Creating lasting love in any relationship takes work. The following is a very personal story that I've never shared before. It's about a very dark moment I experienced in my marriage and what we did that saved our love.
My number one secret to our happy marriage is communication.
In Stephen Covey's book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" he says that during communication one should, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being?"
In the weeks that followed I began to think about being separated. What would that mean for us? How would our kids handle it? Which one of us would leave and for how long? I disliked the idea more and more but that wasn't going to change my husbands mind. I was scared and felt alone. I wanted to be connected to my husband, badly. I cried, prayed, and meditated. I talked to close friends who had gone through similar situations in their marriage. It helped, but the person I wanted to talk to was my husband.
Things were quiet between us. It was better than arguing but still not what we both wanted. We had so much to say, so much we wanted the other to hear and understand. I began to see that what I was demanding and what I wanted from him was not as important as hearing his perspective. I wanted to know why he felt the way he did and what he wanted me to understand. I wanted him to feel safe to share his truths with me knowing that I wouldn't judge him or react in a way that would hurt him. I wanted my husband to know that he was more important to me than our challenges.
Our conversations began slow. We took our time. He felt like he was being heard and understood and so did I. We courted each other like this was a brand new relationship. In many, many ways, it was. We did this for months. We respected how easy it was to fall back into old habits. Our children began to feel the unity we shared. They couldn't verbalize this but we knew and they knew that things took a turn in our home for the better.
Good, effective communication takes time no matter what the relationship is. It's a dance. It's a back and forth. With practice you can become a great dancer.
We've come up with rules that help us get through difficult conversations. If we're having difficult / uncomfortable conversations these rules help us stay on track. Maybe they will help you.
1. Decide and stick to the topic. It's like driving a car. Pick a lane and stay in it until you reach the desired outcome.
2. Speak. Listen. Allow for room to breathe.
3. If either of us felt like it's getting to heavy we would agree to walk away. But, before we walk away we have to decide on a time to come back.
4. No blame. Look for ways you contributed to the situation. Express feelings and acknowledge feelings.
5. Physically come together when it's all done. Touch each other. Hug. Kiss. Focus on each other for a moment before you move on.
My husband is the most important person in my life. The way I communicate with him says how much I value, respect, honor, and love everything about him. It truly is the secret to our happy marriage. It's one reason I'm a happy wife.
Thanks for reading. You can follow me and David on twitter at: @The26thAffair were we tweet about our everyday happenings. And, also find us on Instagram: @The26thaffair for inside pics of our family.