When it comes to relationships, we tend to put a lot of effort into finding them, the wedding, fixing them and healing from them.
What can you do to circumvent all that and stay happily married in the first place?
If you were one the unfortunate many of us who’ve had a tough and arduous dating road, you’ll know completely the relief that comes along with finally finding the person you’ll settle down with. Along with that relief though, comes fear that we’ll lose that relationship – and so we start wearing masks.
- We hide little pieces of ourselves that we think our partner won’t like
- We pretend to feel one way about something when we really feel strongly against it
- We avoid subjects that we worry might be touchy or cause an adverse emotional reaction
- We omit pieces of information that we worry might cause problems
- We edit when we speak and censor what we say
There are a million more examples of the ways we wear masks, but what’s important to understand is that when you do something it’s only difficult to do it the first time.
The first time around you do or say something that scares you, there’s fear, guilt, doubt and apprehension – but then you do it and it goes well, or at least nothing goes wrong, and your fear, doubt and apprehension evaporate. Compared to all that, a little bit of guilt doesn’t feel emotionally heavy at all. So you do it again. And again. And again.
And eventually you forget that you’re doing it because it’s become a habit, something you do without even thinking.
So what’s wrong with that?
Your intentions are good aren’t they? You’re only doing this to spare your partner’s feelings and ensure the security of your relationship after all.
It does seem like that, except that’s where it goes entirely wrong. Think back for a minute to a really difficult break up you’ve had, and I apologise if that brings up undealt with feelings and hurt – here’s a free forgiveness tool for you to use: http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/newmirrors/forgive.html
Thinking back about your break ups, how many times have you said or felt that you wish the person had told you all of this up front? You wish they’d been honest with you? If only you’d known, you never would’ve wasted your time?
When you habituate your system into certain behaviors, you are no longer consciously aware of what you’re doing.
This means that you not only hide the stuff you think will hurt your partner, you censor the information your partner is receiving, leaving them unable to make decisions with all the facts in hand.
However, when you bite the bullet and disclose everything upfront, even when it’s difficult to do so, and power through with honesty, you achieve two surprising results that bode very well for your future relationship.
When you get thrown into a shock or trauma situation in your relationship, like infidelity or losing your job or finding out you can’t have children, utter chaos breaks out in your system.
You don’t know what to think and it feels like you’re all over the place – which you are. If you look at your eyes in that situation, you’d notice that they’re darting all over the place, in every direction. They’re literally searching your body/mind system for information to help you process what you’ve just experienced. In NLP we call this a trance derivational search.
By sitting down and discussing all the hard stuff upfront, honestly and when you’re in a good space, you first eliminate the chaos that would be around you if you waited until the drama exploded. Secondly, you establish a baseline reaction and know where each of you stood.
So when trauma hits, you now no longer have to worry about ‘what is my partner thinking’, or ‘how will he/she react’ – you already know. This makes it easier to make just about any decision in your life, and eliminates all the time you would usually spend worrying and wondering about your partner’s reactions and thoughts.
Your body now also has a place to go get the information to help you process this, so it eliminates a lot of the overwhelming confusion you feel in those situations.
Open Channels of Communication
Because it’s the most difficult to say things the first time around, if you leave it until there’s a trauma you make it almost impossible for yourself to speak about the issue at all.
It’s difficult enough to say the words out loud for touchy subject, but in a trauma situation you’ve now added fear, panic, overwhelm, anger, frustration, sadness, grief and all sorts of pain to the load you have to bear when speaking aloud for the first time.
It’s like practicing a speech, or even dirty talk. You have to say the words out loud and you have to start somewhere. And then you have to keep practicing until the words roll smoothly off your tongue and you can say them without fear or hesitation.
Talking about the big issues in your relationship upfront is your practice. Once you’ve discussed infidelity and what that means to you, it’s a lot easier approach your partner if you fear something around infidelity, because you already know where they stand and what their thinking is. Because you’ve said the words out loud and discussed this before, you also have a place to start.
So instead of walking in and saying: ‘Are you cheating on me?’, which will most likely start a fight, you can walk in and say: ‘You know the behaviors we agreed on for infidelity? I’ve seen some things that worry me and I’d like to discuss them with you. I know you don’t believe in cheating and it’s probably my mind playing tricks on me, but I could use a little reassurance.’
That’s really going to lead to an entirely different level of conversation.
The Marriage Contract – Interactive Online Life Coaching Course for Couples
The Marriage Contract is an online personal and relationship life coaching course that couples can do together before they get married or start living together to assess their compatibility and circumvent issues before they become a problem.
Packed with 25 comprehensive interactive online tools, the Marriage Contract does not contain any downloadable worksheets. The entire course is mobile compatible and is completed in the system online, with your results emailed to you after each section.