DEFINING VERBAL INTIMACY
When we’re in love our biggest desire is for our partner to “see” us. Not merely physically, but deep down inside the crevices of our heart. We want him to understand who I am! What are my dreams and talents. What makes me happy. What causes my tears. What makes anger well up inside me. What brings me the greatest joy. Do you notice my kindness to children? My love for the poor and disadvantaged. Do you feel the same …?
Are you alright with my love for my beloved dog. Do you understand why I belong to this political party or that one? Are you fine with my music choices. Or how I handle finances. Or that I don’t like your uncle Joe.
On and on it goes. And it digs deeper as the relationship progresses. You and your partner delve to communicate on the deepest level. This communication probes to assess compatibility on how to handle differences, manage disagreements, career expectations, housework, anger, jealousy, insecurities, neediness and so forth. This requires effort and hard work.
You’ve heard it said often, communication is the key to a good relationship. Communication, communication, communication is what it’s all about. This communication probes for compatibility assessing how to handle differences, how to manage disagreements.
When you’re in love you want to bond together as a harmonious couple. It’s best if you both are looking in the same direction. To ascertain this, you will have to be brave enough to ask the tough questions of your prospective mate. Why not put together a worksheet with two columns: Likes and Dislikes. Then list what your opinions are on religion, parenting, how to spend money, even politics. The more areas to consider, the better.
Next ask personal questions such as what makes you angry. Or what prompts jealousy? What are your career aspirations? Where do you like to vacation? And more. This requires maturity, effort, and a lot of Hard Work. But it’s worth it!
If the potential for lifetime love is there, couples begin to talk about their deepest thoughts, feelings, dreams, fears and joy. This is where you discover if both are similarly endowed intellectually. Doesn’t necessarily mean education because some very smart people never make it to college, but it means a couple needs to be in the same league intellectually.
They need to see things similarly and speak about them in similar ways. It doesn’t always matter so much how smart the partners are, but it does matter how close they are intellectually.
Couples need to agree upon the same values in many areas. Especially how to handle MONEY. You must be on the same page because money and finances are emotional issues. Often our self-worth is tied to how much or how little money we make. This could erupt into power and control issues.
Individual have different money histories and styles that they bring into the relationship—one may be a BIG spender; the other a penny pincher. If money issues are not clearly laid out on the table, problems will surface later and trust in the relationship can erode.
Couples need to communicate on a monthly basis about their financial status. If there are major problems you need to seek financial counseling BEFORE entering into marriage with each other.
Another area is spiritual pursuits. If one is spiritual and interested in Bible studies and prayer, and the other is not, this is a strong, fundamental issue that will cause clashes, perhaps frequent arguments as times passes. Communication helps couples sort through such value issues—or not BEFORE moving forward.
Another area that needs deep discussion is expectations about roles. This means that both partners should have compatible ideas about their duties and responsibilities in the relationship and household. (Much of this is discussed in Part 3, Marital Harmonics) of the How-to-Marry Workbook. It is when these expectations are revealed that partners become acquainted with each others’ inner workings to decide if you’re on the same page.
Again, verbal intimacy calls for laying out all your problems and concerns on the table: Problems with an ex, pressures on the job, hidden secrets, childcare issues, criminal record, substance abuse, whatever—it all needs to be brought to light. Better do it now because these issues WILL surface sooner or later). Hopefully the positives outweigh the negatives. It is this discovery that gives couples vital information about whether the two of them belong together in marriage.
The value of taking the time to assess your relationship at this level is two-fold. You may discover shared emotions and viewpoints that bind, to make you feel that you were meant for each other. Or, deep sharing may lead you to realize you don’t feel or think alike.
If these differences are significant enough, you should carefully consider your future together. Trying to force two lives together—lives that are fundamentally quite different—is the very thing that leads to unhappy and unsuccessful marriages.
When two people share deeply about themselves, they can begin to evaluate seriously whether their relationship can last a lifetime. This is why intimacy is so important for any couple considering a permanent union.
They have an opportunity to see each other at the deepest levels and assess the degree to which they are alike. They can evaluate whether or not they will be able to live their lives in harmony and in peace.
At this time of cultivating verbal intimacy many couples choose to enjoy physical sexual intimacy as well. It’s your choice. But remember, you still don’t have the ring. You still are NOT Mrs. So and So. He still hasn’t pledged unconditional love. He’s made no commitment.
You run the risk of him becoming too comfortable with the arrangement. As a result, he might postpone moving forward with marriage any time soon. Be careful!
However, if the two of you are convinced you are soul mates then you are ready to transition into phase five of the six-step dating plan.
Then with meeting of minds we can conquer the world together as one. You “see” the world in sync. In harmony. Working toward the same goals with same purpose, in the same direction.
To become mirror-mates depends upon how well you and your prospective mate take on mastering this deep soul-searching communication. This communication probes for compatibility. It assesses readiness in how to handle differences, how to manage disagreements on virtually every aspect of daily life.
In addition, your mirror-image mate is someone who has the unique ability to bring out the best in you. The only way this can be accomplished is by “knowing” one another’s inner thoughts so well that they bond with yours in shared outlook and purpose. Does your prospective partner bring out the best in you?
Verbal intimacy scrutinizes whether couples have enough in common in multiple areas of life. Are they like two birds in a pod? Singing the same tunes? Drinking from the same well of curiosity? Climbing the mountains of equal intellect, and laughing at the same joys of life? Are they crying in the same rivers of sadness at world problems–seeking solutions together in sync? Is their thinking in harmony and unity?
In conclusion remember these three points:
- If the potential for lifetime love is there, couples begin to “see” their mirror-image in each other as they talk about their deepest thoughts.
- They develop love to the point of overlooking minor weaknesses to instead focus on the positives.
- They share laughter and pain. Learn how to forgive each other. To be thankful for the love they enjoy together. To trust that both will be faithful.
Believe me, there are many more areas that need to be considered for what should be a one time commitment of marriage. So take your time to develop verbal intimacy to communicate at its highest level and you will find your mirror-mate leading to happy marriage.
Until next time.
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