You're together, but sometimes it just feels like you are living parallel lives. You don't know what the other person is thinking or feeling, but that doesn't mean you don't want to know.
You want to have those deep personal conversations of how he feels, about your future together or about your kids. It can be hard to start these discussions. You feel like you don't have the time, or when you do get the chance, one of you is feeling defensive and the conversation doesn't flow.
Here are things that will help your conversation flow and deepen your connection:
Don't make him feel trapped
When you go to ask him about his feelings, don't sit him down and expect to only talk about what he is feeling. He will feel as if he has done something wrong and will worry.
Instead, take him out to dinner, go out for ice cream or take a walk - do something where he expects there to be a conversation already happening, and then you can ask questions and listen to his answers.
Make yourself vulnerable
It's best to think of a conversation like a trade. You need to bring ideas and feelings to the table before the other person can share what they hold close to them. When you are vulnerable first, people feel like they can be vulnerable to you.
People want to feel respected and verified. Sharing first shows you respect them enough to share what you are thinking, and they will in turn reciprocate those same feelings.
Don't get emotional
When you get emotional the other person wants to comfort you. They think it is selfish of them to offer their opinions when they can see how much pain you're in. If you are seeking comfort for your emotions, then crying is not a bad thing, but if you are wanting them to share what they are feeling, it's best not to start by crying.
Also, avoid yelling. If you find yourself yelling, take a step back. Shouting shows the other person you don't really care about what they are saying.
However, don't be afraid to laugh if it fits the conversation. Keep it fun! He wants to talk to you just like you want to talk to him. Keeping the discussion upbeat will help him want to come to you with all of his emotions; you will become his safe place.
Don't offer similar stories of when Sally's husband said the same thing. He is sharing what he has experienced, and doesn't want to be compared, judged or belittled. The fastest way for him to feel that is when you subject him to stories of how you think someone has done exactly what he's done. You take away his individuality and make him feel like he should have just been tougher.
Don't be condescending. Listening helps him feel like you care about what he is saying.
It might take a while to have a good deep conversation. But don't give up. If you keep trying, your sweetheart will see you're serious about wanting to talk to him and that you truly care about his feelings. It may feel awkward at the beginning. It will probably be hard. But if you really care, keep trying.
You might find yourself just listening to the other person at first. But the more you do it, the more it will turn into a two-sided conversation.
Having deep conversations can be hard, but it doesn't have to be if you make it a safe place to share feelings and ideas. Creating these environments can be a little easier than you think, and it won't take as much time if you are willing to try. You love your spouse, and they love you, so don't be afraid to talk.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.