Sitting on the edge of the cliff is when the individuals of a couple, or the couple itself, is in significant pain, profound conflict and on the verge of jumping. While sitting on this precarious ledge there is a meaningful opportunity for the individuals and the couple to grow – the hope of a growth edge, rather then the demise of a relationship.
These experiences are inevitable. It speaks to the viability, survival and resilience of the couple. The other day my husband and I were in the midst of a difficult, hard and painful conversation (if not argument) and I felt profoundly grateful for all the times that we had historically, individually and collectively, sat on the edge of the cliff. I’d been there before, I’d learned from this painful and scary place. We have learned a great deal about one another and our capacity to be resilient – we can and will do it again.
To actively see and hear others is to presume that you don’t know the answers – instead to be curious. Questions, a hallmark of curiosity, are an essential step in the process of seeing and hearing. The flower wants to be experienced, witnessed and observed, not talked to.
When you join in the relational experience of being curious, and relinquish being correct, you will not only know more about that person, but you will have more with that person. The more can be rich and nuanced, it can be informative and revealing, it can be bold and scary, and it can inform meaningful intimacy.
The process of being curious is also important in self-discovery. “I wonder what that was about?” “I wonder why I was just defensive?” “I wonder why I’m scared, sad, lonely, threatened, joyful, at peace, etc?”
To be curious, rather than correct, is to give up control and enter into a journey with oneself, and with others along the path.