Wow, two years has gone so fast! Can you remember having something for two years, a job, an animal, a child? By the two year point, you have invested so much, it’s beautiful.
We want to celebrate today with all of you with a gift! but first– we want to share our “biggest secret” in growing a healthy and happy marriage.
Transparency is the greatest tool we’ve used to create joy, love, and understanding.
I admit, I am not the best at transparency. I grew up in a very passive family where things boiled up, we’d finally blow-up yelling, and nothing would resolve. You or someone you know can likely relate. Charles on the other hand had been consciously practicing transparency for years before we got together.
Early in our dating he discussed with me how important transparency was. With both of us coming from divorced parents, we agreed to focus on practices that would keep our marriage strong. Charles saw within strong marriages and failed ones a common theme– Transparency or the lack thereof. Transparency is a little tricky to define, but put simply it is about communicating honestly, vulnerably, and presently.
Real talk: I had no idea how hard it was going to be.
Ouch. I learned quickly if this was going to work, I had to be self-aware enough to know if what I was feeling was caused by a personal belief or by Charles. To be transparent and honest with him meant that I had to be honest with myself.
Charles would sometimes help me with this process– which was infuriating at points. I wanted him to be the problem, not something that I was believing or re-living! He usually did this with kindness, but it still hurt to look inwards for sources of pain instead of being able to blame him.
It helped to know Charles was going through the same painful transformation. When he would express a grievance, he would pause, work through and talk out the steps that led him to that feeling. He’d identify the source and then apologize for “being a knucklehead,” and would go work on himself.
Where the feeling came from
Where the feeling ACTUALLY came from
It required IMMENSE amounts of humility, introspection, and healing– especially considering where both of us had come from. It seemed to be a paradoxical principle, to be transparent with my partner, I had to work on myself! That’s how it was at first, but then, as we worked through our stuff, we were able to identify the behaviors that really were causing a disturbance in our marriage.
As we worked through the major change of lifestyle that comes with having a constant companion, our open and honest communication became refreshing and strengthening. Words had greater significance, our compliments had greater meaning, and our expressions of love more cathartic. Transparency was one of the hardest and most painful processes in our marriage, but it has also amplified our love and joy by incalculable multiples.
Before we share our gift with you (related to transparency), I first wanted to share some parameters. These may not work for everyone, but they definitely worked for me.
Check yourself to see what may be adding to your feelings. You’d be surprised how many times something else is the true source of your irritation.
Swap out “You did” statements for “I” language. “I feel that,” or “I think this.” This one change in communication will do wonders for your marriage.
I used to say, “You always this!” or “I never that!” Does your spouse always forget to take out the trash? Maybe he/she does most of the time; but that more accurate language is less harmful and more helpful.
As we used these parameters it transformed the hurtful emotional arguments into challenging transparent ones. The results? Less fights, more problems solved, and above all we loved each other more. It was beautiful. I’m not saying that we don’t still discuss insecurities or new limiting beliefs that come up– but we are able to talk about things in a way that makes us feel secure, trusted, and respected.
Nowadays we hold a “Weekly Planning” session every Sunday to practice our marital transparency. It has been AMAZING! I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful it feels to have a true “partner” in my personal self-development who cares about my progress. I love helping him see his potential and how he can reach the goals he aspires to. Weekly planning has been life-changing.
As a Thank You Gift for being here to celebrate our second anniversary we are going to send all of our subscribers the full template we use for Weekly Planning! It’s an entertaining read, and so helpful, courtesy of Charles. If you’d like to check it out, just subscribe below so we can send it to you.
Thank you again for reading this longer-than-intended post. I appreciate your companionship on this amazing journey.
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