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Talk About More Than Chores  

In last month’s newsletter we addressed the need to talk nicely to each other in order to keep love alive in a relationship.  What you talk about is also important.  For many couples, their communication is limited primarily to what I call “instrumental communication,” or communication that allows them to maintain and keep the household running.  This involves deciding who will do what chores, checking and integrating schedules, and dealing with issues that affect the children.

In keeping love alive it is important for couples to talk to each other in ways that allow them to get to know each other better.  The best way to do this is to share emotional experiences, values, and goals for the future.

Work takes up a good portion of most of our lives and knowing our partner’s experience of work can help in this.  I often hear people have difficulty listening to their partner’s talk of their work because they don’t understand the work, aren’t interested in it, or don’t know the people involved.  I suggest that couples learn to talk with each other about the emotional impact work has on them on a day to day basis rather than the details of what has happened.  You might not be able to understand that details of a new project your spouse got dropped on them, but can certainly understand the pressure and anxiety that might come with it. 

Of course, this may require you practice some new ways of talking about experience.  Many of us aren’t particularly good at sharing our emotional experience.  Practice in doing that should help you and your partner to get to know each other as well.

Another area that is a very good area to share is in dreams and hopes for the future.  When couples share what is important for them in the future and what they strive for and hope for, it helps them understand each other more.  One of the things that most contributes to a long lasting connection is having a shared view of the future and shared goals.  In order to develop shared goals, couples need to start sharing their own hopes, dreams, and goals. 

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