Do you and your honey talk? Like, really talk, so you feel you know what’s going on in each other’s heads and hearts? For some couples, this comes naturally. Talking about the stuff that matters leads to wonderful, deep connection. Knowing what’s really going on with your partner makes it much less likely that you’ll grow apart over the years.
But for many other couples, this doesn’t just happen. Maybe you grew up with parents who were distant, or fought a lot, or avoided ever disagreeing, or were numbing themselves with alcohol or anything else—there are all sorts of ways you might not have received a template for healthy, open communication. Or maybe you just tend to be a reserved person. Or maybe you just don’t know where to begin.
If you’d like to deepen your relationship, one of the easiest ways to start is with any topic on which you have mixed feelings.
If you haven’t been talking much, you might first share this idea with your SO so you’re both on the same page. You can ask your partner about his/her mixed feelings on various things and share your own. For instance, you might talk about:
A friend you like in some ways but not in others.
An activity you enjoy sometimes but not at other times. (Or, something you used to like but are losing interest in.)
What you love about your job and what you wish you could change. (Or, if you hate your job, the parts of it that aren’t so bad.)
Good and not-so-good things about the way your family does holidays.
Things you like about your home (or a prospective home) and things you don’t.
When you share mixed feelings, be curious about what’s in the mix for your partner. Don’t get defensive if she says she’s not crazy about your mutual friend, your neighborhood, or whatever; listen to the elements in the mix for her. Maybe you’ll agree about the not-so-great parts and maybe you won’t; either way, you’ll know more about what’s going on inside.
It’s very helpful to ask follow-up questions that draw each other out. That shows you’re interested, plus it helps your partner get clearer about what’s perking in his head. With practice, you’ll come to know each other and yourselves more fully—which is what intimacy is really about.