There are hundreds of personality traits and tendencies that make someone "good material" for a successful long-term relationship. But according to relationship expert, Dr Neil Clark Warren, there is one trait that is more important that all others. "Mastering verbal intimacy is the most important indicator of whether a person is right for you and ready for a serious relationship," he says. For the person who is dating and seeking a partner with whom to pursue a successful relationship, there is no more important task than determining if your current date has the ability to share themselves verbally on a deep and intimate level.

Dr Warren emphasizes "verbal" intimacy, the sharing of our deepest fears, dreads, joys, and inner experiences, as a great way to learn about the interior of our potential partners. He also shares 3 things which must be present for true verbal intimacy to begin and flourish.

1. You must know who YOU are
Many adults, and especially men, are complete strangers to themselves. When asked to describe their feelings on certain subjects, they are unable to answer, practically unable to even understand the question. This kind of numbness often starts in childhood when boys are told to "act like a man" or to "stop crying" because "you're not hurt." These messages tell boys to ignore their inner signals. Over many years, these individuals will become oblivious to what they are feeling.

To be able to share yourself deeply you must know what you're feeling. It is vital that you understand yourself in order to develop the capability to be an equal partner in a satisfying, verbally intimate relationship.

2. You must have a desire to know each other
We all know certain individuals that seem fixated on themselves. These narcissists may momentarily ask an inane question about you and your life, but they quickly direct the conversation back to their accomplishments. This tendency is also often a result of a childhood imbalance. If you grew up in a home where no one really seemed interested in you, you may have developed into an adult that loves to talk about yourself.

When you meet someone who has a great desire to sit and actively listen to you talk about yourself, this is an excellent sign that this person may well be a promising partner in the development of verbal intimacy.

3. You must make space for verbal intimacy
Dr Warren explains that he is sure that verbal intimacy is most likely to flourish when "stress is low, relaxation is high, and the phone is off." No one needs to be reminded about how cell phones, pagers, and computers have made it easier for us to carry work home and elsewhere. Time that used to be personal time by default can now be turned into work time. For verbal intimacy to grow, the frantic pace of our lives must be slowed. We must make time for long walks and quiet dinners. Sometimes we feel guilty for making this space in our schedules, but no relationship can become a brilliant one without a dedication to the verbal intimacy concept.

A relationship can start without verbal intimacy. It can continue for months and sometimes years without either partner giving time or consideration to its benefits. However, over time almost every relationship will go flat, that is lose its spontaneous excitement, unless both partners commit to enhancing their verbal intimacy.

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