There are not enough words in the English language to fully explain the importance of meaningful connection between people. That feeling of love you have for someone else? That is connection. That feeling you sometimes get when you first meet someone and it seems like you have known them for a lot longer? More connection. That empty feeling you get when things have cooled off, or you wonder if there is something wrong with you because you don’t feel like you really care anymore? That’s a loss of connection.
Connect & Create Emotion
Lack of connection results in a lack of emotion. Nothing is more dangerous to love than apathy (not caring). If you are not feeling connected to someone else in a positive way, then it makes it harder to care what happens to them or whether or not they are having a good experience with you. This is the top lesson I brought home from me after the first time I travelled internationally. I met people from a completely different culture. They looked different, sounded different. Our languages were different. I was uncomfortable at first (I was also 18 years old) and then something happened. I was on the beach in Mexico unable to connect with anything around me. I was a stranger in a strange place. Then a shadow fell across my legs. I looked up and there was a woman standing there with a small child. Our eyes met and she smiled. She held her child’s hand. They were thin, dirty, hungry. She looked right at me. I saw into her eyes and she didn’t hold out her hand to me for money. She smiled. We connected. I saw something in her that was familiar and real. I saw the love for her child and her friendliness towards others. She walked on. I sat there in the feeling of connection to her as they walked away. I grabbed my new bottled water and caught up to them. I offered her my water and the few dollars I had on me. I knew I wasn’t going hungry that night and wanted to know that they wouldn’t either. The dollars meant very little to me but were a symbol of something more; value of human connection. Once we see the humanity in others and feel our sameness, we are all in this together. All these years later I can still see her face. Since then I have had many other traveling adventures. Some even farther and more foreign than that first time venturing from home and expanding my view. Being connected to others is the greatest joy in my life.
Lack of Connection Breeds Apathy
Disconnection breeds apathy and even contempt. This is what happens in divorce. What was once a connection so strong that it involved a life promise and may have even bred new life, becomes a searing, stinging wound and pain of severing ties and disconnection. Most of the disconnection happens well before the divorce (otherwise the union may actually survive). Here is what most people who are contemplating marriage don’t quite get: They are sure that they will never get so disconnected from each other that their union dies…but disconnection is not done quickly or in the light of day. It is usually slow and insidiously sneaky…like oxidation on a pretty paint job. By the time most people notice it, the damage is already there. They no longer connect with each other.
So, new couples confidently proclaim to each other a solemn promise that if they ever start to feel unhappy in the marriage, or if they ever start to feel interested somewhere else, they will be sure to talk it out first before they do anything to hurt their union. They say it and they mean it. It is absolutely true in the moment it is spoken. And then life happens and days turn into weeks, then months, then years and the disconnection of believing that if there was a problem it would have been talked about already and that this lull is probably just due to long working hours, the new baby, the bills piling up, the extra pounds we put on…we could talk about it, but…we don’t talk as much as we used to and bringing this up might ruin an already short time together tonight. We’ll wait and trust that it will get better later. The disconnection is already here. The list of “can’t talk about that” starts to grow. The avoiding intimacy and connection followed by a frustration at lack of intimacy and connection ensues. The promise they made wasn’t a lie and it wasn’t made foolishly either. It was made without knowing how to keep the connection alive so that talking about hard things remains not only possible, but positive.
Believe In The Connection
So, make the promise to stay connected in your relationship. Believe it. Relish it. Bring it all the way into your heart and commit fully to it…and then learn how to do it and make sure you do it every single day for the rest of your time together. Don’t wait until that time when you realize you no longer feel as close or someone or something else is pulling your attention away. Don’t wait. There is nothing more valuable than your connection to each other. There is nothing better to pay daily attention to either. It doesn’t mean you have to spend all day on it, but don’t let it slide into the comfort zone of “I’ll do it later” or brushing your relationship off because you expect the other person to always be there because they made a promise. The promise needs to be about the daily attention and consciousness you will give, not just a promise to never leave. Ready? Set? Connect. Daily.