As my wife and I approach our 30 year anniversary (Lord, am I that old?), I started thinking about how two people who got married so young, could have made it this far. Now that’s not to say we didn’t fight like “it was our job” early on or that it has been a fairytale ride without any issues, no not at all! But I can say one thing with complete honesty (hmm there’s a concept we will get back to later), after all these years, I really would rather not be with anyone else in the world.
So, what did we do that helped us get through those hard times? What did we figure out, albeit by trial and error, that saved us time and time again? What did we learn to do when the pressure was on and it seemed like maybe we wouldn’t make it after all? The short answer? We talked. Real talk…
Now, when I say we talked I don’t mean that superficial stuff. “How was your day?” – something you might say to the grocery checker at Target. I mean we talked about things that mattered. Side note – don’t you love it when you find someone who you can talk with about things that matter? The best conversation is a real one! Real talk means having the courage to say what you really think about something. If your partner does something that makes you feel anger (which, by the way, is a secondary emotion that indicates something needs to be resolved) then who in God’s name could you possibly be helping by deciding not to bring it up? And while I’m on this rant, how could you ever allow yourself to be afraid of your partner to the extent that you decide not to say the things that need to be said? If you’re honest, you know that the worst that could happen is that your partner would decide to leave you! Okay, so follow my logic here for a minute. If your relationship is so precarious that one heated argument could lead to an immediate break-up or divorce, what kind of relationship did you have to begin with? Thankfully, my wife and I started out with the end in mind. We decided day one that marriage was forever and that no matter what happened we would work it out. Did stuff happen? Of course it did. Did we work it out? Yes!
Arguing does not mean that your relationship is in trouble, in fact it’s just the opposite. People that argue still care enough about themselves and each other to fight for what they think is right. The trouble comes when that dreaded silence comes. Once you reach the place where you just roll your eyes and say “whatever” on the inside, that’s when you are in trouble. And even then it’s not too late to say what you really think (which brings me to the most important part of “real talk.”)
You may be thinking at this point, well what exactly should I say? Another simple answer – exactly what you are thinking! That’s honest. Now I don’t mean that hurtful kind of so called – honest. “Honey you are getting fat!” That’s not honest, that’s hurtful. I mean honesty from your heart about how you are feeling in this moment of time. What if she or he doesn’t like what you have to say? What if they get mad at you? What if they go silent on you for the next three days? Again, follow my logic here, so what? Don’t you matter as much as your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend matters? Don’t your feelings count? Is not your heart as important as their heart? So, quit being so afraid and work it out. I could never wrap my mind around those couples that were so afraid of their partner that they felt they could not speak up about something! That’s not a relationship, that’s a dictatorship… Naturally these conversations occur in private not in public. but make no mistake they must take place. If your spouse says something that hurts your feelings or makes you feel stupid, bring it up! That’s honest. How can the other person ever modify their behavior if you don’t ever bring it up? And refusal to modify a behavior that needs to be changed is going to result in a break-up anyway (now or later). So SPEAK UP!
At the end of the day, you are not going to be happy if you aren’t true to yourself. Oh you can play the game, assume the role, but like any actor you will soon tire of the role and need to get back to who you really are. Don’t you want your spouse to know who you really are anyway? Again I’m very blessed in that my wife knows who I am and I can be myself with her. I can tell her where I’m weak without dreading that she might somehow know I have some weaknesses (as if she didn’t know anyway..LOL) She can tell me likewise. Really if you could look inside other people’s heads you would find that we humans are all very similar. We have similar fears, similar concerns and similar needs. Trust that. Know that and speak up!
My prayer for all of you that read this is that you will have the courage to say the things you have been thinking for days, months and years and repair those breeches between yourself and the people who you love. A healthy dose of love from your heart will solve a multitude of problems.
Wishing you 30 years of committed marriage and beyond…
(I love you honey)
Just some good thoughts…