We each got out of the car on our respective sides. I stood up, looked into the sky and noticed the widest most spectacular rainbow arching over the restaurant. I burst out, “Oh wow look at the rainbow!” as I pointed. He looked up, smiled, looked at me and nodded. It was fun sharing that with him. I wanted to move closer, tuck myself under his arm and gaze at it together, but the distance between us in the parking lot and the newness of our acquaintance inhibited my actions. Even if the connection was brief, it felt nice and it seemed like a good sign to see something so beautiful together.
One way to make your relationship extra awesome
In Wired for Dating, Dr. Stan Tatkin describes mutual amplification as, …Taking something that excites you as an individual and sharing that with your partner so that you both can be excited over it together. Sharing amplifies your joy.
As a highly sensitive person and someone who lives to connect and relate with others, I have a strong need for mutual amplification in a relationship. It gives my curiosity a place to share its discoveries. It gives my highly attuned nervous system a positive outlet. It’s soothing to have my passion acknowledged and reciprocated.
My dream scenario for mutual amplification is reading books with my partner and sharing the excitement of new insight or the appreciation of an exquisitely written passage.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t
In the past, my penchant for sharing what lights me up, has been met with mutual excitement, apathy and competition.
I felt heard and understood by the mutually excited individuals. Their presence in my world amplified my whole life. Suddenly, birds sang sweeter, poems bled beauty and I noticed every meaningful magical thing. What a high!
This kind of mutual novelty sharing keeps boredom at bay in relationships. It keeps spirits high and attentiveness alive.
I’ve also experienced a meh reaction to some of my exuberant sharing. Not even a look up from their iPhone. Or maybe an eyebrow raise and nose wrinkle, to something that seemed special and important to me.
When you put your enthusiasm out there, it’s an act of bravery. It’s possible you’ll be left swinging back and forth on your trapeze with your hand out and no one reaching for it. That’s lonely. Your idea, gift, story, feeling, rainbow, etc. is not valued or understood and it makes you think, How did I possibly think it would be?
I’ve shared novel experiences with partners who saw that as an invitation to do the same thing… only better. For example, I’ve had significant others take up running, not because they had a real interest in it but because they wanted to impress me. In their minds, I believe they thought they were connecting with me but they were actually turning me off. I don’t like to compete. I am not impressed by the ability to outdo me. I live to experience things deeply and richly. I want to dwell in awe and invite others to live there with me.
Don’t kill my enthusiasm
I’ve learned to guard my enthusiasm with those more likely to judge it than share it. The judgers kill my light and the light of a healthy relationship.
I take note of the ones who respond to good news texts with happy emoticons and exclamation points, or better yet, immediate phone calls. They want to tuck themselves into the joy and gaze at it together.
Who amplifies joy with you? When was the last time you shared something exciting and your partner expanded on it with you? When was the last time you felt someone’s passion with them?
If you’re interested in learning other ways to enhance your relationship, please contact me for relationship coaching. I’d be happy to show you how to keep your love fresh and alive.