Talking vs Communicating (Marriage Series pt. 2)

 

Many people would have you believe that talking and communicating are the same thing. The truth of the matter is you can talk to someone and not effectively communicate with them. A lot of conversations we have are just merely one person talking to another person very rarely are we as individuals communicating with one another.

In order to talk all you have to do is open your mouth and allow the words to come out; the words don’t have to have any depth and/or meaning they just have to be present. The things that come out of your mouth are not effective and do not communicate full and cognizant thoughts until you put some thought behind your words.

To effectively communicate you must do more than talk; you must listen, you must speak with clear intent and you must believe in what you are saying to some degree. We as human beings have loved to talk since the beginning of time. From the moment our primal grunts and moans evolved into words we were well on our way to being the top species in the food chain. The funny thing is all living creatures communicate with one another; meaning they talk to one another in one way or another to convey a thoughts and/or feelings. Just because we form what we now know to be words does not make us any more effective in our communication tactics then any other species. In actuality the reverse may be true. Animals communicate with direction and expressed intent and we oftentimes just talk for the sake of talking. We will never know how effective other species’ communication skills are  as compared to our own.

Now with regard to relationships and marriages communication is Paramount. You must be able to effectively express what you were thinking and feeling to such a detailed degree that your partner will have a full understanding of what you need and want.

I have said many times before that we like to talk just to hear ourselves talk. We as individuals like to be heard and we also like to be right but fundamentally that is still not communicating. The one thing we need to do in order to survive in any type of situation but especially a marriage is communicate. We must learn to talk but also we must learn to listen and really hear our partner. To fully hear someone and receive their message we must be open to the message that they are conveying. We must be willing to accept truths and perceptions about ourselves that we may not believe and/or embrace. We must stop talking just to be heard. We must be willing to step outside of ourselves and understand that the universe does not revolve solely around us as an individual. There are other people who matter just as much as we believe we do. In doing and embracing all these things, ways of life and feelings we will be able to move forward and grow as individuals enough that we will have the ability to move on and communicate with one another to such a degree that not only are we listening but we are also hearing; not only are we talking but we are also communicating.

Sex vs Intimacy (Marriage Series pt.1)

Let’s face it we are a visually and sexually charged society. Everything we do is contingent upon our physical reaction to people, places and things. Very rarely is our perception of something or someone impacted by how we feel and it’s sad to say that marriage is no different. In a perfect world every marriage would be filled with love, honesty and the willingness to grow and compromise. But since that’s not the case let’s dive in to the core of what most marriages have a problem with.

It is sad to realize that in this day and age many adults don’t know the difference between sex and intimacy. Many have been led to believe that sex and intimacy are one in the same and that is furthest from the truth. Sex and intimacy are markedly different and the sooner we understand that the happier we as human beings can be.

The reason that I say sex and intimacy are two different things is due in part to the fact that sex is a physical act nothing more nothing less and conversely intimacy takes place on a physical and emotional level. This is why individuals can have sex with someone they don’t like, someone they are not attracted to and/or someone they have no intention of reproducing with or building a future with.

Let’s take a moment to look at the two and how they differ…

Sex is defined as “either the male or female division of a species especially as differentiated with reference to the reproductive functions; the instinct or attraction drawing one sex toward another or it’s manifestation in life and conduct.” Now that is the most basic definition of sex but to delve a little deeper and look at it as a verb and/or action sex is defined as “to arouse sexually; to increase the appeal of, to make more interesting, attractive or exciting.” Those two different definitions come from the English dictionary but to look further at the British dictionary’s definition for sex it is defined as “feelings or behavior resulting from the urge to gratify the sexual instinct.” This would be the more accurate definition for what we are talking about.

In discussing a physical act one must take a moment to look at what the act is. When looking at sex in the physical form it is just that, it is a physical act taking place between two entities; and since we are humans we are looking at sex between humans regardless of gender sex is an act that can, does and will continue to take place until this world is no longer in existence.

