by Kim Statler
Communication is one of the most challenging, on-going learning processes in a relationship. At least, it is in mine.
My husband and I have been together for almost seven years and married for over four. Within that short time, I have found my definition of “good communication” to change more rapidly than I ever thought possible. Before my husband, I’m pretty sure I had no clue what true communication really was. I get a kick out of thinking about my prior relationships and how they were all COMPLETELY lacking in that department. Yikes.
Communicating my true feelings, emotions and thoughts has been my constant source of inner-struggle since I was younger, though. It was a combination of the way I was raised, specific high school and college experiences, and just my own ideas of the way a nice young woman should strive to please everyone else. That’ll cause some inner problems for you… But like I said, it’s been a true process.
As in the cases of most people, all of my “bottle it up, and put on a happy face” techniques carried over quite nicely into my married life. That’s where my husband comes in. He has CONSTANTLY been put in the position to have to try and figure me out. It can’t be a fun place to be. Granted, it’s been the other way around plenty of times, but I’m definitely the winner in that arena. The changes I’ve seen in myself and my communication with my husband over the last few years are immense though.
I’ve found that when I sit and really reflect on the stages of my married life, I can see the ways we’re growing. I can see it through looking at our arguments, compromises, and how we overall deal with hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Like all relationships, some have been small and petty, and others have been pretty deep, long-lasting issues. There have been times where I’ve felt pretty darn good about where we stand as a couple; then there have been moments where I haven’t been so optimistic. Looking at the big picture though, I’d say we’re on the right track for sure.
Just recently, I was finding myself resorting back to that “hold it in and carry on” mentality. I do NOT like when I feel that happening. It’s something I think I will forever fight against. LAME. Anyways, I was dealing with a few things that I told myself weren’t worth the effort of bringing to light (as usual). I let it sit, and most of my day was spent seriously trying not to get upset (as usual). Then some basic emotions led way into greater feelings of bitterness (as usual). As a result, I ended up feeling even WORSE for letting it build up into something that it wasn’t (…AS USUAL).
I’m assuming you catch my drift with this one. It’s a really annoying cycle that I let myself get into sometimes. To make a long story short, I hit one of the bumps in the golden road of healthy communication.
There is something that stuck with me a few years ago that helps me get over the hump sometimes, though. The hubby and I were in our Pre-Cana class (necessary in order to be married in the Catholic church), and I heard something that really hit me. It was a class on…drumroll, please….communication. Funny how the married folks of the world thought we needed a class on it. Anyways, the speaker gave this example:
Husband: “What’s wrong?”
He said, “If you (husband) ask what is bothering her (wife), and she doesn’t tell you, there’s nothing else you can do.”
Basically, if one of us in the relationship does our best to support and care for the other, and the other makes the choice to withhold certain feelings and emotions, it really just falls on that person to make it right. I try to remember that piece of wisdom whenever I get into one of those funks. The feelings may fade over time, but emotions will ALWAYS resurface if they are never truly discussed.
I’ve learned that the biggest key to continuing to build a healthy marriage is to put my truest efforts into opening myself up. It’s a major, and sometimes scary, challenge at times, but this love is worth it. My happiness is worth it. Our future is most certainly worth it.
Kim is a 26 year old, married mom to a 5-year-old boy. When she isn’t working, she enjoys all things creative and crafty or family dance parties in the kitchen. Someday soon, she hopes to have an up-and-running blog of her own!