Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Conversations with thoughtful and loving expressions

Conversations with thoughtful and loving expressions & Honesty and Openness are our most important emotional needs. Affection is the expression of care. When one spouse is affectionate toward the other, the following messages are sent:

* You are important to me. I will care for you and protect you.

* I'm concerned about the problems you face and will be there for you when you need me.

Affection is, for many, the essential cement of a relationship. Without it, many feel totally alienated. With it, they become emotionally bonded. If you feel terrific when your spouse is affectionate, and you feel terrible when there is not enough of it, you have the emotional need for affection.

The need for conversation is not met by simply talking to someone. It is met when the conversation is enjoyable for both persons involved.

Good conversation is characterized by the following: (1) using it to inform and investigate each other, (2) focusing attention on topics of mutual interest, (3) balancing the conversation so both have an equal opportunity to talk, and (4) giving each other undivided attention while talking to each other.

Conversation fails to meet this need when (1) demands are made, (2) disrespect is shown, (3) one or both become angry, or (4) when it is used to dwell on mistakes of the past or present.

Unless conversation is mutually enjoyable, a couple is better off not talking to each other at all. An unpleasant conversation not only fails to meet the emotional need, but it also makes it less likely that there will be an opportunity to meet the need in the future. That's because we tend to prevent our spouse from meeting our needs if earlier attempts were painful to us.

Men and women don't have too much difficulty talking to each other during courtship. That's a time of information-gathering for both partners. Both are highly motivated to discover each other's likes and dislikes, personal background, current interests and plans for the future.

But after marriage, many women find that the man who would spend hours talking to her on the telephone, now seems to have lost all interest in talking to her, and spends his spare time watching television or reading.

Most of us want an honest relationship with our spouse. But some people have a need for honesty and openness -- it gives them a sense of security and helps them become emotionally bonded to the one who meets that need.

Those with a need for honesty and openness want accurate information about their spouses' thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities and plans for the future. If their spouse does not provide honest and open communication, trust is undermined and the feelings of security can eventually be destroyed. Instead of adjusting, they feel off balance; instead of growing together, they feel as if they are growing apart.

Honesty and openness helps build compatibility in marriage. When you and your spouse openly reveal the facts of your past, your present activities, and your plans for the future, you are able to make intelligent decisions that take each other's feelings into account.

And that's how you create compatibility -- by making decisions that work well for both of you simultaneously.

For many, physical attractiveness can be one of the greatest sources of love units.

Diet and exercise bring the spouse back to a healthy size, physical attractiveness almost always returns. However, choice of clothing, hair style, makeup, and personal hygiene also come together to make a person attractive.

If the attractiveness of your spouse makes you feel great, and loss of that attractiveness would make you feel very frustrated, you should probably include this category on your list of important emotional needs.

Times have changed, and needs have changed along with them. Marriage usually begins with a willingness of both spouses to share domestic responsibilities. Newlyweds commonly wash dishes together, make the bed together, and divide many household tasks.

The groom welcomes the help he gets from his wife, helping him do what he's been doing alone as a bachelor. At this point in marriage, neither of them would identify domestic support as an important emotional need.

When the children arrive! Children create huge needs -- both a greater need for income and greater domestic responsibilities. The previous division of labor is now obsolete. Both spouses must take on new responsibilities -- and which ones will they take?

Many of us have a deep desire to be respected, valued and appreciated by our spouse. We need to be affirmed clearly and often. There's nothing wrong with feeling that way.Even God wants us to appreciate Him.

Admiration is one of the easiest needs to meet. Just a word of appreciation, and presto, you've made someone's day. On the other hand, it's also easy to be critical. A trivial word of rebuke can set some people on their heels, ruining their day and withdrawing love units at an alarming rate.