What is a relationship, anyway? Isn’t it a connection between people? Actually, the very definition of a relationship is the state of being connected. Many relationship experts say that feeling of being connected is the most important thing in relationships. Most of us or at least I believed that relationships were all about communication. While communication is an important part of the connection, it’s that feeling of connection that is most important. The sense that our significant other is on our team, routing us on, supporting us. Good open communication IS important but the most important thing in a healthy relationship according to behavioral research is a sense of connection. Two people can communicate with amazing openness but without that sense of connection, there is no relationship.
What happens if we communicate our feelings, concerns, joys, or anything without feeling connected? We probably won’t feel heard or understood no matter how articulate we might be. Now, what about communicating when we feel connected. We’re listening and responding, making an effort to understand and responding to cues in a way that makes it easier for the other person to understand.
So what if we’re in a relationship and we’re feeling disconnected from our significant other. How do we increase our connection when we’re not feeling it. Well, I went looking for that answer and found an interesting article, 7 Ways to Create Connection with Your Partner. In this article, relationship expert Dr. Margaret Paul, writes that the first step is to connect with yourself and prepare yourself to be willing to connect with another. I found her first advice very interesting. Probably because I recently ready some neuroscientific research that showed the same part of our brain is active when we are evaluating ourselves (our feelings, beliefs) as when we are connecting with other people. So knowing ourselves helps us to connect with other people.
Before I go on to her other recommendations, I want to take a minute to thank our sponsor, Audible audio books and to remind you that you can get a free audio book. Audible has over 180,000 titles and they are offering Rockin’ Life listeners a free trial and free audio book download when you go to rockinbook.com and sign up. If you cancel your membership, you still keep the book. If you do cancel, don’t forget to cancel before you’re charged. The website again is rockinbook.com
The second thing Dr. Paul suggests is to be open to learning rather than trying to control others. We know we can’t really control anyone else, anyway. When we try, we lose control of ourselves. Our focus becomes the behavior of someone else rather than the only thing we can control, our own choices. So to create connection, we want to be open to learning about and accepting ourselves and our significant other.
Next, it’s important to be present. We all know what it feels like to talk to someone who is lost in thought a million miles away. We may as well be talking to a wall. So when we are with our significant other we need to be present and listen. Listen to understand. If we often find ourselves preoccupied when in conversation, Dr. Paul suggests examining what you might avoiding in ourselves. But maybe, we’ve just gotten into a habit of being disconnected. We can make an effort to be present.
The next thing we want to do is focus on what we value in the other person and in ourselves. We can choose to focus on flaws or on value. We may have gotten into a habit of only seeing the ways we believe another person lets us down. The week I talked about gratitude, I told of how Darren Hardy wrote down one thing he appreciated about his wife every day for a whole year. He said that action made a remarkable difference in his marriage. His focus changed and everything changed.
While we’re doing all of this introspective work, we need to have some fun. Remember why we first felt a connection with this person who is so important to us. Make some plans. Do something enjoyable together. Have some fun. Find some joy. Laugh. It’s amazing what a little break from every day will do for you individually and as a couple.
Then we want to take another look at what brings joy to our significant other. Is it something we can enjoy too or at least support? Does he or she play soccer or sing in a band or group? Instead of sending him off by himself. Go be a fan. I knew a very sweet couple alive, in love after 50 years of marriage. The wife once told me that there was a time she thought she was becoming a golf widow. She decided to take up golf herself and they enjoyed his passion together. In the end they were almost inseparable cooking, and playing and laughing together.
Last, show compassion when your significant other needs it. Be there and be supportive.
If you want to read the whole article about making connections, I’ll put a link to it on my website rockinlife.co. Tomorrow, we’ll share our interview with Shannon Cunningham LeBlanc. She didn’t find love right away but finally got it right and now she helps other people strengthen their relationships.
Thank you for listening today. Don’t forget to share this episode with a friend or on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. And then come back tomorrow. Have a great day. We’ll talk again.