Dynamite Relationship Tip #3
Dr. DJ with Maud Purcell
SECRET #3: You must spend time together.
I am sure you are already thinking, “Well, these aren’t “Secrets” in this blog series. I have heard some of these things said before! What is this ‘big secrets’ thing?”
Edgar Allan Poe wrote a short detective story titled “The Purloined Letter.” An intelligent spy-like fellow had stolen an incredibly damaging, governmental document. The police, knowing how crafty he was, had torn up the carpeting, the walls, searched inside hollowed-out books, under floorboards, etc. and not found it. Days later the hero detective of the story visits the premises and discovers the clever man had hidden the document in a harmless-looking envelope, right on his desktop for all to see.
I assure you that many “Secrets” are hidden in plain sight and are overlooked thousands upon thousands of times. (For example, your breath is one of the most powerful tools you have in handling stress, but hardly anyone knows how to use it. See the KILL STRESS Book to learn how.)
Back to our point for this blog entry: There is no substitute for shared quality time. When you make a point of being together, without kids, pets and other interruptions, you will create rapport and establish a bond that will bolster you through life’s tough times. And there will be tough times!
Time spent together means doing a shared activity, not just watching television, or reading a book in the same room. Having an eyeball to eyeball conversation about things important to each of you personally, as well as joint issues/items/notions/hobbies/ideas/etc. can be most engaging and bonding.
Quality time is being AWAKE (fully conscious) and AWARE (giving undivided attention) of one another, and willingly sharing a mutually engaging atmosphere deliberately created just for you.
How to be awake and aware
Remember when you first met, and could not get enough of one another? And when you got together, you hung on every word (that’s being awake), and the rest of the world melted away (that’s being fully aware). Use a mental time machine to go back to those days and recreate that time. Let the magic in!
An astute interviewer knows how to do this. Whether it is a reporter doing a story, a detective questioning a suspect, or a writer interviewing someone for an article for a biographical piece, the secret is to create a vacuum between them and the subject.
The old saying is “Nature abhors a vacuum” and rushes to fill it with something…anything. Using short meaningful questions, then providing an attentive silence the interviewer allows information to rush in from the other person.
Well, that is not what you are doing in an intimate relationship, but the physics principle is the same. People love to talk about themselves. Often, they NEED to talk about themselves and what is going on inside them.
A True Story and Lesson for Dr. DJ
As a practicing psychotherapist, my mentor and I had coffee together one day. I shared with him my concern that I might give someone the wrong advice. It is easy to give advice especially when you do not have to live with the consequences. I was genuinely concerned. Jack Blackburn, my trainer and the best counselor imaginable, stopped me.
“You are not there to give advice all the time.”
“No?” I said.
“No,” he responded. “You are there to listen.”
“Just that? I get paid for that?”
He chuckled. “Look, don’t give advice. People won’t take it anyway. They must come up with their own answers if they are to have the courage of their convictions. Your job is to help them find their answers.”
“By just listening?”
“Don’t say ‘just’,” Jack smiled. “Let me ask you something: When is the last time someone gave you undivided attention for a straight 50 minutes…paying attention to everything you say?”
I started to say, “Well, I….” then thought. And thought. And then admitted, “Well, never!”
“Exactly,” Jack said. “Most people are just waiting for you to take a breath so they can jump in and tell their story. It is a very loving skill you must learn, Tony….how to listen with 100% attention. When they get stuck, sit in silence and if it gets painfully silent, then ask a probing question…to help them to get rolling along again.”
So, the third secret – our dynamite relationship tip – is to spend time – conscious attending time – together.
It works like magic!
We thank Maud Purcell for her excellent information that helped us with this whole series on Dynamite Relationship Tip