Real Relationships Require Real Talk…


395526520_640  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…

The Secret to a Good Relationship…


Relationships come in all shapes and sizes (yes, clichés are my life!).  Relationships represent one of, if not the greatest,  component of our lives. You can’t really function as a human without some sort of relationship.  Oh, you can try, but you aren’t going to be very happy. But when it comes to relationships between men and women, we as collective group, have developed some rather odd expectations.  How many times have you heard of someone looking for their soul-mate or for Mr. Right?  The idea behind those notions is somewhat unrealistic.  First, that whole soul-mate thing presumes that there is that one person “out there” who is predestined to be your other half.  You, apparently, have little or no choice in the matter and have to get busy finding them.  (And there are how many people in the world?)  Then, funnily enough, when you find them they only lived about 20 minutes from you (smile).  Amazing!  And then there is Mr. Right.  Mr. Right is again that one fella who is just right for you.  You can tell when you have found him because he will be just right (haha).  Those of us that have been married for any length of time know that our Mrs. Right or Mr. Right is far from always being just right (Just ask my wife!).  Add to this, can you even imagine living in a culture where your folks choose your mate?  No thanks Mom and Pops!

So what exactly then is a relationship supposed to be?  I think we are smart enough to recognize that any two people can make something work, if they are committed to it.  But what is the secret to a good relationship?  Is there a secret?  To answer that question we have to go back to the origin of man.  Before there were Adam and Eve, God was.  God being all-knowing and all-powerful came up with the grand idea of people.  But there is another aspect of God we must consider as well.  God is love.  God isn’t just the act of loving or One that maintains a loving nature.  God actually is love.  Whatever love is, is God and whatever God is, is love.  They are inseparable.   Interestingly, the one thing the whole world seeks is love.  Mankind is born with a God-hunger on the inside, which can also be called a hunger for love.  In light of that, we have been looking for love in all the wrong places…(singing)…I digress sorta.  Now back to Adam and Eve.  (Hey maybe Eve was Adam’s soul-mate?  Okay only choice?  I guess Adam was Mr. Right as well as Mr. Only…again I digress.)  When God made Adam, He made him body, soul and spirit.  Adam’s spirit was his connection to God, or if you will, his connection to love.  Eve came in similar fashion and was connected to God’s love as well.  They started out connected to and filled with love; God’s love.  There wasn’t much competition so they formed a relationship together (smile).  We can assume as the prototype that they were both pretty “hot” and attracted to each other.  Though they started out perfect, they soon proved by their own free-will that they weren’t perfect.  (You know the story…)  Now if you can take a brief pause from your uncontrollable laughter, the secret to a good, if not great, relationship is in that story.  Relationships between men and women were “supposed” to be based upon a strong, wonderful love from God and a mutual love and devotion to God.  With that firmly in place, the rest was easy!  Sure there was still forgiveness.  Sure there was a willingness to let the past be forgotten.  But in reality, those wonderful qualities are all a part of God’s love anyway.

Accordingly, the problem with relationships now-a-days is that we are looking to fill that void with our mate.  We foolishly think, “if this person would just do what I want; look how I desire and treat me the way I deserve to be treated, I will feel loved.”  Then, when they fall short, as they invariably will, we wrongly conclude that love is lost and that they weren’t really our soul-mate after all.  In reality that approach is very selfish.  Your mate’s job is not be everything you think they should be.  Their job is to be everything they want to be with you being there to support them and love them and encourage them (and vice versa).  Marriage is not two people living one same life.  Marriage is two people living “separate” lives together.  And the only way for that to work out most effectively is for both of the parties involved receiving and sharing God’s love with one another.   Folks ask how Connie and I have stayed together for so long and the answer isn’t, as Connie jokingly says, “that we never wanted to get divorced at the same time.”  The truth is that when things got real crappy, we both loved God enough to persevere.  Without God we would have never made it this far.

So don’t spend all your time and energy looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right.  Spend your energy learning how to receive and give the love that God wants to give to you.  Get good and full of that love and you will suddenly discover there’s a whole lot of soul-mates out there waiting for you!

Just some good thoughts…