Building A Healthy Marriage: Where are you? (Part 4 of 4)
Greetings. In parts 1-3, I have attempted to point out the importance of coming out of hiding in your marriage. To build a healthy marriage, each spouse must be able to communicate where you are relationally so that your spouse can know how you are doing. In asking this question, where are you, each spouse can say and can inform each other now they are feeling or doing.
The first three relational places that I mentioned have to do with places in which you are hiding from your partner. An avoidant stance, a performance stance or a false feel good stance are all strategies to not let your spouse know how you are doing. Saying fine, and figuring out what your spouse wants to hear, is not the way to communicate with each other.
So the last place relationally that I want to encourage you to consider in building a healthy and trusting marriage is a real and honest place focusing on bonding and attaching to one another. This connected place must be and is necessary for a strong and healthy marriage. Why is that? Because the other three places are all false fake places in which that attachment is very fragile. An avoidant place is fragile due to the high mistrust. A performance bad place is fragile due to this place focusing on love and trust being conditional. Thus love has to be earned. The third place, a false feel good place which has to do with relating to events or impulses to satisfy feeling good.
The invitation and challenge for spouses is to pursue a real and honest connected place. The purpose of this place is to view it as fueling station. Just like a car needs fuel, and your plant needs water and dirt, so does your heart and soul. The challenge is this word. Do you have needs? Can you see that having needs is healthy for you and for the marriage?
Listen to this description of a real, honest area of needs. We care and comfort one another. We think of ways to pursue our spouse to show support and presence with the message, I will be there for you. A place where each spouse values loving, trusting and respecting one another. A place where each space asks for help and desires to show help. A place where each spouse has a positive effect on us physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
So think about your spouse and your marriage. How important is it for you to feel loved and accepted? Because when you show love and acceptance, you show encouragement, forgiveness, empathy and honesty. Honesty in the way you say in and approach it results in each spouse feeling heard and validated for what they say and for how each spouse hears it.
To get to this honest connected place may take weeks, months or even a year. But when both spouses intentionally want to not go back to avoidance, guilt and false feel good place, then both spouses are wanting to work together to make this happen.
So I invite you to come out of hiding, share with your spouse where you are, and really value wanting to work side by side with our spouse to pursue an honest and real connection. And I promise you this: When you two do this, you will increase your happiness, your security and trust. Say goodbye to the other three places and say hello to this place of honest and real relationship.
Thanks for reading.
Phillip Kiehl, LMFT #42351
Author of “Creating the Healthy Marriage You Want: Stop Accusing & Start Accepting One Another.”