As in 100% honest. With your spouse that is. I really should be saying with everyone, but some people can’t handle all of your truth BUT your spouse should be able to.
This is especially true prior to kids entering the picture. Kids in a marriage are the equivalent to a hurricane hitting. If your foundation and structure are all strong, then all will be well. But if not, then some re-building might need to occur. Either rebuilding or worse–starting over entirely.
One of the key components in building any relationship is honest communication. This is actually one of my favorite aspects of my marriage. He literally knows everything about me. He knows the things I’m most proud of in addition to some of my deepest, darkest secrets. And the best part is that he still loves me after knowing everything. I’m no marriage expert but there’s a couple of things that I do know about honesty in relationships:
Be Honest With Yourself
Do you suck at money management? Do you hate cleaning the kitchen? Are you not into cooking? Be honest with yourself about these things. I can set up an impeccable budget. I mean, I can really put a tight budget together. We end up in the green. But keeping the budget? Not something I’m the greatest at. I had to fess up to my husband about this so that he could hold me accountable to the budget that I’d set for us. Money in relationships can be so touchy and really lead down some tough roads. Whether it’s money, the garbage, or the kids, you’ve got to be honest with yourself on how you feel about these things, what you need, what you don’t need, etc.
Don’t Argue While Emotional
This is hard. Someone does something and it upsets the other. You’re mad/sad/angry/frustrated/not happy and you want to communicate this with your spouse/other. Don’t. Take a breather. Think. Really pin down what it is that made you feel this way so that when you’re talking to your spouse you aren’t bringing in old stuff. How many times have you gotten mad or upset about one thing and it began to spiral out of control because old emotions were brought in? It’s counterproductive and can be explosive. I try not to go to bed angry but sometimes it’s necessary. Sometimes you need that breather to get your emotions in check. Take it. It’s ok to think through your feelings before sharing them.
Don’t Have Secrets
Someone once told me that my husband didn’t need to know everything. I disagree entirely. Like with all my being. If you can’t share the entirety of who you are, your experiences, what has made you who are with the person you want to spend your life with, you shouldn’t be with them. Share everything with them. This is YOUR person. Let them love you–all of you.
Outside of loving my husband, I genuinely like him. Like I like listening to his thoughts. I love hearing about his day. He has the most random pieces of trivia in the world. I remember asking him about how ravens were trained while watching Game of Thrones. Do you know he told me how they were trained? I STILL clown him about that. Outside of my husband, he’s my closest friend. I share with him the truth of my heart and we chat the same way I do with my girl friends. The casualness of our conversations makes it so easy to talk to him about things that may not be the easiest to talk about. In fact, because we talk so often about so much, there isn’t much that is hard to talk about.
These are some of the main things that work for us. I think the main thing that works for us is that we really enjoy each other. This governs everything we do with each other from our tone of voice we use to….well, everything. If I need him home more, I simply say it. It’s not a long, drawn out conversation. Just like if he needs me to do something different, he simply makes the request. I don’t take it as what I’m doing isn’t good enough but I want him to be happy and vice versa so we listen to what the other would like.
I think the last thing that I would say about this is to remember that we’re all imperfect humans. None of us are mind readers and we don’t know how what we’re doing affects others unless we say it. Share what’s going on with you so that adjustments can be made. But make sure that you’re doing it out of a place of love. When love is your guide, you’ll be in the right place.
What communication tips help with your relationships?