Most problems in a marriage arise with sex at the forefront when both parties don’t have a clear understanding of what sex really is. Notice in all the definitions listed there is not one reference to feelings and/or emotion and that is solely because the active sexual intercourse has nothing to do with either.

Once you strip away all the bullshit and propaganda surrounding sex and sexuality you will see that sex was created so that the human race can reproduce and continue the cycle of life that was it…nothing more.

Now intimacy on the other hand is a whole other ball game; it is something that many of us have yet to fully understand and/or master.

Intimacy is defined as the state of being intimate; a close, familiar and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person; and act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection or the like; the quality of being comfortable, warm or familiar. In looking at all those definitions notice that there is no mention of physicality; all of those definitions are indicative of something that you feel.

Therein lies our quandary…

Believe it or not a relationship can survive without sex but conversely will wither and die without intimacy. Sex is something we as human beings do because it feels good, because we are trying to have a child or because we are attempting to connect with another human being on a deeper level. Intimacy on the other hand is not something we strive to do and/or accomplish it is simply something that we experience like a moment in time.

Within a marriage many individuals hit a wall when they cannot find a healthy balance between sex and intimacy. Married couples have to first understand each parties views on sex and intimacy. Too many in today’s society tend to believe that sex is everything when in fact it is a minuscule portion of a relationship. We have been so desensitized to feeling and embracing real emotion that we tend to only lend credence to those things that are tangible meaning we can feel them immediately and/or touch them within the moment. And that my friends is exactly what the definition of sex is; it is physical. Due to a lack of misunderstanding and miseducation we no longer look at the emotional and psychological aspects of our relationships. Intimacy occurs within a marriage when the parties connect on a deeper level. It occurs within the moments of the marriage; the loving gazes, the handholding for no reason at all, the slight touches and caresses that happen out of the blue completely unprovoked, the sitting in the bed watching television, the reading of a novel together. Those were just examples of intimate moments but they happen in some marriages all day every day with no immediate sexual gratification being reached; that is true intimacy.

The sooner we begin to understand the differences that exist between physical and psychological the sooner we will be able to find peace within the confines of marriage.

When two people have two completely different views on what they want and need from their mate there will always be dissension and unhappiness. Know the difference. Embrace and understand them both. Communicate your view points to your partner. And fully understand your needs.

When all those things are done; that is where you will find a healthy and happy correlation between sex and intimacy because though they are very different they are also very complementary to one another.

Running vs. Restructuring (pt. 2)

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Restructuring is defined as:

1. to change, alter or restore the structure of

2. to effect a fundamental change in (as in organization or system)

3. to restructure something

Now as it relates to interpersonal relationships this can be viewed as a good (and a bad) thing. Overall, change is always needed but not necessarily always welcomed. Relationships are constantly growing, constantly evolving as we humans change on a daily basis and in a relationship that can mean a lot of things.

The key to restructuring is knowing what exactly it is that you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to fix (restructure) a relationship or are you trying to start over as an individual and fix (rebuild) yourself?

Something does not necessarily have to be “broken” to need fixing. Most things require a minor tweak or two from time to time to keep them running smoothly. For instance, if your oil light comes on, you don’t junk the car…you take it to be tweaked (oil change) but subsequently if your entire electrical system goes out you may elect to junk that particular vehicle because the cost and time required to fix the problem may be too much for you to handle. The trick is knowing when to say when.

Knowing when you as the individual must take precedent over the relationship is paramount in relationship survival (or demise).

 

Running vs. Restructuring (pt. 1)

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Running is defined as:

1. the act of a person, animal or thing that runs.

2. managing or directing.

3. an act or instance of running.

Now, nowhere in those definitions do you see anything that pertains to a relationship and that’s simply because you cannot run from a situation. I’ll get back to this point.

In a relationship, many people choose to think that when things go wrong they can (or should) just run away from the problem and it will fix itself. Most people accomplish this by just shutting down altogether and/or leaving the relationship. Neither of these tactics will ever work because (once again) you cannot run away from a  situation. Situations/relationships have to be worked out, restructured and or resolved.

