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There Is No Such Thing As Too Much Talking…

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Opposites often attract when it comes to the amount of talking people do. For example, he admired and was attracted by her bubbly and talkative nature, while she found his quiet contentment both mysterious and relaxing. These differences worked well in the beginning because he felt little pressure to step forward with a lot of words because of her conversational habits. She, on the other hand, did not have to compete with him for the floor.

Down the road, however, a big difference in the amount of talking each partner does commonly becomes a communication problem for couples. Over time, if each does not learn from the other (to talk less/ more), the differences can build to extremes, where he feels worn out by how much she talks while she struggles to engage him in conversation or to get him to listen (or vice versa).

There is no such thing as too much talking…only more conversation than the listener cares to hear. Great communication requires that couples work to balance or negotiate speaking and listening. Not everything in our heads and hearts needs to be said out loud…and sometimes we need to pay attention and engage in conversation when we may feel like being silent or withdrawing.

Great communication in partnership grows when one person learns to dial back on the volume of conversation, which is made more likely by the other dialing up and becoming more communicative. The reverse is is also true. And remember, if you feel overwhelmed by emotional content from your partner, that is only the flip side of – and substantively no different from – her being underwhelmed by a lack of emotional expressiveness or conversation from you.

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About Dr. Coach Love

  • The art of eyeball to eyeball verbal communication can never be replaced as a builder of satisfying relationships—-tho too many people IM, sext, text, e-mail, skype (comes close)and all that tech and think it is enough. Tech communication has made us lazy with developing REAL personal communication skills. We end up alone with a lot of silent noise—the noise of fretful thoughts in our heads with no one to listen or hear. Strangers are people ,too and become less strange when you try to warm up to them with words. Try it Jo.

  • jo

    i am alone most of the time my husband is always away and when he comes home i don’t feel like talking. i feel like im talking to a stranger. even with other people there is dead silence sometimes. weird. i work all day on a computer and write more than i speak. i guess im stuck this way and my only form of socializing will be thru typed words 🙁

  • Dr, Coach Love

    Hi, Doug,

    The simple answer is I have been in a relationship for longer than I have been a relationship expert. Of course, a part of my knowledge and wisdom has developed from diverse personal experiences, parenting, and relationships—both through pain and successes.

    My academic doctorate in marriage/family studies and continued education has provided a formal knowledge/research base. And after decades of professional experience as a licensed marriage/family therapist combined with 13 years as a parole officer before that, I have gained wisdom and insight through intense interactions/conversations with thousands of therapy (and parole) clients, which has also contributed significantly to my unique relationship knowledge.

    I enjoy sharing the richness of what I know through writing, life coaching,
    presentations, and therapy services.

    Thanks for asking. Was this TMI/NEI?

    Hope you have a relaxing and joy filled season.

    Dr. Coach Love

  • Merry X-mas, Irene.

  • doug m

    I see how long the doc has been an expert, but how long in a relationship?

  • Irene Wagner

    Merry Christmas to you Roger. I read the article you posted, too. Some good points there, but I didn’t want to become “embroiled” in a conversation as I have what I try to pass off as “cooking” to do.

  • Good point, Ms Love Physician. It’s exactly what the good doctor ordered, nothing more and nothing less.

    We are imperfect beings at any given point in time. But we’re always getting better.

  • Irene Wagner

    Cindy and Glenn: Here’s someone who was a little too long on the science and a little too short on the lying:
    Lady: Honey, do these pants make me look fat?
    Man: It’s not the pants.

    OK guys, have a Very Merry! Gotta run.

  • Okay, I had time, it was shorter than I expected. I like these short provocations that people are posting today.

    I like this article. It makes sense to me.

  • Dr, Coach Love

    Hi, Cindy, thanks for coming in and stirring the pot.

    I want to commend you, Glenn, for sharing your insight into what works in your marriage with your wife. You have weighed in beautifully and reported those things you do to get the marriage you want. Men and women should take an inventory regularly about their own needs and those of their partners and how to keep intimacy from going stale. In order to keep it going, you gotta know what’s working.

