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What do you picture when you hear the word overcommunicate? When I suggest that couples overcommunicate, of course, I don’t mean nagging, sarcasm, or yelling. I find it necessary because honest, raw, yet kind, communication is needed but rare.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.Ephesians 4:15 NIV
Overcommunicating solves several, but not all, relationship problems:
- No one can read your mind.
- Avoiding conflict creates more problems than it solves.
- Lack of intimacy leads to relationship boredom.
Honest communication turns up the heat in your relationship. Granted, this method doesn’t work for couples that are highly conflicted. These couples make their situation steadily worse over time; they create more harm than help. Need To Breathe has a line in one of their songs, “I’ve seen a fire put out by too much gasoline.” That isn’t what we’re aiming for here.
The threat of conflict shuts down some relationships while it speeds up others. If your relationship tends to run too hot as in you frequently hurt each other with your words, then you have a different problem. Today I’m talking to the couples that are letting their fire burn out.
Overcommunicate To Create Negative Intimacy
There is such a thing as negative intimacy. Most of the time it’s better than no intimacy at all. Negative intimacy comes from conflict. Most conflict is good in the long run. It’s difficult to have conflict without hurting each other a little–thus is born what I call negative intimacy.
Sparks might fly when you overcommunicate, but clashing in the short term can be positive. You can feel more connected. You can experience another person’s intensity. You can know they care enough to invest energy into the relationship. Even though it doesn’t come without risks, if it moves your relationship forward into deeper positive intimacy, it’s probably worth it, and it might be unavoidable.
Overcommunicate To Create Positive Intimacy
A healthy relationship stays up to date. How well do you know how your spouse is doing on a daily basis? You can’t be super-close all the time, but growing isolation is definitely a threat to a relationship.
You can’t expect to solve serious concerns with a few words. Complicated issues require multiple communication sessions. Words are linked to the ideas and feelings within your personal understanding of the world. It can take substantial effort to push the ideas out of your head into words that your spouse can understand. It is effort-heavy because your partner likely has a different internal understanding of the words you choose.
When you overcommunicate, you give each other multiple opportunities to understand each other. You can refine what you are saying by trying different phrases. You can change your tone and the expression on your face. You can find the courage to be more honest than you’ve ever been. As a creative being, you can use words like an artist uses paint.
Changing a habit requires repetition. Changing your spouse’s understanding of who you are from negative to positive likely will require multiple attempts at communicating.
The best way to avoid conflict is to learn how to be a better spouse. Unfortunately, the best way to do this is usually to work through real conflict. But after a while, you can become skilled at conflict resolution. Then, you can move much more quickly to an optimal solution. You will know what kind of compromise is going to create a win-win.
Need To Breathe has another line from a different song, “I want to hold you close, but never hold you back–be (like) the banks for your river.” This is an excellent picture of intimacy.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.