Quarantine has caused a shift in the way we interact in our day-to-day. Technology has increased our capacity to link, share, and mobilize, allowing us to stay connected to our loved ones both near and far. If you’re apart from your significant other, you have quite a few options, including text messaging, video chat, voice memos, Zoom or a simple phone call.
However, sometimes depending on the situation, when we try to use these communication tools to express our deeper emotions, it can ultimately lead us down a road of miscommunication. Imagine having a disagreement through a text messaging thread because your message wasn’t communicated properly or taken out of context so the receiver didn’t quite understand your perspective. These are the simple SMCR rules, which stands for Sender Message Channel Receiver, and represents the process and phenomenon of communication.
What started as an exercise to salvage our relationship turned into a transparent and honest dialogue.
Because the foundational communication elements are crucial for healthy relationships, why aren’t more people choosing the right channels to communicate their thoughts and feelings effectively? Most people aren’t professional communicators, and human emotions can affect how we share things. When tensions are high, I suggest taking a moment to collect yourself before doing anything else. This way, you can process and understand what’s happening. Next, think about if you’ll be able to keep calm during a conversation. Be honest with yourself if you know that you’re liable to resort to negativity; instead, put pen to paper and try writing a letter.
Love letters are highly underutilized. A love letter may be anything from a short and simple message of affection to a lengthy explanation of feelings in a traditional sense. To resolve issues, you can use the letters to communicate what you would like to change. I know it may seem counterproductive when you desire a quick resolve, but the goal isn’t a quick fix, it’s establishing a deeper connection with your loved ones.
I’ve benefited from the exchange of love letters in my relationship. My partner is an introvert, and I’m an extrovert; the way we communicate is different. Previously, when we hit a rough patch in our relationship, talking it out wasn’t helping, because neither one of us was listening. As a part of our healing journey, we committed to 30 days of love letters. He wrote me a letter a day, and I responded.
As a professionally trained communicator and life coach, sharing comes naturally to me. And by having him take the lead on writing the letters, it helped level the playing field. What started as an exercise to salvage our relationship turned into a transparent and honest dialogue. We shared our needs, fears, and desires for each other. Unfortunately, there was never a moment in our relationship where we had the time to digest and process how our actions were the direct result of past trauma and preconceived bias. At the end of our 30 days, it was clear we both wanted to make our relationship work, and we needed to be more mindful of our actions. After five years of dating, we’re now engaged.
In an era of quarantine and social distancing, I believe it’s the best time to refresh your relationship by recreating the rules of engagement.
Our love letters have amplified our sense of connection and emotional intimacy. During this extended time spent in quarantine, conversations have been much more productive. We are both fully present and informed of each other’s feelings without reservation and with complete transparency.
While having the time and space, I encourage you to start writing letters to and with your significant other. It’s a total game-changer! In an era of quarantine and social distancing, I believe it’s both beneficial and the best time to refresh your relationship by recreating the rules of engagement. The first step is to ask yourself, will this letter be written by hand, via notes or an email? Then start writing! There’s no expected word count, and if you find yourself stumped on what to say, start with the “Why.” I learned that focusing on ‘I-statements’ gives you the ability to take ownership of your feelings and helps reduce nitpicking. But I must warn you to be prepared to talk extensively after sharing your letters with each other to help continue breaking down those communication walls and barriers.