Stop Talking About Your Relationship and Just Live It

Photo: Thinkstock
Stop Talking About Your Relationship and Just Live It

It's no secret that communication is the cornerstone of every healthy relationship. But there is such a thing as over communicating. Sometimes talking can become the root of the problem rather than the solution to it. When this happens, it's important to be able to take a step back and recognize that words are no replacement for actions. You can talk about how something needs to change until you're blue in the face, but unless you actually implement the changes, nothing will ever get better.

This is a somewhat simplistic and low-stakes example, but it illustrates my point. When I was just out of college I had a (fairly horrible) roommate who would regularly call house meetings in order to talk about how the house was always a mess. She would get all revved up about implementing a cleaning schedule, but then never actually follow through with it herself. But that didn't stop her from constantly talking about how we all had a responsibility to pull our own weight. Obviously she was an annoying narcissist, but she does provide a good example of the type of person who doesn't understand that talking is only the first part of the solution.

When it comes to most arguments in a marriage or a relationship, they usually erupt from little more than differing points of view. One person sees something one way, the other sees it the opposite way, fighting ensues. And as I've written here before, it's important in a fight to try to understand, not try to win. But often, that understanding comes from listening to more than the actual words coming out of your partner's mouth. It comes from “listening" to your entire life together, i.e. being observant and less self-absorbed. Talking has its place. But being other-centered and self-aware will always trump mere words.

Very often, the best couples I've known seem to intuit what the other is thinking before they actually say it out loud. Obviously this sort of unspoken connection takes time build, but the way to get there involves being present and engaged with your partner rather than merely asking them what they want. Which is what I mean by living your relationship rather than talking it. You have to take in everything about them, their motivations, their fears, what makes them happy or bummed out. It requires you to get out of your own head, or as in the case of our generation, your phone, and actually absorb the life that's happening around you. Talking will never be enough to fully connect with the person you're married to. So stop all that talking and just live your lives together. You'll be amazed by what you discover if you do.


Fight to Understand, Don't Fight to Win

The Truth: What He Really Notices About You

Don't Believe What They Say: Go to Bed Angry