Dialogue has risks, unfortunately. However, when two or more people decide to do it and accept their fear of the risks, dialogue will bring important rewards.
This is the miracle of dialogue: it can bring relationships into being, and it can bring into being once again a relationship that has died.
(Reuel Howe, 1963)
Newborn infants and their parents begin a lifesaving series of dialogues. The infant communicates his/her needs and Mom or Dad responds by feeding, bathing, cuddling, talking or singing. These behaviors communicate the message that the parent loves him/her. Should the parent be rough, irritable or neglectful, the child will feel unloved and unaccepted. To speak the words of love in a dialogue is to be loved as well as to love.
The relationship between a man and a woman can communicate such mutual love by means of dialogue. The marriage vows are a first commitment to this kind of love-producing dialogue. In fact, Dr. Gordon's Credo promises that each will share their needs "openly and honestly, trusting you will listen with empathy and understanding." And every aspect of the marriage relationship needs dialogue: planning together, sharing individual experiences, choosing agreed-upon responsibilities, discussing their sexual relations, conveying both their joys and problems.
An excerpt from the F.E.T. Adult Resource Book