Happy Valentine’s Day.
Many years back, before my children were born, I was blessed with a long term acting job as a Kiwi. No, not the fruit, a New Zealander. While I was quite familiar with many forms of British and Australian accents, both upper and lower class, a Kiwi was new to me. Thankfully, a trainer was hired to assist and one of the first things she talked about is how I learned. She was willing to teach me the accent by recording each of my lines so I could hear it, type out each of my lines in those lovely strange letters you find at the bottom of many hard copy dictionaries, or explain to me the transformations necessary for the words and where they were in a sentence. She just needed to know how best I learned.
When my children were in first and second grade they had a truly lovely teacher who taught me a bit more about how people learn. Some learn through listening, some by reading, some by repeating, some by physically handling. A Great teacher, such as she, knows how to present concepts in a wide variety ways.
Later, much later in my marriage than it should have been, I learned the cause of much frustration between my wife and I. While I loved reading things to her that I thought important, she was not a listener, she was a reader, and even though I lost a little joy in not being able to perform (an actor here), it allowed for clearer communication if I gave an article to her to read, rather than read it to her myself. What I also lost, thankfully, was the feeling that she wasn’t really listening because she wasn’t really interested. After reading, we could talk about what was important to each of us.
Within the last few years I have seen more and more concentration on good communication between partners. I am surprised, really, because I would think something so important would be worked on in some detail quite a few years back…like…ah….before my parents were born? But looking back on the history of my family and listening to the history of others, that often does not seem to be the case. This obviously leads to the supposition that all the talk and learning we are doing now will do little more than the talk and learning of generations before. But one can hope.
Two months back I was listening to a Webinar by Dr. Bob Rubel and his partner Jen. (The link may give the impression it is a purchasable item, but it is free.) Their guest that evening talked extensively about creating a meaning wheel of the words important to the partners in a relationship. It may seem tedious to continually ask, but it is nice to know what is heard by your partner when you use terms like “Love”, “Respect”, “Dominance”, “submission”, “service”, “support”, “care” and “sex”. (That is not meant to be a complete list in any way.) (It is also good to look closely at the words used in any discussion that has lead to an argument between you. Do you mean what your partner hears?)
So why am I talking about this on Valentine’s Day? Because learning about your partner, learning the best means to communicate with them and learning the best way to teach them about yourself is a very good way to show them your love. To assist in that I am giving you some gifts in the form of recommendations and reading material. The first is a book you may know, it is called “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman.
Each of us are unique. How can our relationships not be unique? The ways we express ourselves and possibly more importantly, how we accept input from the people around us is unique. If we wish to extend our joy and passion through a long term relationship, it is best, in my not so humble opinion, to spend some time learning the unique techniques necessary to talk and to listen to our most loved partners.
Happy Valentine’s Day. I sincerely hope you have a most loved partner with whom to share it.