A few days ago on Valentine’s Day, while out chillaxing and celebrating with my hubby, I was struck by how couples talk to each other.
Please do not translate that to imply a wonderfully romantic message, rather the moment was far more shocking. While trying very hard NOT to eavesdrop on one couple’s chat, it was impossible NOT to listen – they made it that way for all of us around them.
Sure, I could give the benefit of the doubt: they were an older couple and maybe had some hearing challenges; they appeared to know each other VERY well and maybe had stopped listening to each other SO well; and/or they wanted to have others witness their victories over each other.
Whatever the case, within only a few words it was fairly easy to tell they were a long-time ‘tied’ couple. Whether married or not, they were anchored to each other. They seemed to know exactly what words to use, what tone to imply, and what body lingo to dance…all just perfect for what buttons to push. It was easy to jump to a stereotypical ‘old married couple’ and to even wonder, as I did: would my hubby and I be like that in 20 or 30 more years?
Listening in the background their voices grew louder, not because they got closer, but because they became more animated. Turning to watch their conversation was like sitting in the theatre – part acting, part dancing, all performing. But for whom?
After participating as their audience (voluntarily or not!) for several minutes, the secret became clearer, their love was perfectly evident. Their relationship appeared built on a friendship far deeper than even romance. They happily played a game of wooing and cooing the passion they felt for each other…only in untraditional ways that would make many cringe. With a twinkle in his eye and smirk on her mouth, they happily enjoyed a certain joking banter that others would find harsh. It was THEIR way. And how many couples who have been together a long time aren’t set a bit in THEIR ways!?
To live and love with another person for years, leaves no one else to judge. We had no glimpse into the grief they suffered, the milestones they celebrated, the losses they shared, the dances they swung to, the horrors they witnesses, the distances they travelled, the babies they carried, the fears they held, the nights they cuddled, or the loneliness they will one day live apart. They loved each other no doubt…in whatever form it took, it was cooing for them.
Having finally departed the ‘show,’ they stayed in my mind. I thought of all the wise guidance that counsellors and coaches (including me) suggest to clients about communicating in relationships. This couple busted them all!
So I challenge you to consider in your romantic relationships, which of these may be your cooing banter button:
Sarcasm – The Beware of Me tone that may be humour-laced venim. Words like: ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ ‘Haven’t we already had this conversation?’ ‘Yeah, yeah, right!’ A tell tail sign is key word emphasis and punctuation invisibly dotting the endings. Or is it the sound of your smirk?
‘Always’ and ‘Never’ – The Bookends of Time together ‘forever.’ It may sound like: ‘You always say that.’ ‘You never do that.’ As if only extremes exist, the accusation is you are ‘set-in-your-ways.’ Or is it the comfort of knowing and trusting the other person’s predictability?
‘You’ – The Pronoun of Blame jabbing like no other. Yours could appear like: ‘You couldn’t understand.’ ‘You don’t….’ Using ‘I’ language to speak one’s own truth and to share one’s own feelings may seem secondary to getting your point across. Or is it a call to be heard yourself?
‘Enough’ – The Draw-the-Line Plea to stop. Favs may be: ‘Enough already.’ ‘For once, could you…?’ ‘Don’t start….’ It’s used when it’s ALL been heard before, yet the ‘nagging’ dance stays the same. Or is it your white flag of surrender to change your cooing pattern?
When you give your heart away, you offer it as your pledge. Over the years, you’ll find a way of communicating as your foundation of love. What others witness does not matter, as long as you clearly and respectfully share your love in YOUR way. Building your romance by communicating your love, results in cooing beyond any words on Valentine’s Day.
To all Love Birds of all ages everyday of the year…XO
(C) 2012 Whitney McMillan
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Whitney McMillan is a best-selling author, life & business coach, workshop facilitator, & motivational speaker who supports people weighed down by overwhelm to reach Overwhelm Freedom! Check out her book ‘Rock Your Overwhelm: Live in Clarity, Balance and Freedom’ and receive her FREE eWorkbook and eZine tips: www.whitneymcmillan.com