Imagine that your relationship is a home. It is impossible to build it without a few key elements that are needed not only to make you feel comfortable, but also to survive any bad weather. It is logical to start building with a solid foundation that you build brick by brick together with a partner through joint experience and emotional connection. And then your “house” will need walls and windows.
What are “windows” and “walls” in a relationship
The concept of “windows” and “walls” was proposed in her book “Not ‘just friends'” psychologist Shirley Glass. She used this metaphor to describe the way in which two people who are emotionally involved in a relationship can maintain intimacy.
If relationships are a house, then partners are two adjoining rooms separated by a floor-to-ceiling “window”. It symbolizes open communication in a couple and creates a condition of complete transparency, when everyone feels that he is seen and heard. And “walls” are a buffer that separates and protects relationships from the outside world.
Why is it important to create “windows” and “walls”
“Windows” enable two people to stay on the same wavelength, understand each other’s inner worlds, clarify expectations, feelings and desires. Open communication allows you to immediately identify even the smallest problems and solve them before they turn into a huge snowball that risks demolishing the “house”.
To make it comfortable for everyone to share their innermost thoughts and feelings through the “window”, “walls” are needed. They create a secluded and confidential atmosphere. Without them, relationships lose their protection. Imagine that your partner ignores your feelings and constantly invites other people to visit you without warning. Such indifference breaks down “walls” and threatens the sanctity of a romantic union.
And vice versa, when there is a kind of protective dome around the relationship and both partners support it, a feeling of emotional security arises. Thanks to him, the internal “walls” disappear and it becomes possible to build the same “window” in their place.
As the feeling of emotional security in a relationship strengthens, we become much more comfortable talking about our inner world and discussing problems. When we feel secure, we can listen, empathize, be creative in solving problems, and open up on a deeper level. All this strengthens the foundation of the relationship.
However, this does not mean that the “walls” between relationships and the outside world should be impenetrable. They should also have windows. As in a real house, the air becomes stale if the room is not ventilated for a long time. “Air” in a relationship is friends, hobbies, work. The main thing is that communication with the external environment does not outweigh and does not harm communication with a partner. After all, we always close the windows when it rains or snows outside.
If you allow the “walls” around the relationship to collapse and turn into “windows”, the “window” between partners, on the contrary, will turn into a “wall”. For example, you work all day and don’t make any time for your relationships or share the details of your personal life with friends, family members or colleagues. Thus, you open a “window” for the outside world and close it for a partner who no longer finds a connection with you. Over time, this situation can open the door to infidelity.
How to keep a “window” between partners
To do this, you need to return to the basics of relationships, which include meeting the basic needs of a partner. Among them is the desire to feel loved, appreciated, heard, accepted and supported.
You can do all this every day without much effort. For example, give your partner your undivided attention during a conversation and not look furtively at the phone. Ask questions so that he understands that he is being listened to carefully. Respect and consider his opinion so that he feels that he is valued. Take his side in conversations with third parties so that he feels supported.
Such small steps make sure that the “window” between the partners does not turn into a “wall”. Remember, one person’s openness encourages another to do the same. If you want your partner to freely share his inner world with you, be ready to share yours.
How to Maintain Relationship Walls
Having solid “walls” doesn’t mean partners can’t live eventful lives outside of the relationship. The point is to maintain a balance without harming the union.
Each couple sets their own ratio of time spent together and apart. The main thing is to come to a common opinion about the degree of connection and freedom acceptable in a relationship. It is better to directly ask your partner if he gets enough of your time and energy. Someone maintains a sense of closeness, even when the partner pays a lot of attention to friends, work or hobbies. And someone, on the contrary, strains too much time spent separately.
There are no universal rules. You and your partner need to come up with your own together. For example, you might decide that Friday is the day you have a date. Then no one will plan anything for Friday and thus maintain the “wall” between the relationship and the external environment. And if something important still appears, you can always consult with your partner in advance.
Of course, life will make its own adjustments: it is possible that some rules will not always be followed, or you will abandon them altogether over time. However, a certain system will help share the responsibility for maintaining the “walls” equally, and not shoulder it on the shoulders of one person.
The balance between “windows” and “walls” in a relationship depends on which needs are met in the “home” and which are outside of it. If we find what we need outside of the relationship, we become too independent and move away from the partner. Satisfying needs exclusively within relationships, on the contrary, leads to codependency.
The best option is to keep the inner “window” open and not make the outer “walls” completely impenetrable. In this way, you will remain close without being overly dependent on each other and come to the so-called interdependence, which allows us to express love without sacrificing ourselves, and to receive love without taking it as proof of our own worth.