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The One Thing You’re Not Saying

On Zen Wednesday

In close relationships we all want to be seen, to be understood, to be accepted and loved for who we really are. We don’t want to have to wear the mask, walk on eggshells, twist the truth or withhold information to make things run “smoothly”. I want to be my authentic self and be loved for it. This is true intimacy. This is the heart connection that takes a relationship to the next level.

The trouble is that the path to intimacy is often littered with roadblocks made of fear. We are afraid that when we reveal our true selves, we might not be accepted. We fear that if he/she knew what I’m really thinking, if they knew what was buried way down deep, the relationship might not survive. And this is scary territory to explore! The Ben and I have what I consider a really solid relationship. (I would hope so, because I married the guy…right??) But a good marriage doesn’t magically just happen when you say “I do”, it’s something you work at, and continue to build on in order to grow and develop both as partners and as individuals.

Recently, the Ben and I have been working on improving open communication and he introduced me to an idea that I want to share with you. It’s an exercise designed to increase intimacy and it starts with a question – “What’s the One Thing You’re Not Saying?”

Think about your husband, wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, best friend, mother/father, etc. What aren’t you talking about? There! Did you feel it? That nagging sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach the minute I asked that question? Did a thought swim across your consciousness and you dismissed it or pushed it back down for being too controversial, too potentially harmful, or too difficult to bring up? THAT! Now we’re on to something. What is that thing you’re not talking about….Are you worried about their health? Is the sex not working for you? Do you not agree with how they are managing their finances? Are you worried they’re not attracted to you anymore? Do you disagree on how to discipline your children? Do you have an issue with their family? If something pops into your head when considering the question, then you definitely have a topic worth sharing that could deepen the relationship if communicated effectively. Remember intimacy is about being close to your partner, it’s about being able to let your guard down and let them know how you really feel.

The Ben came to me with the idea of sharing “One Thing” and I was open to it. And I think to have an effective conversation like this; both sides need to at least agree to the concept up front so as not to shut down when the difficult subject is broached. Because, let’s be honest, this could be incendiary stuff. It could just as easily blow up in your face as bring you together, depending on how the whole thing is handled. Once the concept is agreed to, I’d try and come at this from a love-centered approach which would maximize the possibility for an okay outcome. This worked for us. I suggest four things in the initial conversation:

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