Sounds like a simple statement, right? Bet during the course of your day you ask a million people, (most you could care less about) the carefree question of, “So, how was your day?” Or, “How are you?” Or any number of simple asking gestures that let someone else know you are interested in how they are feeling or how they are. But when it comes to our spouse, it is these exact simple things that we often forget to ask – or downright neglect to ask – on a daily basis. It is because of complacency? Or is it because we think we already know the answer? Or is it really, because we just don’t care?
One of the biggest problems that people have in their marriages (or other relationships), is that they become so close to the people, and see them so often that they forget to give them the same courtesies that they do other people in their life. One day you cannot talk to your spouse enough. Remember the days when the two of you could sit on the couch snuggling talking until the wee hours of the morning? Now, suddenly – that person is a stranger to you.
It’s interesting but today, there are several blogs and twitter accounts that are designed to allow people to share the minimal details of their day. Facebook is huge. And all Facebook really is a jumble of ramblings that serve as a vent for people to talk about their day. Often, there aren’t many words said in a traditional Facebook post, but the fact that people are following, listening (to some extent) and caring is really what is important.
It isn’t just spouses that are neglecting to talk to one another either. In a recent survey from Teen Magazine, almost 80% of teens admitted that they rarely talk to their parents about what goes on during the day. 50% of teens admitted that they communicate to their parents via text more than they do face to face. And when teens were asked what they would like more of when it comes to their family – the 2nd highest response was communication. Children often feel that their parents aren’t listening, and therefore don’t care about what goes on in their lives. The longer the lack of communication goes on, the harder it is for people to reconnect with another.
It is imperative that you take the time to nurture your relationships. Just as you would water a plant every day, giving a little water at a time to make sure you don’t drown it, you should also strive to water the relationships in your life that mean the most to you. Watering your relationships can be as simple as asking the simple questions that count. Ask your spouse how their day was. Ask your children how they feel. Ask your mother if she is happy.
One of the most understated forms of human communication comes from a question. It is human nature for people to want to be needed, and to want to be understood. People need to know that you care about them and that you are interested in their life, what they do every day, how they feel and what they think. Just like, you want others to take interest in you. The only way to make others feel important, and to enjoy the people in your life is to engage in small talk on a constant basis, so you can continually ‘water’ the relationships in your life with love and compassion.
It is no surprise that so many parents or spouses don’t know what is going on in the lives of their loved ones. You might talk to your parents every day, making the connections that you feel you have to in order to stay in touch – but do you ask the ‘right’ questions. If they have a doctor’s appointment, do you follow up to ask them how it went? When you ask them how they are, or how their day is going – do you wait to hear an answer or are you only scripting the words out of what you feel is duty to do so.
You don’t want to find out facts about your loved ones from others. And perhaps the worst thing in the world is to wake up one day and realize that you don’t know your spouse, or really understand your children, because you have failed to ask the right questions along the way.
It all starts with, “how was your day?” If you take the time to ask the question, you might find out a lot about the people that you love. You might find that one small question leads to a conversation that is filled with insight and enables you to move closer to the people you love the most. You also might find that keeping your relationships alive with small talk, and earnest question and answer sessions can truly be the foundation for what enables you to not just be close to the people you love, but stay close.
Listening to others and hearing what they say, reading the emotion behind the words and learning how to communicate is something that we humans must remember to do on a daily basis. It is dangerous indeed to take for granted the fact that since your family is with you all the time - that you ‘know’ what is going on with them and that you are communicating enough. Truth is you cannot communicate enough.
Keep in mind that it is easier to maintain communication than it is to regain it. If you keep working out the communicative muscles in your relationships, you will find that you are in a better position to keep them strong and that you will always truly be able to connect with the people that you care about.