Thursday, November 6, 2008


Last year, I attended the two-day "I Promise" marriage seminar with Dr. Gary Smalley in Memphis and enjoyed it thoroughly. I felt sort of uncomfortable going since I was single. But after listening to what he had to say the first night, I knew that I needed to be there. This was something that I could apply in my life immediately with my family and friends. What raised my level of interest was his discussion about the five levels of communication. Communication is required to keep intimacy in the relationship. According to the book, Secrets to Lasting Love, the five levels of intimate communication are the following:
  • Sharing cliches with each other: This is surface talk. You are engaging in almost meaningless chatter. For instance, "Hey, how are you, how are you doing?", asks one spouse, "Okay, great, no problem," replies the other. Guess what, you can do this with a stranger so make an effort to do more in your relationship.
  • Sharing facts with each other: You are talking about the weather, the office, what's going on with your friends. This is safe talk because it is not requiring deep breathing, thinking, or feeling. Guess what, you can do this with a stranger so make an effort to do more in your relationship.
  • Sharing opinions with each other. This includes discussing individual opinions, concerns, and expectations. This is where conflict occurs because of the differences in opinions, concerns, and expectations. The conflict normally comes from the differences in the upbringing. At this level, the relationship is vulnerable.

Did you know that most couples only get to the second and third level of communication?

  • Sharing your deepest and truest feeling with each other. At this level, you help each other feel safe to share your deepest thoughts and emotions. There is an understanding between the two of you that efforts will be made to listen to one another.
  • Sharing your most important relational NEEDS with each other. This is the deepest level of communication that can be achieved in a relationship. You feel safe with this person to reveal your unique needs with each other.

This information was profound to me. It helped me get through some of my troubled friendships. So, regardless if it is a romantic or no-romantic relationship, the way to get to know someone is through communication. Communicators need to be open and honest with one another...not afraid to reveal who they are to each other.

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