Use Transformational Conversations to Deepen Your Relationship

How To Deepen Your RelationshipHere’s something you may have noticed about guys:

You can’t get a word in edgewise when you first start dating…

And then you can’t get a word out of him for the next 20 years.

Men get that they have to communicate to make a woman fall in love.

But it’s almost as if they use up their entire supply of words in the first month of dating.

They’ve wooed you and won you, and now they can relax into being who they really are.

Which, in many cases, means someone who sees words as practical tools rather than a source of pleasure.

The same probably isn’t true for you.

For most women and some men, talking is pleasurable. It feels good. It helps you feel connected. It lifts your spirit and recharges your soul.

So it can feel awful when the one you love only talks to you when there’s something necessary to discuss.

It’s a trap so many couples fall into. The longer they’re together, the less they talk to each other.

Communication is primarily practical, focusing on getting life organized: who’s going to pick up the kids, what’s happening this weekend, when is the car due for a service, etc.

How can you start talking again, like you did when you were dating?

How can you have the kind of conversation that keeps you up until the wee hours of the night, drunk on each other’s words?

Some strategies are obvious:

  • Make time for talking. If you switch the television on as soon as you get home and pick up your phone the minute you sit down, the chances of having a good conversation are slim. Give yourselves the daily gift of 15 minutes of non-digital peace.
  • Create openings for good conversations. Master the art of asking intriguing questions, ones that hook his interest. By now, you know which questions rarely elicit a reply (“Hi, honey, how was your day?”) and which questions fire him up (“Who do you think will win the playoffs?”). Get him talking, even if the subject isn’t one that excites you.
  • Listen. If you’re not listening, he’ll stop talking. We all have a gut instinct that tells us when someone’s not paying attention. It may be a great timesaver to do the dishes and tidy up while you’re having a chat, but he may perceive multitasking as a sign you’re not really interested in what he has to say.

There’s another strategy, though, that I find exciting.

It involves creating the space for transformational conversations.

These are conversations that leave you changed. You see something as a result of that conversation you never saw before. You understand him or yourself in a completely different way. The way you look at the world shifts.

Chances are, you had transformational conversations in the beginning of your relationship, as you shared your thoughts and beliefs about the world and the kind of lives you wanted to live.

By now you assume you know all that about each other. You don’t have to ask each other what you believe and what you want, because you assume you know the answers.

But here’s the key:

None of us know our partners as well as we think.

Our partners ALWAYS have the capacity to surprise us, enlighten us, and jolt us out of complacency.

And transformational conversations are one tool to do that.

So how do you have a transformational conversation?

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How to Outsmart He-Said-She-Said Arguments

How to Outsmart He-Said-She-Said ArgumentsDid you know there’s a hidden danger in trusting your own memory?

Most of us think of our memory like a personal video recorder. When you remember something, it’s like sitting down in the theater of your own mind and pressing play.

Except, that’s not how memory works. Research Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus knows first hand.

When Loftus was 44 years old, her uncle told her that as a child she discovered her mother in the pool after an accidental drowning. Loftus had no memory of seeing her mom’s body, but she trusted her uncle.

Before long, she started remembering. She could picture details of the day. How her mom was dressed. Even the lights of the police cars.

Which is odd because, as it turns out, her uncle was mistaken. Loftus didn’t witness any of it. Instead, her mind created memories to match what her uncle said.[1]

That’s memory for you. We think of it as an accurate recording, but Loftus is famous for her research that shows how bad eye-witness accounts can be.  It turns out, our memories are surprisingly malleable.[2]

Memories change over time. They morph and combine. Sometimes we add to them. Sometimes we edit details out. Even otherwise honest folks have been known to fabricate entire scenes, believing something happened that never did.

Okay, so there’s A LOT we could explore here, but let’s narrow our focus. How does this affect your relationship?

That depends entirely on how much you let it.

Below are two tips for minimizing the impact of less-than-accurate memories—yours AND his! If you’re tired of he-said-she-said fights, keep reading.

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How to Know if He’s Worth It . . . On the First Date

How to Know if He’s Worth ItWant to play a fun (and completely immature) game? Fantastic. Answer the following question.

What’s the most ridiculous reason you’ve ever given for breaking up?

There’s a viral post making the rounds on social media. It includes some priceless answers to that question. Here are some of the ones that made me laugh (or cringe) the most.

  • When he made a mistake, he’d say “my bag” instead of “my bad.”
  • He pronounced the “L” in salmon.
  • He wore jean shorts.
  • He told me I was sitting in his cat’s chair.

Funny, right? But let’s explore the deeper side of this thing. Do you really think any of these people broke up because of the stuff listed above?

Of course not. Each justification is just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

In other words, if your dream guy wore the tackiest pair of jean shorts imaginable, you’d be embarrassed, but you wouldn’t ditch him.

In a sense, dating is a process of elimination. We get to know other people until we decide we’re no longer a good match. And we keep doing that until we meet the one.

But sometimes it’s hard to see it’s time to move on. After all, even short dating relationships represent an investment of time and emotion. It’s not always easy to walk away.

What if there was a way to determine early on if a guy even stands a shot at being a good match? Like, on the first date.

There is.

In fact, there’s ONE THING that determines, more than anything else, if real romance is possible.

If this one thing happens on a first date, there’s potential. If it doesn’t, don’t wait for him to ask you to get out of his cat’s chair. Just move on.

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What Men Need More than Pep Talks When Feeling Stressed

how to help your man when he's stressed outMany of the women I know can give a motivational speech better than any keynote speaker.

If you’re having a tough time, these women are the ones you want by your side.

They’re supportive, encouraging, and positive. When they see that someone is feeling down, they make it their job to bring that person back up again.

I think that’s wonderful. I value having people like that in my life.

But I’m also aware that their supportive nature can backfire on them … particularly in romantic relationships.

Men don’t always appreciate motivational speeches. They don’t necessarily want help to feel better. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need a woman’s support.

In a minute, I’ll share with you an extremely effective way to help the man in your life when he’s going through a tough time.

But first, let’s look at why men and women respond to support so differently.

We live in a world where everyone is supposed to be happy and having fun all the time. Social media captures the highlights of people’s lives.  Which makes us feel bad when we compare our lives to their seemingly exciting lives, full of funny and interesting posts.

Things do get hard at times. But, because it’s not necessarily socially appropriate to share those things, most people don’t advertise what they’re going through.

As a woman, you want to know what your friends are going through so you can be there for them. You don’t want them to hide it from you. It would feel as if they’re shutting you out.

But, if your friend is a man, think twice.

Men and women have very different ways of dealing with stress.

Researchers have found that men are more likely to fight or flee. This can mean getting argumentative with you just because things are going bad at work, or withdrawing to his man cave and communicating only with grunts.

Women are more likely to tend and befriend. Talking it through and engaging in healthy self-care activities (yes, shopping counts) can get a woman through most things.

The stage is set for trouble when a woman assumes that “tend and befriend” is the best stress-management strategy for everyone, including her man.

She knows something is wrong, but he won’t talk to her. He keeps finding excuses to avoid spending time with her.

When she reaches out to help, only to be met by a wall of male resistance, she feels hurt. And then she starts getting mad.

how to help your man when he's stressed outWho does he think he is? Why get into a relationship in the first place if you’re not going to talk to each other? She knows he’s withholding something, and that’s not okay. Honesty is the foundation of a good relationship.

Fair enough. Now let’s see what he’s thinking.

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