Communication is paramount in any relationship, especially marriage.
Some of the marriage advice I have received is what my grandfather advised us on his death bed: Discipline is the key to happiness. I remember my wedding shower when the guests were writing marriage advice on a white board for me to keep: the woman is always right, stay when marriage gets hard, always kiss goodnight, etc. I always laughed at the one where it said in more than one guest’s advice that the woman is always right, however, I knew better.
When the wedding came and went, this advice became so tempting as Mark and I lived our day to day lives together. Nothing changed, we still had our own opinions, and I will admit humbly that I didn’t always listen to him. When he spoke with me, I was listening to him, but I wasn’t always ‘hearing’ him.
Later in our marriage, this escalated until we were arguing when strong opinions were brought to the surface. I was so focused on what I wanted that I forgot whatever he told me, I did my own thing. This only led to tension and more arguing. At times, it lead to us both going to bed angry. This happened over and over until we discovered a breakthrough in our communication.
We now use the “talking stick” game now. First, one of us talks while the other quietly listens and truly hears what the other one is saying. We let the other one talk until they are finished, and the talking stick is passed to the one who was listening. This continued until an agreement or compromise was reached.
For the next week, I’ll be posting some of the lessons I have learned through being married for almost five years. Though no marriage is perfect, ours continues to improve over time. I’m more in love with him than I have ever been. Marriage is a lot of work, but it is worth it!