What is it like talking to your partner or loved ones about "touchy" subjects? Do you feel better after bringing up a tender subject or do you feel worse? When your partner starts sharing their experience with you do you feel your breath deepen or become shallow? Do your muscles relax or tighten? Do you feel interested or frightened? Do you want to lean forward or run for the door? Whatever your observations - great awareness! You are not alone. Many of us struggle to have conversations like these enrich our relationship rather than be a big bummer.
I love working with couples. I am constantly inspired by their efforts to listen and to be heard, to connect and to differentiate, to soothe and be soothed and to love and be loved. I am also privileged to discover along with my clients what stands in the way of these things happening. We also get to explore: how does each of us find and use the precious inner resources that allow us to let go of "being right" and instead be curious about the person (or people) we share our lives with?
One little phrase has single handedly helped me develop curiosity and has deepened my relationship with my partner perhaps more than any other. I also watch other couples use this phrase and like myself, slowly develop and cultivate this most precious inner resource: curiosity. This short and powerful phrase allows each partner to practice countless skills that foster intimacy and interrupt old patterns of wounding. This little phrase is:
"Tell Me More..."
Asking our partners to "tell us more" and then breathing and listening can be as challenging as it is rewarding. The old conditioning to defend or counterpoint may come up strongly. In my experience, this practice is a simple but not easy way of developing curiosity, healing old wounds, getting to know our partner, developing authenticity and affirming our humanity.