Finding Meaning in your Relationships

Written by Andrea Vawda.

Two people can be sitting in the same theatre, side by side, watching the same scary movie and yet one can react with fear and the other can barrel over with laughter. How is it that two people can perceive and experience the same event in such different ways? How is it that our own personal life experiences influence so greatly, the way we engage and interact with the world around us? If who we are is shaped by an inherent force or nature in conjunction with the nurturing capacity of our environments then these factors obviously play a role in the way we interpret everything outside of us.

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What's my point you ask? Or maybe you have already interpreted your own version of my point? In order for us to coexist with one another, particularly if we wish to connect, we must be able to communicate the version or interpretation we hold in our minds with those around us. Thank goodness we have the common ground of language on our side-right? This of course is assuming that both parties have an equal command of the language and that both people embrace the same meaning of words when communicating. It all sounds simple and it could be if we check-in and make sure we are talking about the same things.

As our experiences colour our interpretations one person may say to another "You look really healthy" as a complimentary observation, where another may receive it as being called 'fat'. On a deeper level a romantic couple can benefit from discussing words like trust, honesty, love, hurt, sex, intimacy, and anger to define these terms and allow for a vocabulary between them that ensures that the meanings behind these words are in consensus, and therefore they are speaking the same language.

I know the idea of having to run every word of your language by your partner to ensure that you have the synonymous meanings seems tedious and mundane, however in this world of texting, instant messaging, facebooking and tweeting, we have become modern day Shakespeares- though it may be argued somewhat less poetic. Not only are we seeing the emergence of all new shorthand language, it is dominating in written form, void of intonation, contextualization and personality! The fine art of verbal conversation is losing to 140 characters per sent message. We are receiving and sending our thoughts in a new era of instantly gratifying responses. Certainly this medium avails itself to a new type of intimate conversing, but it also can introduce a whole new dynamic to 'misunderstandings' and in relationships where emotions may run high and intensity prevails these can become roadblocks to communication with a partner.

Often couples get lost in the whimsical semantics of argument and these common misunderstandings can actually lead to the demise of a relationship, when in essence it isn't about differences but simply about clarification of the terms being used. A grosse obstacle may be in fact overcome by a short back and forth of clarification about the words being used. It may sound dry or overly pragmatic, but taking the time with a partner to define the terms can actually be a way to build more trust, alleviate inhibitions, increase intimacy and really get to know your partner.

You will be amazed that once you are both on the same page, the depth of conversation that becomes a regular occurrence and it begins to feel easy. You will alleviate opportunities for frustration once in the habit of clarifying the language used and what's more you will eventually develop a vocabulary that you both understand and this will lend to free flowing and meaningful connection and engagement with your partner.

Hey write the words on cue-cards, shuffle them and play a game of naked charades- redefine the meaning of your relationship by defining the terms!

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