When I think of marital advice, the first thing besides (don’t go to bed mad) that pops into my head is “communication“. People say communication is the key to a successful marriage. I would agree with that but I would expand on what communication means. Communication is more than just talking about what bothers you at the moment or talking through things. Communication starts way before you start discussing why you want this or they want that. Communication is about expressing to your partner what your wants and needs are and asking about theirs; what you want and need out of your soon to be (or already existing) marriage. It is getting down to the real, raw, stuff that you may be too afraid to talk about. Let’s start at the first place this may and probably “should” come up, planning your wedding. Think about it, you have this vision of getting married on a beach in Fiji with a few close friends, while he or she has a vision of a huge wedding where you invite hundreds of guests. You have a vision of money being no object when it comes to your wedding while he or she doesn’t want to go into debt for one day. You expect him or her to pay for it all since they make more than you but he or she thinks you should both put money towards it. But nothing is discussed until one of you has already planned out how it WILL be in your head, no discussion, no debate, accept it or not.
While these things may seem menial, they are small reminders that communication is about sharing your dreams, your visions, your aspirations with the person you are planning to spend the rest of your life with, before and after your wedding day. Wedding planning can be very insightful regarding how your marriage might look. For instance, if one person plans everything and wants everything the way THEY want it. You can probably expect that to happen after you get married. If they spend money without thinking about where it is coming from, you might expect that to happen during your marriage. You may not take notice until well after you are married, after the “Honeymoon” has worn off and you are down to the daily grind.
Artwork by talented Rita Loyd
When you are in love, the birds are chirping, the butterflies a flutter, and you sometimes get blinded. You fail to notice those small things and you forget to talk about the important things. Important things like, how will you manage finances? Will you have a joint account or separate accounts? Will you split bills equally? Do you have big dreams of moving to another state or country? Do you want children, does your spouse want children, if so, when? Who will do the cooking and cleaning? Will it be a shared effort or will one person be responsible for certain things. What do you need to feel loved, how are you going to take care of your relationship? I don’t like to use this word but what are your expectations of the marriage?
Often times we create all these expectations of how people should be but we forget that they are their own person and more importantly, we forget to tell them what our expectations are? Then, when they don’t fulfill the expectations WE have placed on them (with or without their agreement or knowledge) we get angry with them for not meeting our imposed expectations.
Marriage is not just about finding the love of your life and living blissfully, happily ever after. First, you must find your truth, no matter how scary that may seem. When we are honest with ourselves, despite the fears, we can then be honest with our partners. This honesty will allow us to find our voice and sharing it with the person you are promising to share your life with. Second, we must communicate all of these things with our partner. Not just with words but with body language and actions. Communication is so much more than merely talking about a problem or talking things out. It is sharing thoughts, ideas, glances, touches, dreams, hopes, wants and needs. Whether it is a marriage or a long-term relationship, we must speak from our hearts. We must find our truth and speak it no matter how scary it may seem. Let your wants, needs, desires and dreams be heard.
‘Love and Light’