One way that my lover and I keep our love alive is through our conversations. We talk about everything. We talk about the weather, current events, books we’re reading, friends we have in common, friends our partner hasn’t met or doesn’t know well, the kids, work, everything.
We talk about things we’re afraid to talk about – I have a relationship rule I do my best to practice: anything you think you can’t or shouldn’t say, you must say. We talk about things we have a habit of not talking about – I notice my own hesitancy in asking for 100% of what we want. It doesn’t feel like fear, more like deep neuronal pathways to keep silent and hope my partner fortuitously happens to do the thing desired. If she gets it right, then appropriate moaning and sighing will let her know. If she doesn’t get it right, the habit is to let it go, enjoy what is being given. I do my best to talk about that habit, and gently teach myself to talk about everything.
Paradoxically, sometimes talk actually gets in the way of intimacy. I know how to hide in my words. I have been quite adept at building arguments and debates, when my heart is crying out for hugs and cuddles. Too often I am striving to understand WHY – Why did you say that? Why am I feeling this? Why don’t I like that? Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t I learn this as a child? Why? Why? Why? As if understanding, comprehension, analysis is the goal. But understanding is often the consolation prize, the useless prize that game shows give to the losers. And analysis often creates paralysis. In science and engineering it is often useful to search for causality (this is so because that is so), in the affairs of the human heart it is often useless. Or maybe worse than useless, causal thinking can interfere with intimacy.
When my heart aches I want contact, not explanations. The best thing I can do for my beloved when she is hurt or upset is to stay present with her, to hold her, to listen and not ask questions. The best thing my beloved can do for me when I’m hurt or upset is to stay present with me, to hold me, to listen and not ask questions. Most often, everything will flow when we are ready to stop talking about it. And if talking is having either of us feeling isolated, more alone, less supported, then I interpret that as a clue that we should stop talking and start stroking each other’s face.
In other words, talk is very important, but touch is even more important than talk.