I usually update this blog quite a lot. I love to write and therapy sessions offer such fertile soil for topics. It’s probably impossible to go a day without something that I think might make a good entry. But I have been tired lately.
I’ve been tired and pregnant.
Dan and I have long been on the fence about having a third child. We hemmed and hawed and discussed the endless pros and cons of the situation. And, as good ol’ John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.” I’m not sure John meant to apply that quote to the inconsistent use of birth control. But, nonethless, we have been blessed with the gift of a third, so far healthy, addition to our family. Delight that the universe just went ahead and made this decision for me not withstanding, I’m really ready to get this kid out of my tummy and into the real world. Even I am finding my sudden and oddly specific devotion to cornichons and gorgonzola cheese to be a bit tiresome.
Given the context of my life lately, I have been dwelling a bit on the nature of gifts. Not just the tangible kind we wrap up in a ribbon, but the unexpected little easter eggs life can leave for us when we are not expecting it. If you’ve read my last few blogs, you know I have been musing on how couples get out of problematic communication patterns and work their ways to something better. We’ve covered adequate apologies, listening well, kindness when you don’t feel like it and most importantly, questions.
The asking of good questions is a frequent topic on this blog because I think it is one of the single most essential skills you have in your arsenal. True story. I am often heard in session asking clients to repeat back what they think their partners have said with one important addition–at least one question. I usually require something along the lines of, “Is that right? Is there anything I missed?”
See, most people think that the easter egg–the gift–is in getting the interpretation of what your partner said right. That’s nice, but that’s not really it.
No, the gift is in asking the question.
An invitation to really explore yourself through conversation without interruption is a tremendous luxury. We all know we are connected to someone else when that person offers an intense, purposeful curiosity. It’s one of the hallmarks of courtship and that’s why we miss it so much. When I ask clients what they pine for most about their early days together they often say something along the lines of, “We could stay up all night just talking to one another.” You could do that because each person was a good steward of the conversation, building on what the other said with insight and questions designed to get to know one another better.
When you go into your partnership with the firm belief that since people change, you can never know everything about him or her, you work harder to keep the relationship connected. You ask good questions that keep you in the loop. I know we’re cooking with gas when longtime couples say to one another, “Wow, I didn’t know you felt that way.” That means those partners are open to accepting the idea that knowing one another is an ongoing journey, not a destination that we reach.
Would you like to learn more about what kinds of questions will help you remain connected to your partner? Are you making a run to Whole Foods and want to drop off some cornichons? Why don’t you come on in so we can talk about it.
Your Partner in Healing,
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