Monday, 28 February 2011

What do you say when you've said it all before?

I belong to a group of ladies who all live in the same small Wiltshire village on the edge of the New Forest. We get together for regular social activities and last week one of my friends organised an informal quiz at her house. We lubricated our tongues with a glass or two of wine and fed our brain cells with a variety of nibbles - all the better to face the upcoming challenge! Before our hostess started on the general knowledge, anagrams and cryptic clues, she asked us to consider 4 simple questions:
  • What is your favourite view?
  • What is the best thing you have ever seen?
  • What is your favourite sound?
  • What is your favourite place?
For me, this became the highlight of the evening. As we talked about our personal preferences and our memories, we discovered shared delights and some rare experiences. Two of my friends recounted separate occasions when they had watched mother wrens encourage her tiny fledgling babies to safer locations. Newborn babies featured highly in the 'best thing you've ever seen' topic, while favourite views ranged from the unexpected to the exotic. We congratulated ourselves on living close to some of the finest scenery which we all enjoy on a daily basis. Making my way home, I was uplifted by our universal agreement that our favourite place is 'home', followed by a favourite moment of 'coming home after being away.' The next morning my thoughts turned to those couples who no longer talk to each other. Many of our clients only communicate at a practical level about things that are essential. It's as if they think they've said it all before and haven't got anything left to talk about. To believe this, there must be an underlying assumption that nothing has changed since they first met. And that is where my friend's questions are so powerful. They are based on the presupposition that as we go through life our experiences continually change our view of the world; that our experiences cause us to add to or change our favourite views or sounds, or ... It's true that when you know someone well, you no longer need to fill every moment with chatter - you can enjoy companionable silences, without the tension of worrying why your partner isn't talking to you. Yet for others these comfortable quiet moments stretch out until they find they seldom talk about anything that isn't practical or necessary. Be greedy - aim for both! I think it's only healthy to want quiet peaceful moments and times of deep connection. If you want to revive the habit of deep and meaningful conversations in your relationship, there's no better place to start than with my friend's four questions. Our 'Happy Relationship Quiz' is another source of questions you might want to explore.

No comments:

Post a Comment