Make it comfortable for the other to open up
by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
When dating for marriage, there are some important topics that must be discussed. These may be difficult for some people, and they may have a harder time sharing, asking, being vulnerable. It is important not to avoid the topics because of that uncomfortability.
You gotta be patient. And make it comfortable to open up.
Your body language says tons. If you are truly interested and empathetic, then she will sense it.
You don’t want to seem pushy or prying. Some people advise to play hardball and insist that she open up. The dating experience is a microcosm of the marriage; treat her as you would treat your wife. With respect and sensitivity.
Reveal something about yourself first. Share a brief confidence, demonstrating your trust in her. People feel more comfortable sharing with a person who is being open and honest. What and how much you tell will set the tone for what and how much she will be willing to share.
Reassure her that you’d never share her story or what she tells you. Many people have the fear that their personal story will be shared, and thus they hold back.
Don’t pry. There are many details that you really don’t have to know in order to get the picture of whatever it is. Don’t ask her to share details that are irrelevant. And if she does begin to tell details, you can ask her “Are you really comfortable sharing those details?’
Different people are more comfortable sharing in different ways. Try to figure out her way. Ask her. It’s important to ask and not just come up with any one way. “I know different people have different ways that make them feel more comfortable. This is important for us to see where this might lead. So how would you prefer to have this conversation? Some ways might be… .
Some people don’t like to see the other person as they talk about these big things. So it might be better to talk as you are walking beside each other. Or sitting side by side rather than across the table. Or talking in the car, as you drive.
Others find it easier to write it down and reread and edit their words before sharing. Maybe you can both write down your thoughts or concerns on paper and then exchange.
Or, when playing a game or distracted by something else. So that if she feels like she wants to stop the conversation, she can get back to the game.
IMPORTANT. These types of conversations should not be done by texting or emails. And not phone either, if possible.