“Communication. It’s the first thing we really learn in life. Funny thing is, once we grow up, learn our words and really start talking, the harder it becomes to know what to say. Or how to ask for what we really need.” –Greys Anatomy
Second Story Counceling, a Chicago-based center for individuals as well as couples, state that their mission is to help couples “explore their challenges in a constructive, non-threatening manner… once healthy dialogue is established, the couple then works to resolve hurt feelings and overcome current problems”. No one thinks that the way they speak is destructive or threatening, but if your partner disagrees, how do you find the balance?
Through the highest highs of your relationship to the darkest, scariest lows, the one thing that is most likely to get you through it all is communication. It seems crazy to me that in the midst of a fight with your significant other, communication instantly shuts down, and that same person you talk to most on a daily basis is the one person you can’t seem to form a sentence for.
What do you do when you find yourself alone, venting about your latest fight to friends who loyally take “your side” in the argument? Most of the time, that reassurance of your friends being able to see your side makes you wonder what the heck is wrong within your relationship that “your side” isn’t coming into focus?
All you want is for your significant other to sit there and listen to what you have to say. You patiently wait for the light bulb to turn on, for lightning to strike, or for that tiny miracle to happen where your partner is able to put themselves in your shoes and understand. Perhaps as you wait for that moment you are in the middle of giving (or receiving) the silent treatment. Words escape you and you childishly hope that the fairy godmother of your relationship will show up and help you each speak in a way that the other can relate to. The problem is, there is no fairy godmother in real life. Sometimes lightning doesn’t even strike once, let alone twice, and the light bulb may very well need changing because it sure isn’t flickering bright enough for you to find your way back to the land of the non-fighting couples. Above all else, you just want to be able to explain why you feel the way you feel and have your partner look at you with understanding eyes, hold you close and tell you that they get it. They get you.
Most of the time it doesn’t work out like that, and even if they did give you the floor to speak, if you’re anything like me, you’d probably back down, stumble over words, and end up making yourself sound like a babbling idiot with major emotional issues. Hmmm… How is it that the one person who is supposed to know, love, and understand you most is the one person that you can’t explain yourself to while on the battlefield of love?
We make up the rules as we go, sometimes breaking them, sometimes having to deal with watching our partner break them. We hold on to the love that we’ve found, because life is full of reminders that love is rare. Fighting and miscommunication, on the other hand, is not so rare and come almost hand in hand with trying to share your life so intimately, so intensely, with another human being.
Sometimes I think it would be much easier to be dating someone who’s mind was a clone of mine. No time wasted talking, let alone arguing. We would always want to do the same things; we would always be on the very same page. I imagine that mind-clone would fulfill my life in a way that closely resembles the way my Chihuahau does. As great as that easy love might seem, making it work with an actual human, who makes life, and love, a bit of a challenge, seems so much more rewarding. In the meantime, I know I can always count on my dog to love me, cuddle me, and save those understanding puppy-dog eyes for me in my darkest, most alone moments.