    The process of paying attention to what’s going on in your marriage can help everyone discover their own list of marriage tips. Your list of tips, however, will not work for everyone. Here are my reflections on your tips:

    1. Never ever stop courting her: excellent and usually true.
    2. Rub her feet: Certain people hate their feet touched/hate to touch another’s feet.Try another body part—head, hands, shoulders, back, her choice…But again the touch thing.
    3. Show her that you are attracted to her in public…: PDA! PDA! Although banned in schools, yeah for PDA! But again… many people do not like affection.
    4. Treat her like a lady…: There are women who feel that type of approach is demeaning and a sign of inequality in a relationship.
    5…. Walk beside her, hand-in-hand…: Good one, but again, is that what SHE likes?
    6. Listen to her dreams and take them seriously…: Super! This is great and pretty much a universal positive that goes both ways in relationships.
    7. A Frenchman once said, “He refuses to lie, does not love his wife.”: OUCH! Any lying is not a good plan. Tact and courtesy are.
    7B… use the wealth of tools…: This sounds downright manipulative to me. Clear and direct communication sets the stage for honesty and trust.
    7C. Be grateful always for what the other does…: Amen, amen, amen.
    7D…. True love: true love or soul mates must be built from that initial attraction and certainly— cry, dude, cry when your emotions match.
    7E. Fear: I don’t understand a healthy role for fear in a relationship. Trust, loyalty, honesty— sure; but fear?
    7 F….the best marriage: That’s outstanding you feel that way. Keep checking in with her so that her feeling continues to match yours.

    On another note, Glenn, many women prefer surprises and unexpected gifts and place a low value on those provided on the ‘required’ days.

    So to those who are reading this I say, you could also do for your wife what Glenn does for his, but not before you discover if that’s what she wants. All wives and girlfriends are not created identically when it comes to what they desire in their relationships.

    And hello, Roger, did you ever hear this— I think it was about the famous female anthropologist? I think she was married seven times and when asked whether she thought her marriages were failures, she said that each one was appropriate for her level of development at the time.

  • I have one thought for men and women alike. However you decide to do it, whatever elements you include, if you care about your partner like Glenn cares about his…whether you follow any particular recipe, I think that your caring will take you very far.

  • Irene,

    Do you have any scientific proof that roses are the answer? 😉

    Hiya, Dr. Coach Love. I’ll be back to read your article later. Have to run now. Just popped in to cause some trouble, 😉

  • Don’t pat yourself too much on the back, Glenn. You ain’t the only one.

    I’ve been married a score of times, and each succeeding one was better than the last. So there!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Oh, and Doc –

    Given too often, the roses do indeed become expected, and meaningless. I don’t give them to say “I’m sorry”, either.

    I give them when required – special days, and all that – and “just because”, for it’s then that they mean the most.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    That’s why I tell my sons to plant roses – LOTS of roses – because they give a man a quick-and-easy (and free) opportunity to pick a few and put on the dinner table…and they bloom through most of the year. And btw – she shares her first name with you, but I haven’t called her that in years and years. She’s always my Darling, and I am always hers.

    And for both of you, I did not exaggerate. Many’s the time we’ve been mistaken for newlyweds or told “Why don’t you two go get a room!” My oldest son’s told us that twice in the past week.

    And here’s some tips for husbands:

    1 – Never, EVER stop courting her. Perhaps the biggest single mistake a man makes is to stop courting his wife once he marries her…for if he continues focusing his attention on her, his eyes won’t tend to wander where they shouldn’t.

    2 – Rub her feet. I got this from Heinlein’s “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long”, and it’s served me quite well.

    3 – Show her that you’re attracted to her in private…and in public. The attention you show her must be consistent – otherwise she’ll notice and wonder why you act that way only in private, or only in public.

    4 – Treat her like the lady she is! Put her on that pedestal! Yes, she’s human and fallible, but doggone it, let her know that for you, she’s perfect! BE the gentleman she deserves!

    5 – Hold her hand, and neither walk in front of, nor behind her. Walk beside her, hand in hand, physically, emotionally, and metaphorically.

    6 – Listen to her dreams and take them seriously. They might not mean much to you, but they do to her!

    7 – A Frenchman once said, “He who refuses to lie, does not love his wife.” On its face, that sounds wrong…but when she’s pregnant or overweight or having surgery, you’d better lie through your teeth and tell her that you wish she could see herself through your eyes, so that she could see how beautiful she truly is. And when you say this, MEAN IT! And as the years go by, you’ll realize it’s true…and then you realize that it’s not brainwashing yourself, but helping yourself to see how beautiful she’s always been!

    And I’ve only got one piece of advice for the wives out there, and I always, always tell this to prospective brides: Do NOT let him stop courting you! Use the wealth of tools you have at your command – and not just the tools of attraction, but the tools of guilt as well, including the two that drive me nuts: the pouting lips, and the phrase, “That’s okay, I’ll just do it myself”. Aaaargh! Those get me every time!

    And one piece of advice for both: Be grateful always for what the other does. Never take your spouse for granted. This is much easier if both of you are truly – truly! – humble.

    Yeah, it sounds sappy and silly and stupid, but there is such a thing as true love…and it is rarer than one might think. When I was young, I made a wish. I wished that I would have a marriage with true love…and that whoever I married wouldn’t be crazy. I got my wish! Better than any lottery ever devised by man, better than any gold medal or prize or brass ring, I got my wish! She is my wish, and even now I’m getting a little teary. That’s another piece of advice for the guys – don’t be afraid to cry. Instead, feel pity for those who too insecure to cry.

    If there’s a downside to having a marriage with honest-to-goodness true love, it is this: Fear. The fear that either of you feel whenever one of you sees the other leave the driveway, or have an aching knee, or feel a little dizzy. This fear keeps you there, keeps you desperately wanting, needing to care for the other…but it also keeps you from achieving certain goals in life. But you know what? What are the value of those goals when compared to your one true love who is sleeping soundly, securely, softly breathing next to you, trusting that you’ll be there when she wakes up?

    Yes, I DO have the best marriage I’ve ever seen. That’s why I walk around like a fool wondering just how I got so doggone lucky, ’cause I surely don’t deserve it!

    So there! 🙂

  • Dr, Coach Love

    Well now, Glenn, insufficient communication (and periods of disconnected silence) are not generally considered conducive for a satisfying, long-term marriage. It is great that your wife ‘has stuck with you’ for 17 years despite flaws; but if you do not want her to ‘feel stuck with you’ at 25 years, begin to ask her, at least occasionally, “Honey, is there anything we need to talk about?” Just because you feel happy, do not assume she is an equally satisfied ‘customer’. Take the initiative (as you do in business?) to check on the status of your relationship — regularly. Remember, there are two marriages in every marriage: his and hers.

    When someone tells me, “we’ve been married 25 years”, I always ask whether they are whining are bragging. You may reach a 25th anniversary, but will your wife be whining are bragging about it? Remember, a Silver anniversary is not a merit badge for happiness.

    To all partners who fear those five words (men and women, gay and straight), make a resolution instead to both embrace—welcome and use—the words, “Honey, we need to talk.”

    PS: Do not just reflexively send the roses—if she’s allergic or prefers simple love notes posted to the fridge. Discover what symbols for her say I-love-you.

    Dr. Coach Love

  • Irene Wagner

    Your marriage might be almost as good as MY marriage if YOU were the one to say, “Darling, we need to talk.” Don’t forget the roses either, buster.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    A husband’s most-feared moment is when he hears, “Honey, we need to talk”.

    My wife has stuck with me for 17 years, and we do have a wonderful, wonderful relationship – despite the fact that we’re not talking to each other right now (but it will be okay tomorrow – it almost always is). But even though we have the best marriage of any couple I’ve ever seen, I still dread those words, “Darling, we need to talk”.

    I’m not sure if this is humorous or serious or both, but I’ve heard that in lesbian relationships, neither partner fears those words as husbands do….