And, “talking” usually means “getting at issues” that are bothering one or the other. It means there is a problem, as in a lack of understanding or lack of intimacy or distance or something is terribly wrong.
Such encounters are often fraught with anxiety or fear. There’s the fear of rejection, of not being heard, of anger and in general a fear that the relational world will fall apart.
One wants a “deep” conversation whereby hurts or omissions of the past are aired, feelings are expressed and we “get it out.”
Or, there is a resignation that “talking” just won’t work and is a waste of time.
It is easy to see where these conversations will lead.
I want you to think of something different when you think of “Engaging” your spouse or significant other.
Consider these 3 points:
1. Engaging the other need not last long nor be a major event. “Talking it out” may be a futile attempt at creating closeness, especially when the expected outcome is unrealistic.
2. “Talking” is not always engagement. It may be empty clatter; attempts to manipulate will usually arise out of one’s personal neediness and will be fertile ground for negativity and reactivity.
3. Engaging may be non-verbal; a look, a touch or a sigh.