Marriage? Honesty Ensures Longevity

Regularly we have a dialogue with one of the partners in a relationship, and the words go like this: “I just found out that he/she is ready to leave. I had no idea it was so bad.”

How does this happen?

There are always many stories, yet the fact is: honest communication has not occurred.

Don’t take me wrongly.  I’m not saying you, or your partner, or any of these people to whom we speak are lying, cheating, scoundrels.

I am saying that most people fail to communicate their thoughts and feelings in a way so their partner hears and understands. And by failing to communicate effectively, they have missed many, many opportunities to greatly enhance the quality of their relationship and life.

From experience in our relationship, and from working with hundreds of couples over the years, the only way for both people to experience long-term joy, happiness, love, and fulfillment is when there is honest, open, two-way dialogue, regardless of the situation.

Honesty ensures longevity.

I can only reflect from my own experience, so I invite you to stick with me and see how these examples relate to you.

Why am I not totally honest with myself and Carol?  Fear.

  • If Carol buys something that I think is a waste of money, not needed, poor quality, too expensive, … I might choose not to talk to her about it because I’m afraid she might become defensive. Instead, I withhold and stuff it inside.
  • If Carol is busy, with lots of things on her mind, I might choose not to ask her for her help because I’m afraid she will set her own duties aside to help me – with resentment. Instead, I withhold and stuff it inside.
  • If Carol is doing things that I think are a waste of time and effort, I might choose not to ask her about it because I’m afraid she will feel guilty. Instead, I withhold and stuff it inside.
  • If Carol says something critical, I may choose not to respond because I’m afraid she will get angry. Instead, I withhold and stuff it inside.
  • If …… I may choose not to speak honestly because I’m afraid of being ridiculed, looking stupid, not being or doing enough. As an animal, I’m afraid I’ll either be shunned or eliminated. As a human, I’m afraid I won’t be loved.

In this state of fear, if I react, it probably will be sarcastic humour, snide remarks, scowls, or even talking to others behind Carol’s back.  Each time, I’m withholding honest communication with Carol, and stuffing it inside.  Most times this is unconscious – and reactive.  Each time, I’m building reasons to eventually end the relationship.

I’m guessing you and I could continue with many other examples – all with justification of why it is better to withhold and stuff it inside.

Metaphorically, it’s like wearing a back pack and stuffing dirty laundry into it.  The pack becomes more full, heavier and heavier, and bloody uncomfortable.  It may go on for days, months, or years, and eventually I try to jam one more piece of laundry into the overstuffed, heavy pack and surely a seam will rip. The pack is ruined and the whole load comes out with fury.

Honesty ensures longevity.

Rather than allowing fear to rule, imagine what your relationship can be if both of you are totally committed to talk honestly about anything, and as soon as the situation occurs. Even you doing this (just one person) is a great start.

How can this happen?  It takes only 2 things: awareness of feelings, and commitment to explore.

Awareness of feelings and commitment to explore

Feelings are my navigation system.  When consciously aware of them, they always indicate if the situation is congruent with my values – or not.  It’s the same for you.

I invite you to think about a time when you felt frustrated, or angry.  What is that feeling? Where is it in your body?

Next time you feel that, I invite you to talk about the situation, honesty, kindly, respectfully.  Be curious.  Ask questions and listen.

Honesty ensures longevity.

I invite you to think about a time when you felt inadequate or not-good-enough.  What is that feeling? Where is it in your body?

Next time you feel that, I invite you to talk about the situation, honesty, kindly, respectfully.  Be curious.  Ask questions and listen.

Honesty ensures longevity.

I invite you to think about a time when you felt scared, worried, or guilty.  What is that feeling? Where is it in your body?

Next time you feel that, I invite you to talk about the situation, honesty, kindly, respectfully.  Be curious.  Ask questions and listen.

Honesty ensures longevity.

This is not rocket-science, yet it takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable.  A great place to start is to have an honest conversation with your partner (when things are going well), and agree to support each other to do this.

What do you have to lose?

What do you have to gain?

Honesty ensures longevity.

In closing, I hope that the next call I receive from a partner in a relationship will sound like this, “We are being so relationship victoryhonest, are so in love, and have a great relationship.  We want to work with you and make it even better.”

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