Working it out – Communication is imperative (I say this a lot) and is needed if one is ever to resolve issues of any kind. Shutting down only leads to further discontent and small pockets of issues that never get resolved. This leads to further issues and resentment.

Restructuring – After a healthy line of communication has been established (healthy meaning that both parties not only talk to each other but are fully heard by each other) couples can get to the restructuring (rebuilding) of their relationship (if applicable). Rebuilding after massive issues in a relationship can be hard but necessary if the relationship is to last.

Resolving – after all has been said and done there will be decisions to be made and sometimes the only way to resolve an issue is to let it go. Each relationships resolution will be different contingent upon ALL the factors that caused the issue in the first place in addition to how those issues were handled.

More to come in part 2 in which we will discuss how to effectively restructure something that has been damaged.

Relatives In Your Relationship

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This is a touchy topic for many but in actuality it is a simple issue to remedy – KEEP YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY MEMBERS OUT OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP!

See, quite simple. The biggest problem we have as individuals entering into a relationship is separating ourselves from our “single self”. In order to be successfully married (or in a committed relationship) one must realize that it is them as an individual in entering the relationship therefore everything else (other relationships) must be categorized accordingly.

Your friends and family members should NEVER take precedent over your chosen mate. Too often we are accustomed to running to family and friends for everything and oftentimes continue this practice even after we are in a relationship. This is what causes the discord and discontent within your relationship.

No one should be able to tell you how to exist within your relationship because it is your relationship. It’s okay to seek opinions on certain issues and/or subjects but the final say within your marriage/relationship should come from only you and your partner. STOP telling your family all of your business because they only see your partner in the light you show them in. They do not experience your partner on the same level that you do. This is why you can vent to your family about a perceived problem and then later you and your partner work it out but your family is still angry at your partner.

The bottom line is we are who we were raised to be but thats where the familial interference ends.

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When It’s Over

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It has been said that at some point all good things must come to an end; to some extent this is a true sentiment. The part that separates the men from the boys and the girls from the women is how one chooses to deal with the ending of something they once held dear.

As with all things beautiful in life there is a dark side and the ending of a once loving relationship can bring out the worst in people. Hurt breed bitterness and bitterness breed ugliness. Simply put, a person with a broken heart will most often talk and behave uncharacteristically. Now, I’m not saying that because someone with a broken heart has a free pass to act a fool but it happens.

When a relationship ends tempers flare, feelings are hurt and people lash out. If you find yourself on the receiving end of the ugliness, I implore you to always be aware of everything happening around and to you. Document everything; keep messages, voicemails, texts, social media posts and so on. You never know when the “injured” party will strike out. If you are the injured party, I would advise that before you make any rash decisions and/or snap out you take stock of your life and what is at stake as everyone will not perceive you as the victim and may respond in return with aggression.

Emotionally, one must be able to step outside of the hurt and full inventory their emotional and psychological well-being. All relationships end for a reason and regardless of fault the fact remains that it ended. Mourn the loss of the relationship, take note of the parts you played in the relationship’s demise, work at being a better you for the yourself as well as your next relationship and move the heck on. There is no need to dwell on the ideals of what “once was”.

The worst thing a person can do at the ending of a relationship is brood over the loss. The longer you hold on to the negative feelings related to the break-up the longer it will take you to get over it.

Here are some tips designed to help you move on:

  1. Don’t contact the person (if there are children involved; only contact the other party as it relates to the kids…nothing more).
  2. Don’t lurk/stalk the person on social media – cut all ties (no need to torture yourself with what that person is doing as they move on).
  3. Cut ties with the person’s family even if only for a while. We tend to form bonds with families that we don’t want to let go of but you have to…at least for a little while.
  4. Don’t let mutual friends report that person’s movements to you. When someone tries to broach the subject of your ex, don’t indulge them – shut the conversation down immediately.
  5. Work on you – meditate, journal and/or try therapy to help you process.

Don’t let a relationship coming to an end define your existence.

Bitterness is not an attractive trait – shake it off and keep it moving.

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