Let’s have a little conversation about communication. Most relationships are lacking in communication without even knowing it. Many times the stresses of careers, finances, and children get in the way of real communication.
I have been with my husband for 14 years, married for 11, and within that time I can honestly say we have only had real honest communication these last 2 months. I always thought I was good at communicating my feelings and it was my husband who had an issue with sharing, but after taking a real look at myself, my partner, and my marriage, I realized that I was just as guilty at lacking in communication.
Marriage, like many other types of relationships, needs to be based on honest communication from both people. When I say honest, I mean honest. That means sharing the bad with the good. You don’t have to be harsh about it, but you still have to be true to your real feelings. So, I am not saying tell your wife that she looks fat in that dress, but you can definitely voice your opinion by stating that another outfit looks better on her.
After moving away from the fast pace world into a small town in South Dakota where all of my neighbors are kind and they are happy to go slower, I had the opportunity to take a real look at my life. Why was I always so unhappy? Why was I wasting so much time chasing after things that had such little meaning to me? I realized that the real issues were not the need for new furniture or clothes, but that I was actually craving a real honest conversation with myself and with my husband. The process to go from hiding the real me to being completely open has not been an easy one, that’s for sure. It hasn’t been easy for my husband as well, for he was so good at walling up his real feelings and using vague communications to try to satisfy me which in the end never did.
We had to dig deep and pull out everything that we really felt. During many late nights of talking into the wee hours, I began to realize how much I had kept to myself. Feelings about past situations or stuff that I liked doing but never told anyone. What shocked me the most was that everything I shared just made us closer. I even found out that some of the things I was hiding were the same that he was hiding. So, we could have been enjoying the same things for the past decade and a half but never did due to fear of how the other person would feel.
Our relationship may not be typical for our communication issues began at the very beginning. We worked together in the admissions office of our college and started out as friends. When I had mentioned that I would not date anyone that smoked, he lied and said that he smoked a little in high school but was not a smoker. In reality, he was a smoker. Not a chain smoker, more of a social smoker, but a smoker none the less. In order for him to keep up that lie, he stopped smoking cold turkey. I didn’t know about any of this until years later and by that point, it was just seen as a romantic gesture to win me over. Recently, during our discovery into ourselves and our relationship, my husband admitted that he had smoked on occasion during our relationship. Of course, being a huge advocate for antismoking after my uncle died of cancer due to his addiction to tobacco, I was not happy by hearing this. Like I said, honest communication is not about just sharing what the other person wants to hear. I was glad that he was now sharing how he truly felt. Knowing that in times of stress, when he felt as if he could not communicate these issues to me, he turned to other things like smoking or online shopping, meant that now I knew how to help him.
The last two months have not been easy but they have definitely been rewarding. We now connect on a completely different level than we ever did before. Relationships get so complicated when you factor in work, money, and children. You have to still find the time to have honest communications with yourself and your partner. Without honest communication, you cannot expect to be truly happy in your relationship. I am not saying that speaking honestly means that you will be forever in a state of happiness, but it is truly the path to real happiness and will make you feel so free to truly be your real self with someone.