My husband and my four-year-old and I went for a walk on a beautiful dirt road the other day. A few minutes in I noticed some heavy feelings...and realized I wanted to apologize to my man for an interaction we’d had earlier. It took me a few minutes to work up the nerve to do so. The next morning my husband and I were sitting on our deck drinking our morning coffee together and I realized I wanted to thank him for the evening we had had the night before and his affection and words that helped me feel so loved. It took me some minutes to gather the courage to do so. Expressing to our partner honestly what we’re feeling —whether it’s remorse, shame or hurt--or whether it’s deep love and joy—can feel very vulnerable, even in the most healthy marriages. In both of these examples, I felt a hesitancy --that ever-so-normal fear of saying something close to my heart, of revealing something in me that could be met with rejection or dismissal (“Yeah that’s nice, honey” or “uh-huh”-- or worse).
I bet there are times you want to say something important to your partner and you hold back a little because you’re nervous about what will happen if you say it? But having such courage to be vulnerable like this is essential for building a healthy loving marriage. If you avoid saying the hard things, the scary things, you also avoid authentic deep love. Because your partner isn't getting the full you. He is seeing only a specter of you. Courage allows you to be loved for ALL of you. Luckily, courage is not just something you’re born with, it’s something you develop. It comes out of a foundation of emotional safety that you build in yourself.
Or, put another way, you grow courage by developing a set of beliefs about yourself and your marriage that allows you to feel safe enough to be courageously vulnerable!!!
I have a set of beliefs I’ve developed to feel enough emotional safety to keep taking these little risks that continue to grow and deepen the love and security in my marriage. They allow me always to speak my heart when I know it’s important --even if it feels scary.
You can try them on, too (like a sweater!) and see how they feel to you. Believe:
1) Sharing our most rickety, tender, raw truths is actually what allows understanding and love to deepen.
2) I can handle whatever feelings come up in me if my husband doesn’t respond well to my words.
3) Even if at first my words are met with defensiveness or dismissal, our marriage is so strong it can withstand --and actually grow stronger because of--my honest sharing of what feels important.
I CHOSE to believe these things on purpose. Because thinking these things SERVES me and my marriage. And I see the proof of these beliefs come to life every day. Because I have decided to trust myself, and to be certain about US, I see proof every single day that ALL of me is welcome in our marriage: my rawness, my remorse, my hurt, my big innocent tender love... And because of this, our marriage gets more amazing day by day.
SO courage. It comes easier than ever to me. And our marriage reaps the rewards.
If you know you fall a wee bit short in the courage department, you just haven't learned how to set yourself up to be courageous. You haven't learned how to support your own mind and heart to trust in your resilience and your relationship’s resilience. It’s not something you were taught. But when you learn to, it will make communication and connection so much easier between you and your partner. And when you watch your marriage heal that way, knowing YOU were the reason, you will be filled with the kind of confidence and pride in yourself that will leave you unstoppable in the rest of your life.
It starts with courage. The courage to learn courage. The courage to make your marriage what you want it to be. The courage to stop waiting for anyone else but yourself to step up and change your life for the better. YOU are the force of change. And it’s time. You don't need to know HOW to get there. That’s my job, when you hire me. You just need to have the courage to commit to what you want. I will support you all the way to having a marriage that gets more secure and loving by the day. Email me and say, ”I’m ready”, and we will talk about the details of what this will entail for you.