How to Improve Your Relationship Without Talking About It
You’re not getting along. There’s little laughter and even less kindness. You do love each other but things ain’t what they should be. Most experts would say that the answer is communication. To talk things through, to understand each other’s point of view and to come to some kind of an arrangement.
But is it?
Patricia love, the author of what I consider to be the best sex book I’ve ever read, Hot Monogamy has come out with a new book called, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. Her basic premise is that by changing your behavior you will change your partners. And that by first changing your behavior you set the stage for a good conversation.
These are some of her points:
Love is not about better communication. it’s about connection. You’ll never get a closer relationship with your man by talking to them like you talk to your girlfriends. There are four ways to connect with a man: touch, activity, sex, routine.
When men feel connected, they talk more. Male emotions are like women’s sexuality: you can’t be too direct too quickly.
I saw her concept in action when a friend of mine complained that the lightness in his relationship had gone out. Everything was serious, there was no playfulness, no joking around. Everything was strictly business. He tried to talk to him for a long time to no avail. Using Patricia Love’s concept, I told him to stop talking about it and instead be the lightness and the playfulness that he so wanted in his relationship.
But here’s the catch: without expecting anything in return from him.
is the most challenging part. If you make the effort to change and your partner doesn’t, aren’t you playing the fool? A good question, but one that can only be answered by going through with the experiment. So my friend started being lighter and more playful. He started telling funny stories about his day, he made fun of himself, he poked gentle fun at his partner. He simply became more likable.
For the first couple or three weeks, his partner did not respond at all. He was not playful back, he was not light back. My friend grew frustrated but right around the four-week mark his partner started to change. He too started cracking some jokes. He too became a little bit more playful. And as my friend saw the change in him his first instinct was to talk about it. But he saw such great results he decided that talking wouldn’t improve the relationship; it would diminish it.
The key concept here is that changing yourself forces people to change their relationship to you. This is admittedly hard to do but it pays great dividends. A simple body language trick can make the point. It’s well known in nonverbal communication circles that the worst way to get somebody to smile is to talk to them about smiling or to ask them why they’re not smiling. The single best way to get somebody to smile is to smile at them.
Why It Works
Researchers believe that there is a “mirroring” phenomenon at work. That is, people tend to mirror the people they like. You see this in romantic couples all the time. If you lean in and the other person is interested in you they will lean in. If you lean back, they will lean back. It’s a way of bonding, of saying hey I’m on the same page.
Another reason that behavior rather than conversation can change a person’s interaction with you, is that it forces them to think about their own actions even if only subconsciously. If things have gone heavy and somebody introduces lightness and you still respond with a heaviness it’s only a matter of time before you realize what’s going on. You start feeling bad about yourself and good about the other person because you see that they are trying. Not only that but that they have actually made you laugh, which puts you in a better mood.
The bottom line: it isn’t just possible to change your relationship without talking about it is often necessary.