What do you say to your partner when you’ve run out of things to say? Perhaps you are both working from home now, and you have the chance to check in with each other throughout the day. By dinnertime, you have run out of things to say to each other. There might not be much left to report, except to note something trivial like: “The strawberries are getting moldy.”
Or perhaps you used to go out several times a week to concerts or dinner with friends, happily conversing and catching up. But now, it’s just the two of you most of the time, and here you are. Crickets.
Comedian and author David Sedaris disclosed his frustrations in trying to maintain striking conversations with his long-term partner in his essay “Old Faithful”: “We would just sit there acting like what we are: two people so familiar with one another that they could scream.”
If this description portrays your relationship, you can bypass screaming and, instead, shift your couples state to something more rewarding.
There doesn’t have to be a span of emptiness between you. Here are five ways to reboot partner talk and reconnect in fresh, rewarding ways.
1. New Topics: There’s an App for That
If you tend to recycle through the same topics, you can rediscover your partner by reengaging via new topics.
Couples can benefit from John Gottman’s Card Deck free app, chock-full of topics to explore, including Open Ended Questions, Date Questions, and Sex Questions. Sample questions include: What are some of your life dreams now? What is something small that really makes your day? What would be a good way for us to initiate sex?
2. Explore New Ways to Communicate
Not tech-y? Conversation cubes, which can be purchased online, can also get you to talk about experiences and shared perspectives.
Or you and your partner can ignite conversation by reading and then discussing the same book; listening to each other’s favorite music together; or starting a weekly film discussion group that includes your closest friends. Joint projects such as these will bring you both together and break down silences.
3. Learn Something New
You can also create stimulating conversation with your partner by becoming a more interesting person. For example, commit to learning something new every day by listening to a podcast or audiobook, viewing YouTube, or reading opinion columns that challenge your perspective.
Or dive into your family history and learn more about your ancestors, which may intrigue your partner and be a great source of knowledge for your children to boot.
4. Play Together
Just because you are adults doesn’t mean you’ve outgrown play. During stressful times especially, play can be a healthy way to blow off steam.
A treasure trove of activities lay waiting in which you and your partner can engage to get you chatting from a more enjoyable space. Think board or trivia games, puzzles, Legos, or even sitting down with Mad Libs as fun ways to connect.
During summer, set up an inflatable swimming pool to cool off, challenge your partner to a game of pickleball or some geocaching to lighten the mood. Or invite new ways to relate and feel pleasure in each other’s company by tuning into nature through stargazing, listening to and identifying birds, or admiring flowers and trees in bloom.
5. Be Still Together
Recognize that silence can be golden. When you spend a lot of time together, accept that it’s normal to occasionally run out of topics for conversation. One or both of you may be using most of whatever energy you have just moving through the day, not stirring up additional difficulties with which to contend.
But that quiet between you can actually be comforting. Companionship is one of the most often cited reasons individuals enter a committed relationship—and it is the relationship perk most often missed by people who uncouple.
Companionship is the enjoyment of being with another person and feeling comfortable with them. Words are not constantly required. Couples can create intimacy through touch, or by sitting next to one another with feet, head or legs in their partner’s lap. This level of physical closeness may invite a massage, or an eye gaze between you that suggests “I’ve got you,” or “We’re in this together.”
There are many approaches couples can take to keep their communications fresh and stimulating. Keep in mind that conversation is not a prerequisite for intimacy. On those quiet days when there are fewer words expressed, have faith that your presence can be enough.
This post courtesy of Spirituality & Health.