Secret To A Happy Marriage

Secret To A Happy Marriage

Happy marriages and successful marriages do exist and mine is a living testimony.
 

Creating lasting love in any relationship takes work. The following is a very personal story that I've never shared before. It's about a very dark moment I experienced in my marriage and what we did that saved our love. 


My number one secret to our happy marriage is communication


In Stephen Covey's book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" he says that during communication one should, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being?"

 
This is the most effective tool to have in a marriage relationship. The art of communication does not just involve you speaking and sharing what's going on with you but listening, and listening effectively with what's going on with your spouse. "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
 
This is a daily practice for David and me. We are not perfect at it and there are times when we have completely failed. Flat out failed. Those are the times where our heads got in the way of allowing our hearts to be present. This requires a degree of vulnerability. Effective communication requires one to be open and vulnerable with each other. This is NOT always easy to do but it's a must for a happy marriage. We don't want to just be married for a long time. We want to be happy and excited to be in this relationship. So many couples are married for years and are miserable, just barely getting by without killing each other. Effective communication can help solve this. I'm a first-hand witness to this turn around. It's how we saved our marriage when it was at it's worst a few years ago. 
 
It seemed like nothing we tried was working. We were arguing more than we were talking. I was crying almost everyday and worrying about something or another. We couldn't seem to figure out what to do that would stop the cycle we were in. I felt like I was losing my husband and that's the worst feeling I've ever experienced in my marriage. I couldn't talk to him. I felt like he just didn't want to hear the same thing over and over again. I was getting tired of repeating myself.
 
At first I would cry, say sorry, then I'd get angry. I was upset and so were our children. Our home was not a home. It didn't feel warm and cozy. It felt cold and unloving. We were trying but we weren't trying our best. We wanted to be heard but we weren't doing much listening. Our marriage was in trouble. My husband suggested we separate. I was devastated. 
 
Things happen in life that push you towards growth. This was definitely one of those moments in my life and in our marriage. I didn't want to be separated. I know he didn't either but he felt like it was the best thing for us. Weeks past after he said that to me but neither of us did anything to move in that direction. To him it seemed like a separation would solve our issues. Maybe we did need time a part. 

In the weeks that followed I began to think about being separated. What would that mean for us? How would our kids handle it? Which one of us would leave and for how long? I disliked the idea more and more but that wasn't going to change my husbands mind. I was scared and felt alone. I wanted to be connected to my husband, badly. I cried, prayed, and meditated. I talked to close friends who had gone through similar situations in their marriage. It helped, but the person I wanted to talk to was my husband. 

Things were quiet between us. It was better than arguing but still not what we both wanted. We had so much to say, so much we wanted the other to hear and understand. I began to see that what I was demanding and what I wanted from him was not as important as hearing his perspective. I wanted to know why he felt the way he did and what he wanted me to understand. I wanted him to feel safe to share his truths with me knowing that I wouldn't judge him or react in a way that would hurt him. I wanted my husband to know that he was more important to me than our challenges. 

Our conversations began slow. We took our time. He felt like he was being heard and understood and so did I. We courted each other like this was a brand new relationship. In many, many ways, it was. We did this for months. We respected how easy it was to fall back into old habits. Our children began to feel the unity we shared. They couldn't verbalize this but we knew and they knew that things took a turn in our home for the better. 

Good, effective communication takes time no matter what the relationship is. It's a dance. It's a back and forth. With practice you can become a great dancer. 

We've come up with rules that help us get through difficult conversations. If we're having difficult / uncomfortable conversations these rules help us stay on track. Maybe they will help you. 

1. Decide and stick to the topic. It's like driving a car. Pick a lane and stay in it until you reach the desired outcome.
2. Speak. Listen. Allow for room to breathe.
3. If either of us felt like it's getting to heavy we would agree to walk away. But, before we walk away we have to decide on a time to come back.
4. No blame. Look for ways you contributed to the situation. Express feelings and acknowledge feelings.
5. Physically come together when it's all done. Touch each other. Hug. Kiss. Focus on each other for a moment before you move on.

My husband is the most important person in my life. The way I communicate with him says how much I value, respect, honor, and love everything about him. It truly is the secret to our happy marriage. It's one reason I'm a happy wife.

Thanks for reading. You can follow me and David on twitter at: @The26thAffair were we tweet about our everyday happenings. And, also find us on Instagram: @The26thaffair for inside pics of our family.
 
Lisa R Charles

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