Do you ever feel as though you aren’t getting through to your partner? Want to find a new way to communicate? Maybe it’s time to explore doing so without words.
I recently read an article that said changing one thing in a relationship can change everything. The concept is powerful, and it left me thinking about a time when I was going back and forth with my wife about some issue. Nothing that either was saying resonated with the other, and the argument had degenerated into an endless round of “… and another thing.”
Words were failing us, so I decided to switch gears. I shut up and went over to her, put her feet in my lap and started rubbing them. Suddenly, my point was not as important to me, and she seemingly went to some other state of mind because she was getting her feet rubbed. The truth is, I can’t even tell you what we were discussing, but I remember that moment of peace.
If you and your partner are not communicating optimally, consider trying a nonverbal communication method. Physical touch is a love language, and its effectiveness can be relaxing and game-changing. Physical touch (and massage in particular) has been proven to reduce stress, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and even boost your immune system enough to help you beat cancer. And I’m here to tell you, it can also stop a pointless argument in its tracks.
Have you been touched and almost surprised by the level of relaxation that resulted? Perhaps you discovered tension that you didn’t even know existed? What a feeling! And it’s even better when your partner is the relaxing culprit. I have given my wife an open invitation to request a massage from me any time she wants one, and she often takes me up on the offer. It is incredibly satisfying for both of us. I get to work on her and watch her relax, moan and be thankful for the attention that she’s getting. And she … well, she gets to relax, moan and get the attention she enjoys.
If you don’t know how to give a massage, don’t fret. Most of us don’t. Here are a few suggested remedies:
Just rub. That’s right, just start rubbing your partner (with their permission, of course). You probably have a good idea of how they like to be touched, so just do it. Pay attention to which areas and what types of pressure seem to make your partner relax, moan or give a sigh of relief. Even if you never become an expert masseuse, your partner might simply appreciate you taking the time to give them pleasure.
Go slow. No one wants a rushed massage. Fast movements tend to be stimulating; slow is relaxing. When giving a massage, consider doing so without time restrictions and move as absolutely slowly as you can.
Pick up a book and experiment. Don’t co-read the book with your partner. Read it alone and ask your partner to let you work on them as you study. Remember this experience is based on quiet communication, not talking.
Take a (virtual) couples-massage class. Yup, couples-massage classes exist, and you can learn the basics of massage, how to rub your partner with the “right” pressure, what a medium is and how to select one, and how to create a relaxing environment. This even seems like the makings of a great date night (or a succession of them). Granted, in-person classes might be cancelled given the ongoing pandemic, but you can inquire about virtual classes or just find some instructional videos online.
Give without expectation. This effort is about giving—initiating a calming conversation that starts with your gentle and wonderful hands. If your partner wishes to reciprocate with a massage or perhaps another form of nonverbal communication, that’s just icing on the cake.
If you are interested in stepping up your game, discovering ways to communicate with your partner with limited words, and inspiring a new level of relaxation in your relationship, start touching and rubbing.
You might be on a beautiful trajectory towards making a new and satisfying connection in your partnership. The experience, or succession of them, can be powerful and loving. Let me know how it unfolds.
Frank Love coaches individuals that are in and/ or wish to be in a relationship on ways to be more loving. He is also the author of Relationship Conversations You Don’t Want to Have (But Should Anyway) and 25 Way to Be Loving. To schedule a consultation contact Frank at Frank@FrankLove.com.