Effective communication was not my strong suit. My way of dealing with uncomfortable or scary things was to stick my head in the proverbial sand and ignore them. I prayed they’d go away or miraculously resolve themselves. It never happened. Not once. In fact, if I didn’t deal with the issue, it blossomed into something even bigger. Stephen King should write a novel about that!
The saying goes that you deal with some of your biggest fears while you are within the safety of a committed relationship. Boy howdy, blog readers. Boy howdy!
When we were in the early days of dating, my husband would spout things like, “I don’t want to get married again” or “I think we should just live together.” These statements, seemingly said to gauge my response, were deal breakers for me. There was no sticking my head in the sand on this one. I said, “I want marriage. I want the safety, the security and the commitment that comes with marriage. Tell me now if marriage is off the table and we’ll end it right here.”
He stammered and got all bashful and said, “Well, I guess I can think about it.” I said, “There is no thinking about it. It’s yes or no. Are you open for marriage?” We locked eyes and he said, “Yes, with the right person.” All righty, then. Moving on.
I wasn’t so confident when it came to the ‘having children’ talk (see ‘Vasectomy’ and ‘Miracle’ blog). That topic had a lot of fear around it. I knew we were supposed to have children together but he was adamant he was done. I was beside myself with fear. I wasn’t sleeping; I was barely eating and I knew I had to talk with him about this. If he wasn’t at least the littlest bit open to having children, I’d be forced to end our relationship. As distasteful as that thought was, I wasn’t willing to compromise my lifelong dream of having children. I would accept he wasn’t The One and move on.
I have my bestie Susie to thank for helping me through that very difficult time. She spoke in a language I’d not heard before. She took out the anger, the manipulation, the blaming, the threatening and the yelling. She taught me I could effectively communicate without those lower, denser emotions and energies. She spoke with love and respect and clarity. She told me to speak honestly and from the heart. You mean I have to open my heart to rejection AND deal with my fear? At the same time?! Uh, yes (gulp). Damn it!
Susie encouraged me to say things like, “I’m very afraid. I need you to help me understand why you are feeling the way you are. I don’t understand and I want to work through this. Will you help me?” I’m paraphrasing but you get the idea. I wasn’t attacking or hurtful or even manipulative. In return, he wasn’t defensive, angry or shut down. But let me be clear, while I was trying to find the words to say to him, my heart was racing, my palms were sweaty and my mouth was dry. I kept praying my Guys (Guardian Angels) would help me, guide me and keep me calm. I kept praying they would help me with the exact wording because even though I’d rehearsed it, I was scared out of my wits.
Trinity had the vasectomy. So, evidently using my voice in a new way had more to do with me than with him. But, as you all know, there’s more to that story and it had a happy ending.
As I’m typing this, I’m having an epiphany. It seems fear has a LOT to do with how we communicate (or don’t communicate). For instance, I have a friend who recently became engaged. Her sweet, gentle, loving fiancé picked out the ring without her knowledge but with some guidance from her. When he proposed, he went into a long explanation as to how he went about deciding that ring was ‘it.’ She, however, had envisioned a different ring. She didn’t want a bigger diamond; in fact, she didn’t care if she had a diamond at all. She didn’t want something fancier or shinier.
Does she (lovingly) tell her fiancé what she’d really like or keep the ring because of the beautiful and thoughtful manner in which it was conceived? My personal feeling is that she’s going to wear the ring for the next 50 years (or longer!). She should wear something that she finds true beauty in and is reflective of her. Again, that’s my own feelings and that was the reason I picked out my OWN engagement ring.
But what if, say, 50 years down the road she finally tells her husband that while she loved how much thought he put into the engagement ring, it never really resonated with her. I wonder if he would say, “Why didn’t you tell me! You were quiet all these years and now I feel badly about that. What else haven’t you told me?”
What if this is a spiritual growth opportunity for her? Or maybe for HIM?! What if she chooses to put her head in the sand when he’s really wishing (on some level) that she’d say something? I, I, I! So many, “what if’s” it’ll make your head spin but such is the way of this enigmatic spiritual stuff.
If you are one of the ‘sand people’ and want to change your communication style, there’s no better time than the present. Trust me, it’s not going to get easier the more you procrastinate. Take the lower, denser emotions out of your speech and talk with openness and honesty. It just may be you’ll find yourself in a stronger relationship because of it. I know we did.