Clearing the Air

March 27th, 2009

Wind power is one of the fastest growing alternative energy sources available. What could be cleaner than capturing the power of the moving air and turning it into energy? This is a powerful metaphor on a personal level and in our work to make relationships sustainable. The air in your relationship flows from the communication that passes between you and your partner. It is the currency of your relationship. It has the power of a wind generator to capture the essence of what it is to be intimate. It is the source and fuel for physical intimacy.

Taking into account significant gender differences in communication styles and comfort is an important beginning. Women communicate with about ten times the number of words as men. Knowing this fact will hopefully allow for differences without letting anyone off the hook. Everyone needs to stretch themselves when it comes to learning to communicate.

Our willingness to share of ourselves in breadth, openness and depth reflects our ability to be intimate. Self disclosure is literally a breath of fresh air for many relationships which limit most conversation to dealing with the mundane tasks of managing a life. It is easy to fall into this place where discussions remain on the surface; our busy lives often leave little time for processing our own feelings or the complex work of expressing them. Having conversations of depth require not only time, but trust.

First, we must trust ourselves. Low self-esteem is hard on relationships because we cannot really build a bond of trust with another if we are not comfortable with ourselves. Issues can easily become confused and communication easily muddled when it is continuously layered with a lack of self confidence of one or both partners. For many of us, developing the skills for meaningful communication include not just being willing to express ourselves but also a genuine effort and interest in listening.

There is little that makes us feel as deeply valued and loved as someone taking the time to truly be present and hear our story. It is an art that is often overlooked in all of our dealings, but is particularly damaging in intimate relationships. Learning to listen actively and respectfully adds miles to the life of your relationship.

Trusting your partner enough to share true, central and meaningful aspects of oneself is a true aphrodisiac. It creates a continuous cycle of deepening self disclosure and safety that is at the heart of thriving relationships. Consider building a wind generator inside your home if you are really committed to a sustainable life. The air is good in there and who knows how much energy you might be able to store up for some cold winter night.

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