More Than Four

How can love survive in such a faceless age? -from "Forgiveness," by singer/songwriter Don Henley

The Center for Lifestyle Management reported that the average American couple spends approximately four minutes a day in meaningful conversation. This is a sobering statement about the meager level of intimacy for which most people have settled. At the same time, many people report a sense of emptiness in their lives. How can we expect to feel fulfilled if we do not tell each other the truth about who we are and what we feel?

The quality of communication may be mapped out on a diagram similar to an archery target. The most shallow level, indicated by the outermost ring, is news and gossip, which requires no personal disclosure or . investment and moves attention away from the speakers. The next level is my opinions and judgments, in which we reveal a little bit of ourselves, but restrict our communication to intellectual chatter. A deeper and more rewarding level embraces my feelings; at this level we begin to bring into the light what is going on unseen within us. The next ring is my most vulnerable feelings and experiences, which are the most difficult (and most rewarding) to share, as we make ourselves naked in our pain and ecstasy. At the bull's-eye, we enter into unspeakable unity. At this level, we feel so joined with our partner that words would only detract from the golden beauty of the moment.

To create more fulfilling lives, we must speak to each other with more intimacy. The word intimacy is built on "into me see." If you want more intimacy in your life, let others see into you more, and let them know that you can see into them. Then, meaningful communication will not be resigned to a few scraps, but will nourish you like a rich banquet.

Help me penetrate to the heart in my communications with others.

I am intimately joined with my beloveds and with God.

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