Based on the song by Zayn- Pillow Talk we tell the story of a relationship and the importance of Conversations That Matter.
Her name is Lara, which means Protection.
Lara’s dream is to live a fulfilling life, surrounded by her friends, family and engaged in her career.
She hopes to meet a guy one day and fall in love.
Lara wants her boyfriend to care for her in the same way that she cares for him.
She meets Michael and it’s not love at first sight.
They just get on well together, have great conversations, learn a lot from each other and there is a “vibe” between them.
The “vibe” includes respect for one another, the ability to give the other the space they need depending on how their day is unfolding.
Their “vibe” develops into each being able to sense how the other feels at any point in the day and there is an understanding that when Lara feels a certain way and Michael feels a different way, that they intuitively know that Lara plus Michael on this day, at this time equals this version of their “vibe”.
Lara and Michael therefore feel that they genuinely care about each other and feel a strong and positive connection.
Because of this their presence among their friends and family is one of soulmates.
In reality, their simple but sensitive and dynamic connection radiates something that is greater than the sum of Lara’s connection to Michael and his connection to Lara.
This becomes the default “vibe” of their relationship and their feeling of being “home” with each other.
If Michael is held up at work, and doesn’t call or can’t get away from the work meeting to call in time, this knocks the “vibe” of their relationship off balance.
This is because it’s a display of different behaviour that could indicate a change in Michael’s perception of his relationship with Lara.
It’s not that he hasn’t called, it’s that he changed the dynamic of the relationship without her knowing and that’s raising warning flags for Lara.
This makes it look like Michael is out of bounds.
What other non-inclusive behaviour exists?
We now have a disagreement on values.
It’s the sharing of values that binds them together.
If there’s a break in shared values, could that tear them apart?
Lara feels a defence mechanism at this point.
Has she discovered a way that Michael could hurt her?
This is a danger to their relationship.
Could this be the first defensive reaction in a series, leading to a change of direction in their relationship?
Michael was worried as the instances of Lara’s defensiveness were mounting.
He was on the borderline of accusing Lara of making assumptions about things that didn’t happen and using those to build a wall between them.
Michael was lying in bed, unable to sleep and staring at the ceiling.
He was going back over his time with Lara and he could picture them running along the beach, walking through the city and ballroom dancing together.
He remembered a conversation they had when they started ballroom classes.
Lara was an experienced dancer and he wanted to learn for her.
Lara said that she knew how well a ballroom partner would dance with her just by watching him as he entered the studio.
She could read the dancers by the way they walked and held their body, the way they dressed for that first impression and she would watch them talk to other people in the studio to gauge their energy level and mood.
Michael realised that reading the other person was something they had carried into their relationship.
This was an important part of their non-verbal way of communicating with each other.
This was the missing element in the things that were going wrong.
When Michael was held up late at work, they couldn’t read each other.
He couldn’t read how Lara was feeling about it.
His behaviour had more to do with them not being in the same room together.
Their independent lives could not be as finely tuned as their life together.
When Lara and Michael spoke about it they realised this was true.
They still needed to make adjustments so they worked with messages that were code for what they were thinking about.
They settled on some emoticons as they could be sent quickly to alert the other to what was going on.
Once they started sending their secret messages and it covered all of their unexpected commitments, Lara began to feel safe in the system they created and she began to lower her defences.
Michael doesn’t expect Lara to relinquish her defensiveness as she has explained it’s a natural reaction for her.
But now they know to talk about their concerns together and not let their doubts threaten their relationship.
Instead, they have agreed to use the strength of their relationship to attack the doubts together.
The war zone used to be outside their relationship, attacking each other.
Now the war zone is inside the relationship attacking the doubts that threaten what they have together.
Contributing Author, Peter McCredie