening, self-disclosing, asking questions, which can feel laborious and interminably slow going sometimes.
They (and we) grow weary and discouraged by their seeming inability to communicate through their conflicts and wish for the day they can, once and for all, learn constructive ways to resolve their issues and instead be moving towards deepening their connection and intimacy. What's become apparent in these situations is that they are not listening to each other, don't know they are not really listening and that they don't know how to listen; they were never taught or learned the art of listening. They talk at each other, not to each other; keep saying the same things over and over again, going around and around like a broken record. Couples wishing to get past trying in vain to clean up their messes that seem to never get worked out, and instead to be doing to make the relationship work better, to feel closer and more connected and to deepen their intimacy. And, one of the things they must do is to learn how to listen better. A slight improvement in your ability to listen can make a huge and empowering difference, when you can get through conversations that need to be had. Yes! Rely on the connections you make and intimacy you create for sustenance.
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