Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Growing Together

There are many problems in communication and we should avoid all of them. Unfortunately, we don't even recognize all of them and many we see looking back at what we should have done. One of the problems that we must be aware of is the maintenance of relationships.

We seem to be able to get ourselves into relationships fairly easily. Some relationships we wish had never happened. Then we have a huge set of problems that we must solve. But, on the positive side, how do we maintain the relationships with which we are delighted.

1. Relationships are not static. They cannot be successfully put aside and then taken up again later as if nothing happened. Relationships are like us: an ongoing process which is never finished. When we attempt to set them aside they immediately begin to deteriorate and fall apart. If we wish to maintain the relationship over time we must work at the relationship actively. A relationship is either growing or dying: there is no middle ground.

2. Gather and share knowledge. Since within interpersonal relationships things are constantly changing you must find a way to keep up with the changes. A huge amount of information is gathered by what we see, smell, feel, hear and lift. That is the non-verbal content that is so important to all communication. If you aren't there to gather that non-verbal data it will probably be missed. The verbal side is critical because it helps us to define the non-verbal information we gather. If we are short on data from these two sources you can count on the fact that the relationship is at risk.

Put another way, if your life style requires that you be absent for large portions of your life, even if you get together at least at home, then you don't know what is going on. If you don't know then you don't know what to say or do. If that is true the only thing that is holding you together in a relationship is convenience/habit. You can't be aware of what is happening inside another individual unless you are around them and able to observe as well as talk about what you think you're seeing.

To gather and share mutual knowledge requires the careful use of time. Our society wants you and your time and will if given the opportunity dominate your time and energy. If you don't set aside the time and energy your relationship is doomed. The high rate of divorce in the United States is an example of this outcome. Try to view your partner in this relationship in as many contexts as possible. That we give you and them the opportunity to see what is going on as well as hear about the details.

3. Avoid the illusion of having "many friends." There isn't enough time or energy on the planet to have many close friends since the communications necessary are so time and energy hungry.

4. Never stop the sharing and pursuit of more information. You may think that you now have established a stable and permanent relationship only to discover that you were wrong. I've heard it said many times that there is no such thing as "too much money." That's probably not true. It is true that you probably cannot have or share too much knowledge/information about your most prized interpersonal relationship. The faster the growth and change in the two of you the more likely that you're going to need to work at keeping up with the change.

To maintain a worthwhile relationship you must plan and execute a system that will enable you to spend time experiencing and talking with your significant other or you can count on nagging problems, some of which may involve things like divorce.

No comments: