You may be familiar with the secret languages of twins. It’s fascinating! And so revealing about how humans connect and communicate.
I’ve been thinking lately about the secret languages of relationships, especially those between intimate partners. My brain traveled to this topic because I’ve been thinking about partners connecting.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from couples (or individuals who come in to work on their relationships) is “we don’t communicate” or some variation of that.
When I hear we don’t communicate, I start to form a hypothesis that goes something like this: “If there’s no communication, then there’s low or no connection. And if there’s no connection, then there’s also a decrease in all kinds of internal and relational satisfaction and pleasure.”
Decreases in internal pleasure might show up as one of you stops enjoying your morning coffee. Decreases in relational satisfaction might look as extreme as “We don’t have sex anymore.”
Neither of those is a good place to be.
How secret languages, connection, and increased satisfaction and pleasure in relationships are related
Let’s start with secret languages, especially those between intimate partners. I’m using the word language in the 1.b(2) sense captured by Merriam-Webster as “a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings.”
Note that, in this sense, language is not required to be spoken. And this is the ease and the beauty with which it can be made secret between a couple.
You understand each other’s meanings because you’re honoring and recognizing past shared experiences.
It is in these past shared experiences in which you have understood and shared meanings.
Your secret language can be about using movement or touch, for example, or sounds that maybe do not even form a word. Here are some examples of what it might look like when you and your partner speak a secret language:
As you approach your in-laws’ door during the holidays, the squeeze of your partner’s hand conveys, “I love your parents, but they kind of intimidate me and make me nervous. I know sometimes I get quiet or cranky when we visit them.” As the door opens, your hand-squeeze back silently responds, “I know you do, and I know that about them too. And thank you for visiting them with me even though it’s not always comfortable for you. I’ve got your back. I’m here for you. I love you.”
Your partner winks and smiles at you from across the room full of family members to send the message of Remember that naked thing we did last night that we really liked? You’re so awesome! I love you! We are so doing that again soon!
You or your partner say a line from your shared favorite funny movie that you use when the situation calls for that silliness or tension-reliever.
None of the above is a secret about others – those are hurtful and often damaging. These are secrets between the two of you, created by the two of you, about the two of you.
Your unique secret language is special in that it tethers you to each other through your shared meanings of each other, your mutual view of the world around you, and your special ways of how you “speak” it with each other.
When we communicate with our partners we create connection.
As shown above, unspoken communication can be encouraging, sexy, or silly. It’s exciting.
Generally, your arrival at that sweet spot in your sacred space of couplehood, that space that’s unique to the two of you where the unspoken is understood and has shared meaning, means you’ve also had plenty of verbal conversations and lived experiences. You’ve had conversations that have been frank or hard or uncomfortable or vulnerable or challenging or encouraging or understanding or patient. You’ve been witness to the other’s pain or joy.
When we can step into that sacred space of couplehood and own our vulnerabilities and join with our partners in their hopes, dreams, heartache, or pain, we naturally bring our own deepest human needs such as being accepted, heard, and loved unconditionally.
That’s big stuff. Huge stuff. And it’s hard to do. It’s hard to be vulnerable. Even – maybe especially – with our most cherished person.
So, when we can go there, to that place of vulnerability and exposure, we are showing our partners that we are trusting them with our rawness. And we are inviting them into our deepest selves.
It might seem rather oxymoronic that a figurative disrobing of ourselves actually offers our partners more to hold. But it does.
Increased satisfaction and pleasure in relationships
There are many conditions that contribute to increased satisfaction and pleasure in relationships.
These generally fall into a bucket that goes something like It’s when we know our partner has our back.
This looks like “the little things” (future blog on this) like completing various household chores (putting away folded laundry) or family functioning tasks (filling the car with gas) or going out for coffee and a walk “just because.” This looks like “the big things” (same future blog) like being the shoulder to cry on when there’s a loss in the family or being supportive, patient, and loving when a partner feels insecure or scared.
When we can count on our partners to be there for us, when we can trust them with our greatest hopes and darkest fears, we feel connected. We feel wanted, needed, loved. We want to do for them as they do for us. We take pleasure in knowing we’re contributing to the meeting of the needs of the relationship.
Secret languages between partners are not the only way to connection and increased pleasure and satisfaction in a relationship. It’s one way. And it’s a sweet way – sweet in that vulnerable, this-feels-brand-new, I-wonder-if-he/she/they-like-me, tingly, special, this-is-just-between-us, we’re-the-sexiest-coolest-couple-ever way.
However you get there, be that couple. And own being that couple. You (both of you) and your relationship deserve it.
What is your unique and special secret language?
Like any language, practicing it often makes for a more proficient (and confident, sexy, and satisfied) “speaker.” If you’d like to explore how to create or speaking your own secret language with your partner in a safe and non-judgmental space, contact me for help in finding or refining your formula for your healthy, connected, and sexy relationship. I look forward to meeting both of you.
- Language. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/language