One thing I really love and appreciate in my marriage to Alan is that we are very willing – and able, to converse with each other. For example, last Sunday afternoon we sat in bed with a bottle of wine, and talked to each other for about five hours and thoroughly enjoyed the intimacy in doing so. This wasn’t idle chit chat.
Conversation is a skill
Over the years we have been together, we have become aware of the importance of conversation for promoting intimacy, and we have made a point of consciously developing our conversation skills with each other.Although we routinely chat or talk to each other and have discussions about many things, we recognise that a conversation is different and the ability to hold a conversation is, in my view, a fundamental relating skill.
We learn from our parents
In my first marriage which finished in a very acrimonious divorce, we rarely had a conversation with each other. We thought we did because we talked a lot, but we would be listening with a view to dispute or discount what the other was saying. At best we would just be waiting to say what we wanted to say. We never really HEARD each other.
We had both grown up in a working class Irish culture where although witty and charming, people liked to hear themselves talking and however good naturedly, would aim to talk each other down. In a marriage, over time, this is erosive and corrosive to the relationship.
Conversation is not just talking
I see couples who have real difficulty expressing themselves to each other. Often it is the case that when people meet and are attracted to each other, they spend a lot of time talking and exchanging history and information with each other about their families, their work, previous relationships and holidays etc.. Then they decide to marry and set up home together and perhaps start a family; lots to talk about there, but several years down the line when all these events are over, they realise, they have nothing to say to each other. In fact, they may never have had a real conversation.
Role modelling for your children
This doesn’t mean that they are not right for each other, it just means that they lack conversational skills. Sadly, without these skills they are unable to maintain a connection with each other or to be able to resolve conflicts which inevitably arise. They are likely to break up, and then go and repeat the whole scenario with someone else, maybe even several times.
The amount of heartache generated is not to be underestimated. The tragedy is that they role model this for their children, who go out into the world and make the same mistakes. It is all avoidable, if only they took the time to learn conversation skills and practice this together.
Those of you who drive will know what a useful skill that is and how much easier it makes life. Equally, learning conversation skills can transform your relationships.
Free video series
I see conversation skills as so fundamental and crucial to enriching and sustaining intimacy and passion in relationships, that I am creating a series of short videos which I shall make available soon.
Watch out for them and learn how to become really skilled, not just in making conversation, but in being a great conversationalist!
Grace Chatting, located in Plymouth, UK, is a Transformation and Relationship coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Family Mediator and Psychotherapist. Her passion is empowerment arising from personal growth, integrity and authenticity.
Grace can be found on her blog
Grace can be reached on (44) 07816491165 if you wish to arrange a consultation